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Ask For Help In Your Job Search

February 11th, 2013

If a friend came to you today and asked you for help, and you could help them, would you?

Imagine this is someone that is a good friend, or someone you want to be a good friend.

Would you help them?

What if they are more of an acquaintance, but they asked you for something you could do, and it wouldn’t be a significant inconvenience to you.

WOULD YOU HELP THEM?

I am guessing that the people who read my blog WOULD indeed help.

Why aren’t you helping them RIGHT NOW?

Because they haven’t asked you. You aren’t aware of what they need.  You don’t know what would be important to them.  You think they are fine.

Folks, that is exactly what your friends and acquaintances think of you right now.

They don’t know how to help you.  They don’t know what you need or want.  They think you are fine today.  They don’t hear from you and they think you are busy doing your thing.

All the while you are sitting there wishing, hoping for some help.

Here’s my challenge for today: Ask someone for something.

I’m not talking about asking for a handout, or begging.  I’m talking about COMMUNICATING how someone can help you.

You can ask for:

  • An introduction
  • Advice or information
  • Someone to help you do something (not reviewing your resume, unless they are a professional resume writer)
  • Feedback on your elevator pitch
  • An informational interview (never ask for an “informational interview”
  • _________?

We’re much better at giving help than asking for help, but we need to get better at asking for help.

So… that’s my challenge to you.  Ask someone for help.  Today!

Or it

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4 Responses to “Ask For Help In Your Job Search”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Jason, I couldn’t agree more. I asked a lot of people–both existing contacts and potential new ones–for help in my job search and quite a few talked to me about their employer or type of work, introduced me to contacts at my target companies, etc. I’m eager to repay my network’s kindness when others are looking for a job.

    The more specific a job-seeker can be, the better. For example, if a contact says “I’m looking for a job in synthetic organic chemistry in the DC area and targeting companies X,Y, and Z,” I can see if I know anyone at those companies or others that might be of interest. It’s tough to know what to do when a contact just says “I’m looking for a job” or “Here’s my resume.”

    By the way, in your penultimate bullet, did you mean to say “networking conversation” rather than “informational interview?”

  2. Jason Alba says:

    Thanks Jeremy, great addition to the post :)

    I am happy to have you refer to it as a networking conversation… but it’s even more purposeful than what I think that connotes.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Oh, Jason, I see what you’re saying–a job seeker wants to *do* an informational interview but not *call it* that because that makes it sound like he’s asking for a job.

    I think we’re agreeing on the substance and just using different terms. The advice I got from a career counselor from the professional society I belong to was that “informational interview” had become a negatively-loaded phrase, making it sound like you’re asking for a job (“interview”) but wasting everyone’s time because it’s just “informational.” I do like “networking conversation” because networking is something we should be doing all the time, not just when we’re looking for a job. You could also use Nick Corcodilos’ (Ask the Headhunter) term, “talk shop” — approach them as if you’re a co-worker, not a job seeker.

    Whatever you call it, “Can I get 20 minutes on the phone with you to talk about the type of work you do, your company, and what you see as trends in your industry?” is the thing to ask for.

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