How To Ask For Help With Your Job Search

Ever feel weird about asking someone for help with your job search? I encourage you to think differently about asking for help.

Maybe one of these things has happened to you:

  • You are applying to a job at a company and you know someone who works there, but you feel a little funny asking them for a referral or for information that might help you out
  • You are interested in a career field or a job and your neighbor works in that field, but you are hesitant to ask them about their work
  • You know someone (not a BFF, but an acquaintance) who works at a company you would love to work for, but you just don’t feel right asking them for tips on getting a job there

Guess what?

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know if that path might work out for you!

I encourage you to make the ask for help

Let’s reframe this situation so you can see it with a different perspective.

Currently you are thinking of this situation in terms of asking for a favor that might burden someone else: You’re thinking about how they will have to take time out of their day to speak with you or fill out a referral form at work for you.

But that’s the wrong way to see it!

A good reframe of this situation could be that you are giving someone an opportunity to be a hero at work by introducing you – a great candidate for a job!

Trust me when I tell you that every team with an opening is looking for a smart, reliable, collaborative person to join their ranks. So give your contact at that company the opportunity to be the hero that introduces a terrific candidate to the team. It’s a win-win!

Referral Bonuses Are For Real

An even bigger win is a company that pays it’s employees referral bonuses: Your contact could get paid a nice little sum when you get hired! Companies love to hire people that come recommended to them by someone they already know and trust.

So don’t hesitate to make that ask for a referral: You might be doing someone a BIG favor that they can take all the way to the bank!

Here’s Another Reframe

You’re hesitant to ask someone to have coffee with you and tell you about their job or their company. You’re thinking about how busy they must be and how they probably don’t want to spend their free time talking about work.

Again, this is the wrong way to see it.

The reframe: People love to talk about themselves! And even more than that, it is flattering when someone approaches you because of your expertise in your field and asks to hear about your experience.

I am encouraging you to make the ask because you will learn a ton from that expert, and you are giving them the opportunity to shine and feel great about what they do.

Make the ask! Check out the Back to Business Guide To Conducting Informational Interviews for more detail on this.

It Feels Good To Help

I firmly believe that people want to help you, but you have to tell them how they can be helpful.

So the next time you catch yourself hesitating to ask for help with your job search, I want you to reframe that situation and see it from the perspective of you giving them the opportunity to be helpful.

One Final Caveat

If you are reaching out on LinkedIn to ask people to chat with you about their job or to ask for a referral, you will not get a 100% response rate.

Don’t let those non-responders slow you down or convince you that asking for help isn’t the right path. Stay the course and find someone else to reach out to for help with your job search.


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