Knowledge centre

Emailing recruiters for a job

We all know that one way to your next job is through who you know – your network of contacts.

Recruiters will often receive a ‘floated’ CV from a current employee or contact with a quick note.  Typically, the note doesn’t tell the recruiter a great deal – and without this context, your ‘inside’ contact has essentially become a disadvantage.


Recruiters are busy people.  They typically have 20+ jobs they are trying to fill.  That’s the reality.  Receiving your CV with little clue on details such as the type and level of role, full or part-time and location preferences, can put you in the ‘too hard’ basket.  It’s not their job after all, to decide your next career move.

It’s even worse when a CV is received with a “please let me know if anything suitable comes up”.  This line alone is enough to tip a recruiter over the edge!

Your role and your role alone, is to tell the recruiter what is suitable to you.

A few tips on email etiquette:

  • Be short and specific – what are you looking for and in which location.
  • Why? What is appealing about the company, what research have you done?
  • Use spell check. It is hardly impressive to receive an email from an MBA graduate, for example, who has “Employment Assistantace” in the email title line (and it does happen).

The best way to get attention via a contact on the inside is to apply for a position of interest that is advertised – and via the advertised or preferred means – and then have your contact follow up with the specific recruiter to put a good word in for you. Even better, have a current employee refer you to the position via the company’s referral program – that way, they may score a reward for doing so.

Why is this better? Your details are then on the database and you are not sitting in one person’s email. This provides much better odds of being found – not only do many recruiters search a database for individual roles they are sourcing for but many organisations have a dedicated proactive sourcing function which is regularly combing the database and other sources like LinkedIn to find talent they anticipate they will need in the future. It also means your resume is with the correct recruiter, and not sprayed across the total department with the chance that no one will take action.