Recruiters are a valuable resource for job seekers, providing you network with them effectively. As a Recruiter, I often have people reaching out to me online for job search advice. Some questions I often get are: “Do you have a job for me? Do you know of any opportunities for me? Can I meet with you for job search advice?” In my experience, there has always been a right and wrong way to ask for help. Make sure you’re not in the ‘wrong’ category by avoiding these three common mistakes that job seekers make.

1.  Asking for help without building trust, rapport, or credibility

When you contact a Recruiter for help, you are asking them to put their faith in your abilities. What is important to them is that they protect their network, brand, and reputation. If you are going to ask them for a job consideration, you’ll need to show them that you’re worth the endorsement by highlighting your unique skills and experience. Some ideas to build trust, rapport, and credibility: identify common connections or interests; share your expertise or some relevant articles.

2. Expecting that Recruiters will find you jobs

Recruiters don’t find jobs for just anyone; they are looking for the right candidate to fulfill a specific position that they are hiring for the employer. If you are a high performer and have the relevant experience for the roles they recruit for, then will likely spend more time with you. Otherwise, it’s unlikely they will be able to give you their attention given the high volume of resumes and requests they receive. Therefore, when connecting with recruiting agencies, do some research to find out what type of industries and roles do they typically recruit for.

3. Lacking clarity and specifics regarding your goals

Though it may be easy to create a template email and mass message it to all the Recruiters you know, this method is not appealing to Recruiters and may end up selling you short. Don’t just ask for “job opportunities” generally, get specific to avoid being passed over. Below are two examples that I have seen:

Ineffective outreach example:

“I’m actively seeking employment. Please help me with my job search. Do you have anything for me?”

Effective outreach example:

“I am a digital solutions professional with 15 years experience building B2C and B2B solutions for major brands in the Telecom, International High Tech and Logistics industries. I also have an entrepreneurial background and mindset and have started 3 companies in the retail, services and real estate verticals. The major skills that I bring are: Team Leadership, Customer Experience Design and Project Management and Strategy and Account Management. I am currently looking for a Senior Manager or Director position in Digital Product Management and/or Communication in either B2B or B2C, preferably the client side. Does it make sense to connect?”

The latter example provided sufficient information about the person’s area of expertise and what they are looking for. In addition, the last sentence gives the respondent the opportunity to decide whether it is worthwhile to connect further.

Relationships are a two-way street, even between job seekers and Recruiters. Remember that while you would definitely benefit from a referral, a Recruiter should also be able to benefit by referring you. Put your best foot forward by including your top three unique selling points in the email. This will make it easier for the Recruiter to consider you for a role or introduce you to another Recruiter or their network.

As a Career Coach, I connect my clients with my network only if they have the relevant core skills and if they have a well-prepared message in telling their story with assertiveness, confidence and enthusiasm. They also need to know what they want to get out of the informational meeting. It is up to them to put their best foot forward to be considered for opportunities.

So, how do you reach out for job search help online? Follow the 3 A’s of what to communicate in a message for a successful connection:

  • Acknowledge the work that they do by referencing their experience, network, and expertise. People like to be recognized and this will pave the way for a meaningful connection. Also, provide a reason of why you want to connect.
  • Ask questions. Demonstrate that you are curious. You could ask about the job market trends, their past experiences or their interests so that you can find a common ground.
  • Add value by sharing an article or information that you feel they would enjoy or benefit from.