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How to Ask for Help with Your Job Search

Even when you know people are willing to help, talking to them about your job search might make you feel vulnerable, and you might be hesitant to ask for help. If you would like some help in your job search, but you don’t know how to ask, you can follow the suggestions below.

Looking for a new job can be exciting and stressful. However, you don’t need to feel alone in your employment journey. Many of your friends, family, and ministering brothers and sisters want to help you succeed and find the opportunity that is right for you.

You Don’t Have to Tell the World

It is natural if you do not want to announce to everyone that you are looking for a job. You might be more comfortable talking about it in private one-on-one conversations with the people you are closest to. Think and pray about who to reach out to, and then contact them in whatever way works best for you. That may be through text, over the phone, or in person.

How to Begin

How do you even tell someone that you are looking for a job and could use some help? Most people prefer the topic to come up as part of normal conversation, but even then, it can be hard to know what to say. And it may not be that your job search naturally fits into everyday conversation. Either way, it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep it simple with something like this:

“Can I talk to you about something a little personal? You might not have known this, but I am actually looking for a new job. Can I tell you a little about it?”

Asking to talk about your job search can make it an easy transition for both you and the person you are talking with.

Help Others Know How to Be Helpful

Your friends and family love you and want to help you, but they often don’t know how to help, so they hold back or try to help in ways that aren’t helpful to you. You can get the help you need by guiding others and telling them what would be helpful to you. It is OK to be clear and provide them with direction. Here are three common ways that others can help you with your search:

  1. Be understanding and supportive.
    • A job search can be hard, and sometimes all you need is someone to talk to who can provide encouragement. If this is what you need, you might say:

      “One of the ways I could use some help is just knowing that someone else understands what I am going through. Would you mind if I reached out to you occasionally to share how things are going, especially when it is hard? I am not expecting you to fix anything; I just need someone to listen to me, understand, and provide encouragement.”

  2. Connect you to people and opportunities.
    • One of the best ways others can help is by sharing job leads or potential contacts with you. Tell them the type of job you are looking for and any industries or companies you are interested in. You might say something like:

      “One of the ways you could help is letting me know of any opportunities you hear about for the type of job I am looking for. And, if you know of anyone who does what I do or who works with people in similar positions, would you please connect me with them?”

  3. Connect you to technical help.

    • You might need help with technical things like your résumé, networking, or preparing for an interview. You may not know anyone who is an expert with these things or that understands your field. However, your friends might know experts they could connect you with.

    • When asking a friend or another person to connect you to technical help, be sure to be very clear that you are not asking them to help you themselves. You might say: “I don’t want you to feel like I am asking you to be my coach or to teach me how to do résumés, networking, or interviews. If I need that type of help, you could help me best by connecting me to expert resources, like websites and videos, qualified coaches, or other resources.”

    • If you do want technical help from one of your friends or connections, you can ask them directly: “I know you understand my industry and have experience interviewing. Could you help me practice?”

Follow Up

When a friend gives you the name of a person to contact or information about a job opportunity, always follow through, and then let your friend know how it went. Thank them for offering to help. Doing this shows that you appreciate their efforts on your behalf. It also allows them to think of other helpful leads or contacts.

When Someone Misses the Mark

Sometimes, well-intentioned people might reach out with a job opportunity that isn’t quite what you’re looking for. When this happens, you can respond graciously while still providing a better idea of what you are looking for. For example, if someone sends you a job opening that doesn’t match your interests or that you feel doesn’t match your level of expertise, you can do the following:

  1. Thank that person for their effort in looking on your behalf.
  2. Share why that job description doesn’t match what you’re looking for.
  3. Share what you are looking for.

That might go something like this: “Thank you so much for sending me that job. Unfortunately, the salary level is below what I’m currently making, but what I’m really looking for is…” Then you can let that person know that you’d still like their help and to keep you in mind for future opportunities.

Be Prayerful

Heavenly Father wants you to succeed! He wants you to find fulfilling employment opportunities. Pray to Him for guidance and help. Remember that sometimes He may answer your prayers through the help of those around you. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said,

“Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from far away will magically appear to meet those needs. Perhaps we wait for experts with specialized knowledge to solve specific problems. When we do this, we deprive our neighbor of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to serve.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Providing in the Lord’s Way,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011

Asking for help can feel vulnerable, but people around you want to support you. You can help them know how to be helpful. Having others on your job search team can help you move even faster towards your next employment opportunity.

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