During a job search, individuals often distress over the fact that networking and asking people they know for career help can feel awkward. It’s especially uncomfortable establishing contact with someone they don’t know very well or haven’t kept in great touch with. Our advice? Suck it up and play the game anyway.
The first thing you need to realize is that people enjoy helping others. When an individual receives a phone call or an email from someone asking for assistance, they often go out of their way to provide it because being asked makes them feel important and needed. The trick here is to be tactful in the way that you ask for help. Asking for career advice goes much farther than flat out asking for a job from someone you rarely talk to. Many job seekers are hesitant to reach out to their contacts because they do not want those people to feel like they are being used. The best way to make sure that your contacts don’t feel that way is to always be gracious and request guidance instead of asking them to get you through the door straight away.
One way to avoid this conundrum in the first place is to sharpen your networking skills early on. Try to touch base with your contacts every so often, even if it’s only once every other month. A quick email to say hello and catch up or a link to an article you feel they might find interesting is all it takes. If you stay in touch with people, you will feel much more at ease when you need to contact them to ask for help because you already speak with them on occasion, and they won’t feel like you only come to them when you want something.
The job market is showing a bit more promise these days, but it’s still tough out there. Our networks are extremely valuable in helping us gain leads and eventually land jobs. Branching out and asking for help doesn’t come easily to everyone, but it is the way things are done. Don’t let a little shyness hold you back.
Until next time,
The Doostang Team