Are you looking for a job right now? If you haven’t asked your professional network for help yet, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
This could be the difference of you getting a job in a couple weeks vs. 6 months later. It could also impact the amount of money you could be making. The best part about asking your colleagues about any potential job openings is there is no downside (unless you consider the time it takes to send a message to them).
I want to share a story about a friend of mine who didn’t do this and the impact of job hunting alone.
Read Also: I Automated My Job Search (And It Worked!)
Paul’s Job Hunting Story
My friend, (let’s call him Paul), came across my mind because we needed to fill some positions at my current company. I worked with Paul for many years at a previous job and he was a hard worker who got along with anyone at work.
When our team opened up a position, I thought, “Paul would be perfect in this role”.
I reached out to him not to pitch him on a new job offer, but mainly to catch up from the past year. We talked about our family and recent updates and he said, “I also just left my company for a new opportunity”.
I gave him a call to learn more about the transition and told him that he really would fit in nicely at the company I worked for. Long story short, He thought my company might be a better opportunity with more pay and a better career path, so he submitted an application. I was also able to pull some strings to get him an interview with my manager within 24 hours from our chat.
I wish he would’ve reached out to me about his job search sooner, because I feel like I would have reduced the stress from job hunting.
Benefits of Reaching Out to Your Network
Like I mentioned before, the benefits of messaging your network are far greater than the amount of time it will take to plant those seeds.
If you are 17-20 years old, it may more difficult to do this because you have a smaller circle, but it is still worth reaching out to friends (and their parents) for advice.
Here are 6 benefits of tapping into to your network:
1. Land a job quickly – a friend may pull some strings to get you in easier than contacting a company on your own
2. Get more pay – you might have more options on your plate with a higher salary
3. Catch up with friends – you may reignite an old friendship that could have fizzled out over the years
4. New relationships – during this process a colleague might introduce you to a new person or company
5. Discover new information – your network will help provide insightful information about what they are hearing in their city/etc.
6. Reduce stress – you’ll feel more confident knowing other people are working on your behalf
Overall, you will get something out of the conversations you’re having with colleagues. The worst case scenario is your contact will say they don’t know of any opportunities or ways to help you at this time. If they do 3 months from now, you’ll be on top of mind for them to possibly reach out to you.
Who Should I Contact From My Network?
People naturally want to help others. We are hard-wired to help because we feel like we are doing a good deed and accomplishing an impactful task.
For this reason, don’t feel like you need to shy away from anyone. Instead, brainstorm who you know would be willing to help you in these groups:
- Friends & family
- Colleagues from past jobs
- People from church, volunteering, etc.
- People from the gym, yoga, or running buddies
- Previous classmates or professors
- Other meetups/groups
Anyone you can think of that would be willing to help would be good to write down on a list. Once you have a good amount of names written down, you can start reaching out to your network to start the conversation.
How To Ask Your Network For a Job?
Asking your colleagues and friends about potential job opportunities may feel a bit awkward. This is natural because you will most likely be reaching out to them randomly after a long hiatus. Here are some guidelines to help with your approach and the do’s and don’ts when asking for help.
Contact People Who Would Celebrate Your Success
Contact people who you know would love to help you out. I’ve reached out to some colleagues in the past where they didn’t return my message on LinkedIn and it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Instead of me getting emotionally involved in a negative way, it probably would’ve been better if I just stuck to the people who celebrate my success.
Be Genuine & Sincere
When reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to in a year, you should probably craft a message that sounds like you aren’t just trying to ‘use’ them. For example, I would tell that person specifically why I am reaching out, but would also say something like “Sorry I’m hitting you up out of the blue here…” to open up the conversation in a non-aggressive way.
Be Specific In Your Request
If you ask for something vague, your network will respond in kind. Instead of saying, “Keep me in mind if you hear anything”, you could ask about specific people they could get you in contact with at their company or introduce you to someone in their circle that could help you out. For example, I could say, “Do you have any recruiters in your network that would be willing to take a look at my resume?”. This is a random example, but try to think about what would make sense for your situation.
Don’t Send Mass Messages
Try to keep the conversations 1 on 1 so the recipient will be fully engaged in the conversation. They will be able to keep the conversation going longer than a mass thread that is public.
I hope this helps with your job search and can give you a framework for asking your network for help. If you feel like this was beneficial for you, share this post with a friend that could benefit from these tips!