Why “Help Me Find a Job” Isn’t the Right Request

You’ve been searching for a new job for months. You’re getting desperate. The first words out of your mouth whenever you meet old co-workers for drinks are “Help me find a job.” You can’t attend a family party without hitting up distant cousins for job leads. And every time you turn on the news, you cringe at the local unemployment numbers.

Help Me Find a Job Networking

Are You Asking for the Wrong Type of Job Help?

Your problem, though, might be a simple one: You might be asking your network of contacts for the wrong kind of help.

The best job search strategy involves plenty of networking. This means that you have to tap your contacts for job leads, recommendation letters, and tips on nearby openings. This is the only way to find those positions in the hidden job market, the jobs that aren’t advertised on online job boards or in the back of your newspaper’s classifieds section.

Why Are You the Right Person for the Job?

If you’re finding, though, that your network of contacts hasn’t been overly helpful, maybe you’re approaching your job search wrong. Instead of asking your former co-workers, bosses, and college professors to help you find a job, you should be telling them exactly why you are the perfect candidate for any job openings about which they know.

Remember, when friends or former co-workers recommend you for a job opening, they’re taking a risk. If someone hires you on their recommendation and you end up doing a poor job, they’re the ones who look bad. When you approach your networking contacts, then, don’t just ask them to find you a job. Instead, schedule meetings or phone calls during which you can remind them of your particular job skills.

List for these contacts, too, your career accomplishments. If you developed a marketing plan that boosted sales at your previous company, mention this. If you found a way to reduce your former employer’s production costs by thousands of dollars a year, mention this, too. You want your contacts to feel comfortable recommending you to hiring managers. You want them to feel that the job opening they just heard about is a good fit for you.

Job Search Still a Challenge

This is no one’s idea of an easy job market, what with the national unemployment rate still over 8 percent as of the start of 2012. But if you learn to sell yourself to your network of contacts, the odds are better that you’ll nab the job leads that could lead you to new employment this year.

If you need help convincing your network that you’re a top job candidate, sign up for our Get Hired Boot Camp. Our career experts will make sure that you never say “Help me find a job” without first explaining why you’re worthy of people’s recommendations.

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  • Eddi

    It’s tough. I’ve got relatives who are unemployed but I’m uncomfortable recommending them to my employer. I can totally relate!