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Overcomng Inhibitions Preventing Friends From Helping in Our Job Search

published January 19, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 10 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
One reason why job seekers may be reluctant to ask friends or acquaintances for assistance is the feeling that the other person can't help and that asking would do no good. The following statements typify this attitude:
  • "I can't ask him about job leads. He already knows I'm looking for work."
  • "He doesn't know anything."
  • "She can't even find a job herself."
  • "He's been looking for a job for three months himself and barely found one."
  • "What would she know about my type of job?"
  • "I know she doesn't have any opening where she works. They haven't been hiring."
  • "If there was an opening, she would have told me."

Another reason for hesitation is that job seekers often are unwilling to tell people that they are looking for a job. They may feel any or all of the following:

  • "I feel ashamed to be out of work."
  • "I don't want everybody to know I'm having trouble finding a job."
  • "People who are working feel uncomfortable when you tell them you can't find a job."
  • "How do I suddenly tell someone I'm out of work?"

A third source of hesitation has to do with the position or relationship of the person whom you're asking for help. For example:
  • “I know he has no jobs. He can't hire me."
  • "I don't want to work for my father. I won't ask him."
  • "He can't get me hired in his place. He doesn't have the authority."
  • "She couldn't find me a job because she is just a secretary."

A fourth type of hesitation comes from the fear that people will be embarrassed to be asked for help. This attitude may be reflected by such statements as:
  • "I hate to ask for a favor."
  • "I don't want to impose on my friendship with him."
  • "I don't want to put her on the spot."

This hesitation keeps job seekers from asking as many people for help as they could. Therefore, in order to make good use of all friends and acquaintances, these attitudes must be changed. There are ways to ask that will let you feel comfortable and will make those you ask feel eager to help.

How to ask a friend for help

When you ask someone to help you find a job, be sure to provide four types of information.
  • Tell the person that you are looking for a job, and why.
  • Say why that person is in a special position to help you.
  • Describe your skills briefly.
  • Tell that person what kind of help you need.

Bear in mind that each of these items of information is essential; if any one of them is excluded from your request, the person won't be able to help or will feel uncomfortable.

It doesn't really matter what order you say them in—just be sure to include them all. One statement that includes all four types of information might be, "I'm looking for a job now that I'm out of school. I've had lots of experience in hospital work and doctors' offices as a medical technician. You probably know lots of places like that because of your line of work. Can you think of some places that I might try?" In this example, you have told the person that you are looking for work, why you are looking for work, what kind of job you want, why you have asked him or her, and what specific kind of help he or she can give.

Tell a person you are looking for a job

Telling people that you are looking for a job becomes much easier if you also tell them (briefly) why you are looking. As you read the following examples, think about which type of statement applies to you, which you might comfortably say.
  • "I'll be graduating from school so I'm looking around for a job now."
  • "I've been out of work for a while but now I've decided to really start looking for a job."
  • "I have a job, but I'm not too happy with it so I'm looking for a different job."
  • "My company had a big cutback and I was laid off so I'm looking for a job."
  • "My kids are all in school now so I'm looking for a job."
  • "My job involves too much travel so I'm looking for another job."
  • "I quit my last job because I wasn't getting anywhere as a shipping clerk in that company, so I'm looking for a job."
  • "I just got out of the army so now I'm looking for a job."
  • "I needed a break from working but now I'm looking for a job."
  • "My husband's salary isn't enough now that the kids are older so I'm looking for a job."
  • "My summer job is over so now I'm looking for a job."
  • "I just moved to this city and am looking for a job."

Practice saying this statement silently or even aloud to see how natural it sounds. If it doesn't feel natural, change it until it does.

Tell the person why you are asking him for a job and not others

When you ask people for help, tell why you are asking them in particular, pointing out what is special about them. This lets them know that they are special, which encourages them to live up to your opinion and to help you. Otherwise, they may feel, "Why ask me? I don't know anything."

Here are examples of statements that apply to different people who can help. As you read each statement, imagine yourself making that type of statement to a particular person you know.
  • To a Native of the City: "You've lived in this city a long time and know almost everybody."
  • To a Very Socially Active Friend: "You have so many friends, you probably hear about things before anyone."
  • To Someone Who Works in Tour Field: "You've been working in the same type of job I'm looking for, so you probably know about what is happening."
  • To a Relative: "I know you'd try to help a relative." D To a Parent: "You've helped me with everything else I've ever done, so …
  • To a Classmate: "You've probably done lots of thinking and have good ideas about jobs after graduation, so "
  • To a Landlord: "You have treated me so well and know lots of people, so...."
  • To a Salesperson or Clerk: "You meet lots of people and hear about what is going on, so "
  • To a Professor or Teacher: "You know better than anyone what kinds of jobs are open in this field, so "
  • To a Friend who Works in a Place You'd Like to Work: "You know me pretty well and I'd like a job in your company. I bet you know someone there you could tell about me."
  • To Someone Who Just Got a Job: "You probably heard about lots of jobs that might be opening up."
  • To Someone Who is Looking for a Job: "You've probably heard of lots of jobs that you weren't interested in but that might be okay for me."
  • To Someone You've Worked with Before: "You know what kind of worker I am, so you know better than anyone what kind of jobs I'd be interested in."
  • To a Fellow Club Member: "You know me pretty well and how I get along with people, so "
  • To Anyone You Admire: "You always seem to have good ideas."
  • To Someone Who Has Done You a Favor: "You've helped me before when I needed it so I'm hoping you can help me now."
  • To Someone You Have Helped: "We've helped each earlier in the past so I'm hoping you can help now."

Every person you ask has something special you can mention that will make that person interested in helping you.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.

published January 19, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 10 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.