How to Get the Attention of Recruiters

An airman types at a computer.
An airman types at a computer. (Senior Airman Brooke Moeder/U.S. Air Force photo)

As you begin the transition to a civilian career, you are likely faced with a job search. Getting your resume to the right recruiters, in the right way, is a big part of your career strategy.

Recruiters are constantly approached by job seekers via and other job sites, through their company website, via email and in person. How do you ensure your resume will stand out?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, host of the Workology Podcast, is president/CEO of Xceptional HR and a leader in the human resources field. She suggests job applicants approach recruiters about opportunities with their company, even if a position is not posted.

"Use the power of the internet combined with email messages to engage, customize and create an impression with recruiters and hiring managers that encourages them to learn more about you," Miller-Merrell said. "While the job search process is a numbers game, you can stack the odds in your favor by customizing your messages and tapping into your professional network in creative, targeted ways."

The Referral Email

To get the attention of recruiters, consider starting with a referral email. This communication is used to solicit a direct introduction to a recruiter or hiring manager from a friend, peer or colleague. You will send the referral email individually to a handful of your most trusted contacts, along with a personalized note.

Dear <insert friend's name>,

In 60 days, I will leave my military duty. It's been a great <insert number of years> working as a <insert job title>. I'm looking for a new career which will challenge me and grow my skill set in <insert skill name>, <insert skill name> and <insert skill name> in the civilian sector.

My job search is focused on five companies in the <insert city name> metro area for a career opportunity as an <insert job title>, <insert job title> or <insert job title>. I would appreciate your help by providing a direct introduction by email or phone to anyone you know who works at any of the companies listed below.

Name of company No. 1

Name of company No. 2

Name of company No. 3

Name of company No. 4

Name of company No. 5

Please include my resume (attached) and a short introduction about me that includes my <xx> years of experience in the fields of <insert skill name> and <insert skill name>, and that I'm interested in a job opportunity as a <insert job title>.

Thank you for your assistance. Let me know how I can help you.

<insert name>

Follow-Up Email to a Recruiter

Recruiters are very visible on the web today, and following up with them via email or on social media after applying for a job opening can improve the likelihood that you will receive a response.

"I like to engage recruiters on multiple channels to help ensure they will at least open the message," Miller-Merrell said. "You can send them a tweet telling the recruiter you just sent them an email and are awaiting their response, or issue a quick note on professional social media sites paraphrasing your email."

Miller-Merrell offers this template for a follow-up email:

Dear <insert recruiter name>,

I recently applied for a job opening at <insert company name> for the position of <insert position name> on your online career site. The position fits well with my experience in <insert experience>, <insert experience> and <insert experience>. You can learn more about me by viewing my website <insert website url>.

I follow you on <insert social media site> and appreciate the valuable resources you offer for job seekers and the way you interact with candidates.

Can we set up a call and talk about the position and my experience? I have availability on <insert days> next week from <insert time span with time zone>. You can email me at <insert your email address> or by phone at <insert phone number>.

I look forward to speaking with you.


<insert your name>

Remember that recruiters are receiving hundreds of messages each day. To make yours stand out, be specific and focused, highlight your experience and be sure to include your value and offer (what can you do for them?)

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