How to “make” people want to help you in your job search

Let me share what apparently is a secret to most people: the secret to making (or getting) people to want to help you in your job search.

I say this is apparently a secret because in the 10+ years I’ve been intimately involved in helping people in their job search, it seems that very few people actually know about this tactic. Here’s an example scenario:

Scenario 1 (what happens 99% of the time)

You: Jason, can you help me?  I’d like an introduction to John Doe…

Me: Sure… let me make that introduction.

You: Thanks!

Then, I make the introduction, and I never hear back from you. I wonder what happened… I wonder if you even reached out to my contact, and if you did, how did it go.

Scenario 2 (what should always happen, but I hardly experience it)

You: Jason, can you help me?  I’d like an introduction to John Doe…

Me: Sure… let me make that introduction.

You: Thanks!

[shortly after I make the introduction…]

You: Jason, thanks for that introduction. I just reached out to John Doe and have a lunch set up for this week.  I really appreciate your willingness to connect us, and that you trusted me with your friend.

I don’t wonder, because you followed-up… I know that you respected the introduction, and so far, feel good about this new connection. I hope that lunch this week goes well, and honestly, would like to know how it goes (which means, another follow-up).

Now, the point of this post is to get more people to want to help you more.  When I experience Scenario 2… that is, when the person circles back and tells me that (a) they acted on the introduction I sent, and (b) what they did, I find myself thinking “who else should I introduce to this person?”

I’ve been on the phone with people while they tell me what they did after the introduction, and as we are talking I’m thinking of other names I’ll send an introduction to as soon as the call is over.

I trust that the person will treat my contacts right.

You may hesitate a little to “bug” the person who sent you an introduction, but let me tell you, it’s much better to “bug” them with a short follow-up message, reporting back, than to not talk about it again (where they’ll just wonder if you did anything).

Try it – today, circle back, follow-up, with the people who have given you introductions… even if you are just saying “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I just emailed this person and hope to have a conversation this week…”

That simple gesture shows you respect and appreciate their trust in you. And they’ll want to help you with more.

3 thoughts on “How to “make” people want to help you in your job search”

  1. Absolutely, an important activity of the job search process is to follow-up whether it is with the targeted employer or those a job seeker reaches out to in his/her network.

  2. Another thing that is important to remember is to be specific when you ask for help.

    E.g. 1 (What not to do.) “Here is my resume, please pass it along to anyone who you think can use my skills.” Don’t expect people to read through your resume and figure out a good fit for you.

    E.g. 2 (How to help people help you.) “I’m looking for an ABC position at XYZ company. I see that you are connected to Joe at who is in charge of the ABC department at XYZ. Can you make an introduction?” People will help you if you make it easy for them.

Comments are closed.