If you’re looking for a new job, you’re probably wondering how you could leverage your personal and professional contacts to help you.
However, not many job seekers seem to be aware of this rule:
Make it easy for people to help you.
Most people don’t take the time and effort to make it easy for their network to help you – they actually make it hard! How?
The worst way of asking for help with your job search is asking a very annoying request:
“If you know of anyone hiring, please let me know!”
As a recruiter, I get multiple requests every day. Just last week I had a stranger asking me about IT jobs in the Middle East (even though I mostly recruit in the UK right now and a bit in NYC) or another one requesting I tell him about VP jobs in Scandinavia – seriously? I don’t even know you and I get up to 40 requests a day – don’t expect me to do your job for you when you clearly haven’t bothered to check what kind of recruitment I do.
So how do you make it easy for others to help you?
- Be specific about what you’re looking for
The more specific you are about exactly what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for your contact to remember.
You need to be specific about what you want but also what you’re like them to do.
“I’m looking for a job.” isn’t going to get you anywhere.
But if you say “I’m looking for a Finance Manager position in e-commerce industry, who do you know that might know something about that or put me in touch with someone who would know?”
Your contact is more likely to remember about you when they hear of a relevant opportunity, than when you simply tell them you’re looking for a job.
- Have reasonable expectations
Only ask about something your contact is actually able to do. If your best friend is an Admin Assistant in a big company don’t expect him or her to recommend you to the CEO.
Ask yourself what’s in it for them as well.
- Take control of the follow-up
Your contacts are doing you a favour by recommending you to others or telling you about jobs, so don’t rely on them to remember to follow up with you.
Your job search isn’t priority to them and people will often forget or put off what you’ve asked them to do especially if they’re really busy.
If you’re going to ask for a favor ask if it is ok to follow up in X days. If you agree to a time frame, you don’t have to worry about coming across as pushy.
- Send a follow up thank-you note
Once your contact has agreed to help you with a specific action, send them a quick “Thank You” note as a follow-up after your call or meeting. It is the polite thing to do but will also help your contact to remember what you’ve asked of them, e.g. pass on your resume to someone.
People want to know that their time is valued and their efforts are appreciated, so show gratitude to keep your personal network strong.
Margaret Buj is an interview and career acceleration coach who specializes in helping professionals get hired, promoted and paid more. If you want to find out how recruiters read resumes, why you’re not getting hired, how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview and how to negotiate your best salary yet, you can download her free “You’re HIRED!” video course.