You know that networking is important, but it doesn’t feel right to you. It feels as if you are expected to use your friends to further your career, and that is not something that you are prepared to do. While networking can initially feel awkward and uncomfortable, when done correctly, it is mutually beneficial and actually builds the relationship. Here are some tips for asking a friend for help with your job search:
Be up front. Let your friend know right away that you are asking for help. This allows them to know what to expect. People don’t like it when they think that they have been invited out for a social visit, and are suddenly asked for a favour.
Be clear about how they can help you. Be specific with your friend about how they can help you. Instead of saying, “Can you help me get into that company?” Say, “Can you let John, the general manager, know that you have worked with me in the past and that I am a skilled administrative assistant?”.
Be appreciative. Most people will be willing to help you, but you need to show appreciation. Your friend’s willingness to talk to their manager, or introduce you to a networking contact can make a huge difference in whether or not you get the job. Find a way to show them that you are grateful for the support.
Help them. Networking is a two-way street; your contacts help you, and you help them. This doesn’t mean that you have to help them today, but when they need assistance sometime in the future, make it a point to be there for them.
Maintain the relationship. Nobody likes the person who only calls when they need something. When your friend is helping you with your job search, you need to work even harder to maintain the relationship. If you regularly plan to get together with your friend when you are not asking for anything, they will see that you truly do value the friendship.
Networking is the easiest and most effective way to find a job. Like anything else, it takes practice. If you are clear about what you want and you keep your friendship as the top priority, you will achieve results, while keeping your friends happy.
(Written by Karen Bivand)