How to Ask for Job Search Help

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Posted by Pat Tovo

Everyone needs help at times in their professional lives. Looking for a new job is a prime example of when calling on your professional network as well as friends and family could deliver terrific results. As always, though, there are certain points to keep in mind before you reach out.

Here are a few thoughts on good practices for asking your way into that perfect new cyber security job.

Get Specific

You might run into a friend at the supermarket who is a highly regarded professional or maybe you’re reaching out to former colleagues. You want to take advantage of a good opportunity so you drop a generic request to “keep me in mind” or you send a resume asking to “pass it along if you hear of something.” These are not impactful touches.

Help your contacts help you. Give them definite job titles along with companies or industries that you are targeting. For example:

“I am looking for a position as a cyber security analyst with Juniper Networks or United Health Group. Do you have any contacts at those companies that you can connect me with?”

For those friends and family who might not be connected to the appropriate circles, think how else they could assist you. Maybe someone is a great writer and they could help polish your cover letter. Or a creative friend might be willing to brainstorm how your talents could be translated to another industry. Just be careful not to ask for something that could clearly be accomplished on your own. You will find that people are more eager to help those who are working hard to help themselves.

Be Enthusiastic and Upbeat

Job hunting can be a downer, but don’t let those feelings of dismay creep into your request for assistance. Don’t whine. Don’t complain. No heavy sighing. Lose all signs of desperation. Never apply pressure or guilt trips. If you’re having a bad day or a bad week, don’t reach out until you are in a more positive frame of mind.

When you’re ready to reach out, share your sense of enthusiasm about looking forward to new opportunities. Be excited about what your future holds. Share your passion for your work. Excitement is contagious and that energy will payoff for you in unlimited ways.

Stay At It

While no one should make a pest of themselves, keeping your search in front of your network will keep you top of mind. Everyone leads busy lives and can’t be expected to hold on to your request as a top priority. Send a note or make a quick call every few weeks with an update on your search. Be upbeat, report any prospects, ask for new leads. Most people want to help, but the sad truth is that many will forget without a reminder.

Follow Up with the Connections You’re Given

Most of us think that our close-in network of contacts will be the most helpful in our job search. But it’s actually the edges or fringes of your network that will probably have the most impact on your career. Those contacts are exponentially larger in number, and so have much more opportunity for success.

What that means for you is follow up when someone gives you a lead, even if you don’t see an immediate connection or pay off. You don’t know where those leads may take you.

Show Your Appreciation

Always, always recognize the consideration you are shown and take the time to show appreciation. All the assistance you get may not prove fruitful right away, but express your gratitude anyway. Time and attention are valuable. A contact may not have a lead today but could uncover a great connection at a later date. If they don’t feel you’ve been grateful, that information may not be passed on to you in the future. Send a thank you note, offer to buy them coffee or lunch, make the time to recognize their efforts.

Reaching out for help can be difficult especially when you are feeling down about your situation. Take a deep breath before you make a call or send an email and focus on being optimistic. Use these tips to keep you on track. Before you know it, you’ll be accepting an offer for your new cyber security job.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling. 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 7:48 am

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About is a veteran-owned career site and job fair company for professionals and students seeking careers in the cyber security community. As a job seeker on you can: Search for a new job to find your next career. Best practices search tips: -Start with a more general search at first, and then refine the search as necessary via the Search and Browse tabs on the search results page. -Make sure you use all the relevant search terms for the type of position you want. If you’re not sure check with others in your network, professional associations or read through job postings. -Choose a centrally located zip code and use a zip code radius. Searching on cities is a challenge because a company may use “Northern Virginia” or “Washington DC metro” as the city for a job in Arlington, VA.

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