Networking can be difficult enough, but directly asking your network contacts for help can be daunting even for extroverts! Here’s a few tips on how to ask your contacts for help, and how to ensure you keep building on these valuable relationships for years (and job searches) to come!
- Put your request in the subject line of your email or in the first few words of your post. Don’t make your connections ask what you need, search for your request, or wonder what they can do. Successful people are busy. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to commit to helping you.
- Brevity. Don’t be coy, don’t be vague. Say exactly what you’re looking for, and even where you’re looking if that’s relevant. “I’m in search of a Team Lead position in Software Development in the non-profit sector here in the Toronto area.” says exactly what position, what industry, what focus, and the physical location in which you are searching.
- Reminders. Add a brief reminder of your experience, skills, and strengths, along with your contact information. If you’re emailing individuals, remind them how you are connected. If you’re posting in a LinkedIn or alumni group or other social media, add links so your contacts can refresh their own memories with a glance at your profiles.
- Resume. Add a link or a file with your resume, all ready to forward or embed. Make it easy to help you!
- Respond. If a hiring influencer reaches out to you, even if the job isn’t a great fit, respond to them! Someone has made an effort to help you grow your career, so you need to show your appreciation by being responsive to every inquiry your contacts generate.
- Reach out. When you receive inquiries through your contacts, let them know their help was effective and appreciated. You may need them again, and everyone likes to be thanked when they’ve made an effort to help a contact.
- Reciprocate. When you hear of a job opening, know a contact at an organization, or can otherwise lend a hand to your network contacts, do so! Give more than you get, and others will always be willing to help you out in return.