When you’re job hunting, what is the right-and wrong-way to ask for help? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately since, in the past few months, I’ve been contacted by three acquaintances in that situation (ironically, they’re all lobbyists – i.e., professional networkers). Yet despite their shared profession, their varying approaches provide a good road map of what to do – and what to avoid. Here are the three most important steps:
1.Reach out early and often. Several years ago, I met Steve through a task force in which one of my clients participated. After he left his job, he made the right textbook move: sending me, along with probably everyone else in his database, a personal email saying he was looking for work and asking if he could pass along his resume. It’s the perfect low-intensity strategy because it doesn’t take much time to personalize a template email, it doesn’t inconvenience anyone, and it might yield some early nibbles of informational interviews or job leads.
What He Did Right: He cast a wide net. You should plan to email literally everyone you know (otherwise, how are they going to know to be on the lookout for job opportunities for you?).
What He Did Wrong: No follow up. I haven’t heard from him in months, which means he’s likely to have dropped off other people’s radar screens, as well. His Facebook status says he’s still unemployed. You should check in at least every 6-8 weeks with a friendly note and reminder you’re still hunting.
Find out the other two steps and read the rest of the article on BNET.
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You. She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, the National Park Service, and Yale University. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.