Tapping Into Your Network: Who and How to Ask for Help During Your Job Search
A huge part of job searching is not simply apply for jobs and sending out resumes, but networking effectively. When you are looking for a new job or the next step in your career, it is crucial to ask friends, family, and acquaintances for help along the way. How you ask for help matters, too. You must be tactful, but straightforward and earnest. Don’t beat around the bush and be careful not to waste their time. Instead, use these tips for making the most of your connections and expanding your network to find the job you want.
Who to Ask
You’ve probably heard the advice to tell everyone when you’re looking for a job. Unless it puts your current role at risk, tell everyone you interact with that you’re looking for a new job and what you’re looking for in a new job. Tell your friends, family, and everyone you meet. This doesn’t mean post your ask on Facebook. However, when meeting with friends, it’s natural for people to inquire about what you do for a living or how work is going. Use this opportunity to explain your skills and what you want to do. You never know who may be hiring.
Next, think about recruiters you’ve worked with in the past. Are there any former classmates or colleagues in your industry? Do you have a mentor who may have advice or connections to share? Scroll through LinkedIn or Facebook and write down anyone who may be able to assist you in your search.
Lastly, consider in-person meetups in your field or online forums, professional associations and local technology groups where you can meet people in your field. Referrals are an effective and fast way to get a job. Therefore, connecting with people who have a job you want or work at a company you’re interested in will really boost your search. Plus, IT recruiters spend time in these groups looking for talent. Attend a few meetups, join a conversation online and remember to mention you’re looking for a job!
How to Make Your Ask
When reaching out for help, always be polite and direct. Let the recipient know right away what you’re looking for so you don’t waste time going back and for only to learn they can’t or won’t help you.
You can start with an email or LinkedIn message to say hello and gauge their interest and availability. In some cases, it may be best to meet in person or talk on the phone, but start with a brief, clear message before making bigger plans.
When emailing a recruiter or hiring manager directly, call attention to your specialized skills and your ability to learn new technology and adapt to new environments or tool. Be sure to do your research on the person and companies they hire for, so you can make a specific ask and get the information you desire.
If you have already connected with this person or have a mutual friend, call that out in the subject line or first line of the email. Name dropping works! Try “We have connected before at XYZ Event” or “My friend John Smith said to reach out to you.” Drawing a direct connection like this will increase your chance of getting a response.
Stay Connected: It Works!
You never know how you’ll find your next job or client. For instance, a former Intelliswift contractor recently reconnected with us. Eight years after we placed him in a role, he returned to us looking to hire contractors for his new company. Because of that strong connection and the positive relationship, we built years ago, his new company and Intelliswift are able to partner and provide the resources they need to grow. Don’t be afraid to reach way back in your connections to improve your chances of success and find your next gig. Then be ready to return the favor when you hear of someone looking for a job.