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Let's assume that Charlene is a recruiter for Sports Town, a large sporting goods chain, and she uses LinkedIn as one of her primary tools for sourcing new candidates for district, store, and assistant manager positions. She regularly posts her current job opportunities on her LinkedIn home page and in groups. This is what she posted a few days ago:
"Looking for local candidates for store manager positions in Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Calgary as we are rapidly expanding throughout the west. Successful candidates must have at least 3 years' experience managing small-box stores with $5M in sales and some knowledge of the sporting goods field."
Here are the replies she has received so far. Who should she follow up with?
"I'm interested - call me at 555-555-5555"
"What company is this for?"
"I'm in Seattle and I'm perfect for this job. Check out my profile and call me!"
"What is your email address so I can send you my resume?"
"I have 4 years' experience as a store manager with Home Team, a regional sporting goods chain with 32 stores in the southwest. My sales volume exceeded $5M each year and I consistently ranked in the company's top 5 on combined performance metrics. During that time I opened 3 new stores (including 2 in markets that were new to the company), experience that may be beneficial to Sports Town as you expand into new areas. I currently reside in Sacramento and would love to hear more. May I send you my resume?"
- Tracy Barnett | firstname.lastname@example.org
"Look over my profile and give me a call."
"I'm in LA but I'm looking to relocate, and I can go anywhere. My number is 555-555-5555."
"Did anyone find out what company this is for? Is this a scam?"
Probably Tracy, right?
Although this isn't a real job posting and these aren't actual replies, I see similar activity on LinkedIn every day. The overwhelming majority of people who comment on job postings don't take the opportunity to convince the recruiter that they are the best person for the job. Instead of highlighting their key selling features, they put the onus on the recruiter to do the legwork. And yes, many (like Tim) don't even look at the person's profile before replying to their post.
The problem with that approach is recruiters are busy. And they have options. If Charlene received the responses shown above, she will likely contact Tracy first because Tracy has made it clear that she is an excellent candidate. Charlene may not even bother with the rest if she is busy (remember, a LinkedIn post is not her only method of sourcing - she WILL have other candidates).
So what do you do as a job-seeker? Showcase your key selling features for the recruiter - the qualifications you possess that will be the most compelling to that recruiter in that situation - like Tracy has. She read Charlene's post and responded to each of her needs with her key selling features:
Tracy gets results because she doesn't paste the same quick, stale response to every job posting she sees. She takes the time to review the recruiter's profile (and possibly the company's LinkedIn page or website) and tailors her response to their needs. The fact that she clearly stands out from her competitors makes the extra effort well worth it.
FINAL TIP: This doesn't just apply to situations where you respond to a job posting on LinkedIn - your cover letter should follow the same protocol!