The Truth About Writing Emails to Recruiters: A step by step to help you write a superior email

Have you ever applied to a posting online you were excited about and felt like you were a perfect candidate for just to never hear back from anyone? I know I have and yea, it totally sucks. Everyone I know who has ever been in a job search has experienced it and it is absolutely no fun

The whole purpose of this email is I am going to teach you (and give you a template) how to write an email that will help get your foot in the door by writing the perfect email to a recruiter. So, maybe you are new to my blog and are wondering why I am qualified to do this. The answer is that I have spent just under a decade in Talent Acquisition both on the agency side and the corporate side. That means I have seen hundreds of these, both good and bad. Below is how you write a great one!

Before we get into what makes a bad email and what makes a great one, let’s start by talking about the steps it takes to get in the position to deliver one of these emails. Let’s assume you have a role with a company you are interested in. Go on LinkedIn, find that companies page and scroll down until you see the list of people who work for this company. Look through those profiles, find a recruiter (or a few if you can find them) who currently work for that company and then add them. As soon as they accept you are in position send the email.

Now let’s get to the email!

The first thing I want to do is show you an example of a bad one. Now these, I get all the time. If you are writing emails like the one below, don’t feel bad, just know that they most likely won’t help and now that you know this, never write one again.

“Dear Recruiter,

Thanks for adding me on LinkedIn. Please look at my profile for any suitable positions. Yours truly.

Tom Smith”

So, first thing, if you think I don’t get emails like that, you are wrong. I get emails all the time that look exactly like that and the truth is, they aren’t going to help you accomplish anything. From the recruiter’s standpoint, it doesn’t look like they put in any effort and frankly they don’t do much in helping you know exactly what it is they are interested in. Now, let’s take a look at the type of email that is going to motivate a recruiter to move you into their interview process (in case you would like to use this as a template, I have written everything you would need to change in red).

“Dear Joe,

Thank you for accepting my connection request. I recently saw an opening at your company that intrigued me. The position was titled Mechanical Engineer for your Franksville, Wisconsin location. I read through the job description and not only did it seem interesting to me, but it seems to be an ideal match for my skills and experience. Below are the requirements for the job, I have taken the liberty of expanding on how my experience stacks up next to these requirements.

  • Bachelors in Engineering or related field required (I have a BSME from MSOE, 3.81 GPA)
  • 2-4 years of related experience required (I have 5 years experience in a similar field)
  • Experience with manufacturing processes such as die casting, fabrication, material handling and assembly and distribution required (I have strong experience with die casting and metal fab)
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite, AutoCAD, and Solidworks (I have completed 5,000 Hours in Solidworks)
  • Competency with Microsoft Project and leading projects is also a plus (I have expert level skills in Microsoft Project)

I have been in my current role for 4 years with my current company. While I am not necessarily looking for a change, I have always admired your organization and the role sounds great. I would love the chance to ask you about the role and walk you through my qualifications. You can reach me at benwhite@abccorp.com to schedule a time that works for your schedule. Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you.

Sincerely,

Ben

Now it should be pretty easy to see why this email is going to be much more effective than the first. It addresses the recruiter by name. It demonstrates that you have a specific position in mind while also demonstrating your qualifications for this role. For the recruiter, you have basically taken care of everything and made reaching out to you a no-brainer.

The fact of the matter is corporate recruiters are very busy people. Most of them have between 20 and 50 roles that they could be working on at one time. So, if you want to get their attention, your best is showing them in a very clear fashion that interacting with you is worth their time. It’s not that they are bad people and enjoy deleting vague messages sent to them on LinkedIn, they just have time to chase down every potential lead that does a poor job showing them why it is worth the effort.

I know this approach is more work, but it comes down to how much you want the role. If you really want to get your foot in the door and get a chance to sell what you bring to the table, it is worth putting in the effort. Especially because the sample letter above is essentially a template for you to use!

Once you have the interview and they are getting ready to make you an offer, I recommend reading How to avoid accepting an offer with a company that has a toxic culture, just to make sure it’s a good environment. Also, if you want my recommendations on a great leadership book, check out my most recent post 3 Books that Completely Changed How I View Leadership.

Thanks again for visiting! If you liked this post please share on your social media accounts, I really appreciate it. Take care!

Additional note: In the “good email” I copied and pasted an actual job description and just added in bold the qualifications this hypothetical candidate has. The template can be used by changing the role specific details and personal contact details to match the role you want to inquire about (again, all written in a red color); however, the rest of that message should be good to go, feel free to tinker with it to make it your own.

3 Books that Completely Changed How I View Leadership

Do you remember your worst boss? How about the best boss you have ever had? No matter who you ask, they will likely be able to recall both the best and the worst boss they have ever had. I know that I can. As a new leader, it is something that has been top of mind for me.

Luckily for me, I have had some really great bosses throughout my career. I can remember the things they did that really helped to get the best out of me and try to do them for my team. However, in my quest to be a great leader, I wanted to know what else I could do to make sure I was the best leader I could be.

That brings us to the title of this post. The following three books are books I would highly recommend for leadership. All three books were great reads and all three had a significant impact on the type of leader that I wanted to be. If you are looking for a good book that can help advance your career and round you out as a professional, I strongly recommend the three below. ( by the way, if you are interested in checking out any of these books the pictures are links!)

Extreme Ownership

Years ago while I was working as a Corporate Recruiter at Rockwell Automation I actually saw the authors of this book speak. They came to one of our events and I was fascinated by the way they applied the leadership lessons of the battlefield to corporate America. While the speech was good, the book was better!

The concepts in this book are simple, practical and actionable. They take lessons they learned during their time in the Iraq War and apply it to corporate America. They seamlessly go back and forth between lessons learned through conflict and how they have applied it to corporate customers through their consulting business. Fantastic and exciting read!

The Serving Leader

When I joined Newton Consulting, like every other employee they hire, I received this book. Servanthood is absolutely critical in my opinion in both serving your team as well as customers, both internal and external. This book does a great job of storytelling, all the while infusing these principles.

This left a considerable mark on who I am as a leader and as a person and I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Another nice thing about this book is that it is a pretty quick read. I read it on my flight to headquarters and on the way.

The Power of Positive Leadership

At the end of the day, no field is without obstacles. You cannot control the obstacles you face, only how you react to them. To quote the book “We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.” This book serves as an emotional primer on how you can face the obstacles and react in a way conducive to success.

So there you have it. Those are the 3 Books that Completely Changed How I View Leadership. While there are a plethora of great books out there, these three really made an impact on me and I truly recommend reading them if you are ready to grow as a leader.

This was a short post but if you still have time check out  How to avoid accepting an offer with a company that has a toxic culture. It is a great read for those willing to think outside the box when it comes to getting feedback on the culture of an organization.

 

How to Avoid Accepting an Offer With a Company That Has a Toxic Culture

We all know of companies that are rumored to have terrible cultures. Cultures with the type of negativity that ends up spilling over into your personal life and has you with a dreaded feeling in the pit of your stomach on Sunday night. A toxic culture can ruin what might otherwise be considered a dream opportunity. In fact, a few years back fortune published an article stating the detrimental impact a bad work culture could have on your health ( Fortune article on how work culture can impact health).

So, in some respects, when you take a new job, you are not just gambling with your career, you could be gambling with your health. Given those ramifications, what can you do to make sure you don’t accept a position and find yourself working for a company with an awful culture? You could ask them, or perhaps you could look on Glassdoor. Both of these options are better than nothing, but they can also fall short of giving you a complete picture.

One of the things my current company does (Check out our website –Titus Talent Strategies) in our interview process is we assign every candidate a writing assignment. They are required to reach out to 2 to 3 random people in our organization and have a conversation about our company values and then write a brief summary regarding that conversation.

I remember when I did this assignment. I knew that Titus had a great company culture if they were willing to let me reach out to anyone and ask them about the organization. To me, it demonstrated great confidence how the employees felt about the company. It also gave me a chance to ask questions about the organization and probe current employees to get an understanding of what I might be walking into.

What if I told you that you could also do this type of reconnaissance on a company that you are considering accepting a role with. You can! In fact, it is pretty easy. Find their company page on LinkedIn and see if you are connected with anyone who works there. If you aren’t, then send a few people connection requests.

Once they accept (or if you are already connected) send them a message like this:

“Hi, Bill. Recently someone from your organization reached out to me regarding a position within your organization. While I am happy at my current company, I have to admit I am a bit curious. I would really appreciate if you would have 5-10 minutes for the two of us to have a confidential chat about your organization and your thoughts on company culture.”

If you are uncomfortable with saying it is you who are considering a role you could always say that a former colleague was interested in applying for a role and asked you if you had any thoughts on the company. I personally prefer the straightforward approach but I understand the desire to keep your interests private.

Having this conversation with giving you a great glimpse into the culture and how this person feels about the company. Are they an advocate? Are they just going through the motions? Are they only talking with you because they are hopeful it could lead to a way out? The tone of the conversation should reveal a lot of you ask the right questions. Everyone has a different outlook, so it could also be worth doing this with a few people to make sure you are confident in moving forward.

So, while it’s aggressive, that is my suggestion on how you can avoid accepting an offer with a company that has a toxic culture. If you have ever been in an environment that is toxic, you understand that it is worth the effort to try and avoid.
Thanks for reading. If you have a few minutes, check out one of my popular recent posts on interviewing,  How to answer the interview question “What is your biggest weakness?”.