How to Build Valuable Relationships with Recruiters

Navigating career advancement while juggling your existing work and life demands can be challenging, but it’s an exciting opportunity. Everyone can benefit from the opportunity to shape their professional journey and create a strategy for success.

Luckily, you don’t have to do that alone! If you can proactively build a network of support, you can remain prepared for the right advancement opportunities at the right time.

Many professionals only reach out to recruiters when they are actively looking for a new job.

Not only can recruiters help you stay alerted when new openings arise, they can also help provide an outside perspective on your experience and how you pitch yourself in the job search.

Let’s dive into some of the ways you can develop relationships with recruiters that go beyond just asking for a job!

Preparing Your Pitch

While recruiters will be able to help you reach your goals, ultimately you hold ownership of your own career and your progression. Building a relationship will go beyond just asking for a job, but it’s still important to start with the end in mind.

This will take the form of a short elevator pitch, but here are three steps to identify how to make a relevant and effective elevator pitch to a recruiter.

  • Learn about the recruiter, their company, and the work they do. Take a look at their website and explore their jobs page. Scroll through their social media pages to learn more about their work and their people.
  • Get clear on your goals. Do you have a clear vision of the type of jobs you’re looking for? Can you effectively communicate what you’re looking for? Once you’ve done the research on recruiters in your community, you should be able to find the overlap more easily between the jobs you want and the jobs a recruiter fills.
  • Make sure you’re ready to apply. Even if you might not be actively searching for jobs, recruiters can make great connections. You’ll want to be ready whenever the right opportunity arises! Is your resume updated? Are you able to speak about your previous work experience, and go into detail about your responsibilities and some projects you have led or worked on?

Fostering Connection Over Time

The best time to build a relationship with a recruiter? When you’re not actively looking for a job.

Before it’s time to take the leap to that next opportunity, get to know recruiters who could help you on your career journey. You can reach out to a recruiter to learn more about community groups, networking events, and other meetups. Connecting over coffee or at an industry event makes for great introductions, and a shared experience you can build a relationship from!

Many recruiting teams will have a database where they can keep your profile on hand. The first step when a new job comes in is for recruiters to check their internal talent network before recruiting externally. If you are in their database, you have a relationship with the recruiter, and you have skills that match a job posting, that is a great place to start from – especially compared to applying on an open job board.

  • If a recruiter can add you to a “Talent Network” or database where they can stay connected with you and keep you on file for future opportunities, join that.
  • If there’s a material change in your experience (for example if you get a new job or complete a new degree or certification) make sure to stay in contact with that recruiter so you can update your information.
  • Continue to connect and engage in conversation on social media platforms like LinkedIn and X.

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with a recruiter over time? Listen in to Episode 22 of our Live With Lighthouse series with Chad Witherell and host Joe Ray.

Applying to Active Roles

Those relationships you cultivate? They’ll make a difference when it’s time to apply!

Don’t forget to take care of the first things first though: we recommend you complete your application first, then reach out and follow up! Whether you connected with the recruiter or hiring manager before or not, this makes it easier for them to find all your information and gauge your fit for the job.

Now is the time to put that elevator pitch we crafted earlier to work. The best strategy is to make this pitch as specific as possible. If a friend asks you “Where should I go for dinner tonight,” you would have many more questions to ask them so you can make a better referral.

The same applies for your initial outreach to a recruiter or hiring manager. If you generically ask for a job or ask for them to review an application without any additional information, you may not be recommended the types of jobs that align with what you’re looking for. Help recruiters help you! Recruiters get many messages a day. The more specific you are in your outreach after you apply, the easier it is for them to respond and consider you.

When sending a message to a recruiter, rather than asking if they have an open job for you or saying you’ve applied online, try this format using 2-5 sentences total:

  • Give a brief overview of who you are.
  • Highlight your key skills.
  • Call out the specific job title and job number that you applied to.

This helps recruiters like us review your application quickly and provide a response.

Relationships play a big role in the process, but the data you share helps paint a clearer picture for the hiring team. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are widely used tools that help organize your information and allow recruiters to see their previous conversations and connections with you, as well as which jobs you have applied for in the past.

Your LinkedIn profile is also a vital piece of digital real estate that recruiters and hiring managers will look for early in the application process. If you haven’t set up your profile or it’s been a few years since you updated it, we have some expert tips to help you build a LinkedIn profile that stands out!

Find a Path Forward in Your Career

Building relationships with recruiters is an important aspect of career advancement.

By connecting proactively, staying in touch, and cultivating genuine relationships, professionals can benefit from valuable guidance, access to job openings, and a sense of accountability and support.

Recruiters can help you navigate your career journey, so take the time to build a strong relationship with them.

And if you’re looking to network with recruiters who can help advance your career goals, we are glad to help at Lighthouse! Learn more about our team’s expertise in technology and professional recruiting, and we’d love for you to connect with us on LinkedIn, send us a message with your pitch, and engage with our content! Be sure to visit to join our talent network or apply to a specific role that is a fit for your skills and experience.


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