Things postgraduates should know about recruiters

Things postgraduates should know about recruiters

When you first join LinkedIn and start to build your profile, you might also find you start receiving messages and requests to connect from recruiters. This can be exciting – they could have an amazing role with your name on it – but knowing how best to interact with them can also be a bit confusing. Here’s what you should know about recruiters on LinkedIn.

First things first

Before opening any messages:

Keep your profile up-to-date and accurate

If you’re brand new to your industry and/or have limited experience, be sure to reflect this on your profile. If you indicate that you’re more experienced than you really are, you’ll be contacted about the wrong roles, which is a huge waste of everyone’s time. There is nothing wrong with being junior – in fact, there are plenty of roles out there that specifically require someone with only one to two years’ experience – but you won’t hear about them if you’ve got recruiters thinking you’re senior in your field.

Manage expectations

This is an important one to remember now and for the rest of your career – recruiters are paid by their clients, not by candidates, so the client is ultimately their focus. They are not a resume-writing service, nor are they a job-seeking advisory service. They will contact you if your profile is optimised and suits the role they are trying to fill, and/or if your application fits the specifications of a particular role. Know this now and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration later on.

Who’s contacting me?

Feel free to go and check out the recruiter’s profile before you reply to them, as well as their company page and website, to get a better understanding of who they are (and whether the role they’ve contacted you about has been listed). You also have the option of changing your profile settings to allow you to view these things anonymously if you’d prefer.

‘I don’t want to deal with recruiters right now!’

Here’s what you need to do:

Connection requests

Who you choose to connect with is entirely up to you. Depending on how thoroughly you’ve completed your profile, you’ll likely receive numerous new connection requests, many from recruiters. Just be aware that some recruiters will try and connect with you for reasons other than to help you land your dream role – some will be keen to connect with your connections, others will be looking to increase the numbers on their databases or in their LinkedIn networks. If in doubt, you could connect with them and see what happens – the ‘remove connection’ option (below) is never far away.

Remove connection


As with connection requests, your decision to respond to InMails is exactly that – your decision. If you’ve received a vague message about a role, or one asking that you respond to someone other than the sender, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a database-expanding exercise. You can choose to ignore, write your own response, or make use of the pre-set responses (see below).

InMail responses

‘I want to chat with recruiters. What next?’

Here’s what you need to do:

Salary range/expectations

Not every role will have this information listed in the job ad, so it’s something often discussed in the initial phone chat with the recruiter. However, this is not to say that you have to disclose your current salary. The purpose of the question is for the recruiter to determine whether your expectations fit with the salary banding for the role.  You may be in an unpaid internship right now, or in a hospitality role while studying, or running your own business as a freelancer. The point is, what you’re currently being paid doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with what you’re looking for in your next role, so feel free to stick to discussing your expectations.

Use connections to your advantage

Connecting with a recruiter definitely has its advantages – they could be the gatekeeper to your dream role – so give them a clear picture of what this dream role/industry looks like for you when you have your initial phone chat. It may or may not be the role they are currently recruiting for, but if you develop a good rapport, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of hearing from them about other roles in the future – a win-win for you both.

Follow La Trobe on LinkedIn.

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