This week I looked up from my keyboard to see more than just a few unread messages sitting in my LinkedIn Inbox. And while the number was a hefty three digits, I put time on my calendar and committed to get through them all before the weekend. Luckily I managed to knock them all out and hit zero yesterday - but it wasn't without struggling through a fair amount of absolutely horrible attempts by job seekers to find employment. And when I say horrible - I mean some of them invoked an eye twitch I haven't endured since a Purple Squirrel hunt in El Paso back in 2003.

It's no secret that I'm pretty vocal in regards to my feelings of how LinkedIn can be best used by both the job seeker AND recruiters. It's not a mystery to anyone that knows me that I draw a distinct line between an Open Networker and an Open List Builder. And while the majority of my articles are typically geared at helping recruiters with strategy or sharing my own rabid insights related to our industry, I thought I'd take a second to share with job seekers what works for RecruiterGuy if you're looking to engage... And what will likely work for any recruiter out there.

So job seekers... Pay attention. (and Recruiters, chime in!)

Just for the sake of sharing, a few of the most memorable items were a salutation of "Dear Respected Madam", being told that the speech I gave was terrific at a conference I'd never attended, multiple requests to clean up resumes as "quick favors" from people I've never heard of and various versions of the ever-constant, "Please look at my resume do you have any jobs?"

If there is one thing that gets under my skin within our industry, it's a lazy job seeker that complains or discounts Recruiters as people. Please understand that I'll go the distance in helping job seekers to find a match for their skills - if they're honestly trying. If they've taken the time to construct a full sentence when sending me a solicitation... If they've taken a look at what's posted on the job boards or the career portal of my employer... Honestly - I've been known to make more than a few calls and help with resumes or applications whenever possible. After all, the primary reason I got into Recruiting was the people. I enjoy helping people to engage with others and make, what ultimately boils down to, positive and impactful life changing decisions. (did that sound too "Tony Robbins"?)

But if a job seeker cannot be bothered to type anything into a LinkedIn message outside of "Looking for a job with your company what do you have?" (an actual quote from a mid-level manager!) then I'll break my own 100% response rule and simply Archive the message.

To keep things in perspective I'd say that only 20% of the messages I get in LinkedIn are bad networking and communication Kung-Fu with the rest being a mix of questions around Mobile or Social Recruiting, technologies in our industry, legitimate networking requests, follow-ups and all around generally impressive job seekers.

So while it's easy (and sometimes more fun) to just complain about the less than ideal messages from job seekers, it may not be the most helpful to those that just don't know where to begin. Which is why it's great that on occasion I get a message from someone that really makes an effort to communicate properly - whether I've any jobs that are a match for their skills or not. Check out the following - quite possibly one of the best cold solicitations I've received via LinkedIn in quite a while. Immediately upon reading the below message I took a look at his profile and began some dialogue around both his job search and how I was impressed with his approach.

I'd never met Lon before this message. So what made this better than the seeker that simply asks if I have jobs or says that he wants me in his network since I'm a "person he trusts?" Lon was straight forward while being informative. He's looking for work - and in his message he shares where he feels his strengths are as well as the type of work he's looking for with my employer. And whether or not Mr. Bason sent 100 other RecruiterGuy types the same message with their names and companies swapped out - I frankly don't care.

The message from Lon is conversational - I feel like it isn't far off from something he'd say to me if we were meeting at a hiring event or even a coffee shop.

Lon was prepared - and confident - and courteous. Nothing different than Recruiters everywhere would expect/hope from him if meeting in person.

So here's your take away, job seekers - and it's painfully simple... If you're engaging a Recruiter or manager about employment, try and remember that it's a person on the other end of the email. Remind yourself that just because your message is being delivered in writing doesn't mean that it's your brightest move to use the same tone or shorthand that you'd use when messaging a friend or college buddy. Step up your game and spend a whopping 5 minutes to craft a message that is similar to what you'd say in person to the Recruiter.

Don't think it's worth your time? Know that like countless others over the years, Lon will continue to get my attention and will hear from me if I happen upon a job I think he might be interested in - even if the employer isn't my own. Now THAT'S effectively networking for a job, if you ask me!

Originally posted on

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