#AskJUGS: How to Ask for Help with Your Job Search
I had an amazing time at last week’s Ladies Lounge: Coaching for Career Success at General Assembly. It was fun to finally meet the other panelists after connecting on social media a few weeks ago and it felt great to provide some tips and strategies for the ambitious job seekers in our audience. If you missed the event - or if you attended but have thought of some follow-up questions since the panel - don’t forget that I can answer your questions right here each month as part of our #AskJUGS career column.
This month, I received a question about how to engage your friends and colleagues when there is a job opportunity at their company that you are interested in.
Leveraging Your Network
It can be challenging to feel like you’re putting people on the spot and asking for a favor. The possibility that you’re inconveniencing someone or that you may hear a “No” doesn’t help either so it can be helpful to remember that asking for help in your job search is, of course, about being strategic, but it’s also about being brave.
If you need help working up the courage to ask people for their support for your job search, here are some tips to help you make your case:
Do Your Homework
Do your homework In large organizations, it’s totally possible that your contacts may not know the hiring manager or even anyone in the department where you’d like to apply. You can use LinkedIn to do a little research and see what the connections may be between your contacts and the company you’re applying for so that you can prepare your “ask” accordingly.
Manage your expectations If you don’t have any direct connections to the team you’re applying for, don’t miss out on other opportunities. You may be able to learn important insights on the company culture, direction or even other possible openings.
Keep it concise Make your ask clear and concise. Long, rambling emails with lots of questions and details take time to respond to. Do yourself a favor and keep it simple. Try this sample below (with your own tweaks, as necessary, of course!)
Long time, no chat! I hope things are well.
I just saw X position posted at your company. It looks like such a great match for my experience - do you happen to know anything about the role, the team or the hiring manager? I’m thinking of throwing my hat into the ring, but would love to learn more before I do so.
I’d love your thoughts on the role if you have a moment. You seem to be enjoying your time at X company - it would be great to work together again!
Thanks in advance for your insight!
Remember that networking is relational, not transactional If asking for help is hard for you, be sure to bring your attention to the ways in which you’re helpful to others in their own career. You can also be proactive. Don’t wait until the perfect job is posted. Instead, reach out to friends and colleagues in friendly emails, check in with them and let them know what you’re looking for. Ask them to keep you in mind if they see anything that seems like it would be a good fit.
There are worse things than hearing “No” or nothing back from people you’ve reached out. It can be disappointing, but keeping in regular touch with your network, focusing on maintaining relationships with colleagues, and a little bit of courage can go along way.
I am also hosting a workshop for job seekers in the Back Bay on November 8th. To learn more, check out the registration page.
Jenn Walker Wall writes a monthly career advice column called #AskJUGs for JustUsGalsBos.com and is the founder of Work Wonders Coaching + Consulting. You can follow her on Twitter: @JennWalkerWall. Ask your career questions here.