I Just Want a Job! Part 2

In this series, I’m tackling some of the  frustrations of job seekers I hear.

“I don’t want to call strangers and ask for a job.”

That’s right. You don’t call strangers. Even effective “cold calling” begins with having something or someone in common with the person you are contacting.  When we hear the name of someone we know and like or respect, it gets our attention in a positive way.  So you’ll get an extra second of someone’s attention if you can say, “Jane Smith, my cousin’s boss, suggested that I contact you.”  They’ll immediately want to know why and perhaps if you’ve actually talked with Jane (which is a darn good idea to get the referral in the first place).

And you don’t ask for a job. Bluntly asking, “Are there any job openings?” puts them in an uncomfortable spot. First, it’s easy for them to say ‘no’ especially if there aren’t any openings in their area.  But they may not be aware of openings in other area of their organizations, or in your field. There is a better way to find out.

Do not email a resume to your friends and say, “Do you know of any jobs?” It’s too easy for them to say “no” or, at best, just forward your resume to the mountain of resumes in HR.

When you have targeted of the type of work you want and your location preferences, its easier to tap people you know with a few easy-to-answer questions. Contact your friends with specific questions that will help you find the people who have hiring authority.   Ask if they know someone who does similar work you do in their company. Ask for a few minutes to ask 2-3 questions about their organization/profession/current issues and to let them know what you offer a potential employer.  Don’t get stuck on out-of-date job titles. Translate what you can do into how it can help the organization.

Translation tips coming up next, in Part 3.

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