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January 9th, 2012,
Job Seeker Advice

by Becky Benishek

“I need a job. Can you find one for me?”
“Can you send my resume to a recruiter?”
“You need to get me a job that pays at least $75,000 a year!”
“Please try to hook me up with any job that pays well.”

I get these kinds of messages from job seekers a lot for someone who has never been a recruiter.

I know why I’m getting them. I used to work on a career resource website at a company with its own branch of recruiting staff. Through social media, I connected with many excellent career advisers, including recruiters from other companies. I still have those connections today. I know a good resource when I see one, have never stopped learning from the people I’ve met and have my own experiences to draw from.

So I get it. I really do. I’ve been unemployed three times in this economy. I know how desperate the job search can be. I remember feeling the carpet yanked out from under me each time the axe fell. I remember not knowing where to start looking the first time around and not wanting to have to start looking the next time and the time after that.

I also remember being told that everybody knows somebody who has a job, and all of us stand a better chance of finding and landing a job if we play the networking game. So when I open up a message like one of the above, I understand what’s going on behind it, the driving force and the desperate need.

None of this is the problem. The problem is the expectation.

If you look closely, those messages are all very similar in nature: They’re all directed away from the person asking. They’re asking someone else to do the work, and that’s where the problem starts.

Job Seekers: Four Reasons Why Asking Someone to Get You a Job Doesn’t Work

  1. Nobody can “get” you a job. Demanding this is one of the most alienating things you can do. This is the message you’re sending: “Please dump a fully-packaged job on my lap.” We all want that! But even if it’s the furthest thing from your mind, it doesn’t seem that way. I’d love to just “get” you a job. Not being able to makes me feel helpless, and that makes me not want to be around what’s making me feel helpless, which means not being around you.
  2. Job-seeking is a full-time job. There’s a lot more to it than just sending a job opening. You’ve still got to do the work to get it–that’s you, not the recruiter, and certainly not your friends. Why ask them to commit their hours to helping you if you won’t even help yourself? If you start out your request with “You need to get me a job,” I’m more likely to delete your message than try to find time for you–because you’re not respecting my time.
  3. Nobody really cares how much you want to make. I’m sure you’re worth every penny of your sticker price and have worked hard to get there. Unfortunately, telling me you need a job that makes X amount of money isn’t going to cut it in this economy, especially if you’re currently unemployed. It makes me think that YOU think taking a job that pays a little less than exactly $X is worse than no job at all. And that makes you look really bad against all the people taking two or three jobs just to feed their families.
  4. People protect their resources. Asking me to spam recruiters with your information just because I know recruiters will jeopardize my relationships with them, and I’m not going to do that. You don’t want to appear as the junk mail of the internet, and neither do I.

Seven Ways Someone CAN Help Your Job Search:

(I’m using myself as an example, but you’ll get the gist.)

  • I can pass along any appropriate job openings I come across.
  • I can tell you all the advantages Twitter gives a job-seeker, including special career chats such as #careerchat, #hfchat and #jobhuntchat.
  • I can do a quick Google search on the Top 10 Things Your LinkedIn Should Have and send you the URL
  • I can make sure we’re connected on LinkedIn so you can look at my contacts to find recruiters in your field.
  • I can tell you how to use LinkedIn to network or pass you along to Ed Han’s blog for true guru tactics.
  • I can point you to job boards where you can set up email alerts and upload your resume.
  • I can commiserate online and off.

All you have to do is pay attention to HOW you’re asking for help. It’s simple: “I’m looking for a position in field X. Do you know anyone I should talk to in my field or at a specific company? If you do, will you introduce me to them?” Jibber Jobber goes into this in more depth, and I suggest you check it out.

Losing a job can play tricks on your mind. Don’t let it. I remember having to be told that just because I lost a job, it didn’t mean I lost any of my skills, education or experience. Being unemployed can take that much of a toll. I get it. But sometimes, a helping hand is all you need. The trick is how you ask for it.

Becky Benishek is a Marketing/IT pro who keeps an eye on career and job search trends – and the wonderful world of social media! Becky believes in the Miracle on 34th Street: Giving people what they need to get where they need to go. She is currently the Social Media Specialist for Feel safe at work and school again! You can find her at @CPI_Training and @bbenishek on Twitter.

  • Helen McDonald, CPA

    Great article!! u00a0Reminds me of an old adage I have used, “You are not your job”. u00a0We are all so much more. u00a0Being unemployed is a moment only.

  • Anonymous

    Helen, that’s exactly right!