How to help people help you in your job search

Let me share the message I get from a lot of job seekers, almost to the word:

“I am looking for a new job… do you know of anything?”

Or, just as bad:

“Do you know any recruiters I should talk to?”

Here’s another lame attempt:

“Will you check out my resume?”

I get these questions regularly… and they make me cringe.

I don’t know you, or what you do, where you want to work, what title(s) you have had, or what titles you want to have. I don’t know what kind of recruiter to introduce you to, and honestly, I don’t want to introduce you to any of my recruiter contacts because if you came at me with such ambiguity, you’ll probably just send a generic resume to my recruiter introductions, which I bet will go to their deleted folder.

Please reevaluate your communication to people, when you ask for help, and see how close to those vague inquiries your requests are.

What is better than that?  Simply let people know exactly who you want to be introduced to.  For example:

“I’d like an introduction to someone who works in the XYZ industry.  Do you know anyone you could introduce me to?”


“I’m looking for project managers in the area… do you know any project managers here?”

The first part of this is exactly who you are looking for.

The second part is a simple yes/no question, asking if they know someone.  The next step would be to ask for the introduction, of course.

People want to help you… but they can’t if they don’t know how.  I realize that one of the most important things we can do, as job seekers, is to help people help us… and to do that, they need the right information, and an invitation to help.  Are you giving both of those?