You can reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn or email as part of your job search strategy.  There are external recruiters – those who send candidates to companies – and internal recruiters – usually on the HR staff.  Some companies use both, some use only one.

Reaching out to recruiters is a chancy proposition, though, because some recruiters will welcome your message while others will ignore it.  External or internal, recruiters work for the client, not for you.  They will not act as your representative. So don’t rest your job search success on reaching out to recruiters.

If a recruiter has a current search for which you might be a good fit, chances are they’ll want to talk with you to explore whether you are worth a fuller interview.  Some recruiters will talk with you because you might be right for a client sometime in the future. And a very few recruiters will talk with you because one of their very good friends recommends you to them.

I’d start with LinkedIn, because your profile serves as your on-line resume.  You don’t have to send a resume.  And your message will have your title attached to your name, so if you’ve clearly articulated your field and skills, it is shorthand for a recruiter to see if s/he wants to read further.  Here are some scenarios:

1.  If a recruiter has looked at your LinkedIn page (and uses their name instead of being anonymous), you have an opportunity to reach out to them.  Here is a script for doing so:

Dear [name],

I saw that you visited my LinkedIn profile. Thank you. I wonder if there is any way I might be of service to you.  I see that you recruit for companies that need someone with my background and skills.   Is it possible for us to have a conversation about your needs and how I might be a match?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, 

[name]

2.  If you are connected to any recruiters (1st degree), you can send them a message.

Dear recruiter,

I’m reaching out to explore potential opportunities you have for someone with my background and qualifications. I’m currently a [position] with [company] and am interested in exploring other positions. [if unemployed,  you can say “I have expertise and experience in ____________ and am interested in exploring positions where I can add value to a company in ____________industry.)
May we schedule some time to talk about how I might be right for one of your clients?
Thank you, 
[name]
3. You can send an InMail to recruiters you have found on LinkedIn, through the search function. To find recruiters, use the word “recruiter” and then narrow your search by location and industry using the advanced search function to the left of your screen.  The message would be similar to the one above.
4.  Reaching out to internal recruiters at a company is similar to reaching out to an external recruiter.
Dear [name],

I’m writing to see if there is any way I might be of service to you and your company.  I see on your company website that there are several areas in which my skills and experience could be of value to you.   Is it possible for us to have a conversation about your needs and how I might be a match?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, 

[name]

When connecting via email, you can adapt these scripts, and add more information about why you think you could help the company – essentially writing a cover letter.  You’ll need to attach your resume, as well.

If a friend refers you, use that person’s name in the very first paragraph, as in “so-and-so recommended that I reach out to you for advice and guidance in my job search.”

If you don’t hear back, you can try one more time, and then stop. Don’t bug the recruiter.  There may be some day in the future when s/he does have the right job for you and you want to be remembered in a positive light.