Recent work with my clients made me realize that very competent people often have trouble asking for help or they do not know how to ask for help effectively. I have outlined 3 ways you can clearly articulate what you are looking for in a position when networking with trusted sources.
Here are the ways you can get others to help you more effectively:
(1) The shorter your request, the more likely someone will fulfill your request.
Keep your request short and to the point—NO MANIFESTOS! People will not read them. I am a firm believer in this rule. Think about anytime you received a request from someone. When it is short, sweet, clear and easy, you simply hit reply with information or forward to the right person to help your friend. When the request is long, detailed, full of reasons, explanations, and makes you roll your eyes before you even read it (“OMG, they want me to read all this!”)—it is not getting done quickly or if at all.
(2) Tell someone how to help you.
Make it simple for someone to help you. If you are looking for an introduction, ask them. If you are seeking an email address, request it. If you are looking for individuals they may know in Corporate Safety in Fortune 200 firms, be specific. Simply saying, “If you know of anyone you maybe be hiring” does not help anyone. And when they do not respond because they do not know how to respond—you feel rejected. By being specific, you do not set yourself up to be ignored. You may feel like you are being demanding or too forward asking this way—but when these requests are coupled with your manners (‘Please’ ‘Thank You’ ‘If you are unable, I understand’), you will only be perceived as being politely persistent.
(3) Design a job profile to share with your network.
Ensure you do not get misunderstood and help create sparks in the minds of your network by telling them what you are seeking. That does not mean you have to appear inflexible. Indicate company names, general profile characteristics (start-up, mid-sized, Fortune 500), sample job titles of what you are seeking, titles of contacts you are looking to connect with, types of initiatives/projects done by the prospective employer, and preferred geography, for example. Again, make it simple for someone to help you and don’t leave it to them to figure out what you want.
Other sources that are amazing at helping you learn how to give and receive help from other are Keith Ferrazzi’s books Whose Got Your Back? and Never Eat Alone, which can be found at Barnes & Noble or Keith Ferrazzi’s website. I have learned so much from these books, it is a good reminder for us all to refer back to them for the golden nuggets of information he gives. (NOTE: I receive no payment on referring these.)
Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer
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