Searching for a job can be a frustrating and lonely process. But as you look for your next opportunity, even if your friends can’t give you insider information on an organization you admire, consider the following ways that they can give you a boost:
They can help you figure out what you’re good at so you can expand your opportunities
Send an email asking for insights into your strengths. Send it to one friend or peer this week. And try it again with someone new next week! And again!
Here’s a sample template you can use for this email:
I am working on improving myself, personally and at work, and you are someone whose opinion I truly value. If you are willing, I would be so appreciative if you would answer some or all of the questions below to help me gain some insight into my strengths and the things I do best.
I really appreciate it, and would be happy to do the same for you if you’d like!
- What do you think is my greatest strength?
- How would you describe my style?
- What do you think I should let go of?
- When do you feel that I am at my best?
- What do you wish I were less of, for my sake?
- When have you seen me looking my most fabulous?
- What do you think I could give myself more credit for or celebrate more?
They can review your resume to ensure you’re applying for jobs the right way
From an earlier post on Idealist Careers,
Upon glancing at your resume for a minute or less, your friend should be able to tell you what the new job entails. This is because the job description should be reflected throughout your resume in the following ways:
- in the language you use (adopt the language used in the position description),
- in the tasks you choose to describe (share your experiences doing similar tasks required by the new job), and
- in the accomplishments you share (demonstrate your ability to successfully complete the work put forth in the description)
They can introduce you to people you’d like to meet
I received an email from a good friend yesterday. She was asking for a favor—to connect me with her brother for career advice…Maybe it’s because I’ve received a few truly terribly written introductions (and cold emails) in the past week, but I thought it would be helpful to sketch out why her email was so good.
Communicate the context and purpose upfront: My friend did two great things here: she reminded me of a past encounter with her brother and told me why this introduction was relevant to me.
Provide background information: When introducing an individual or company, make it easy for the reader to learn more (if they’re interested.)
A clear explanation of the ask: Be simple and direct. Also, don’t completely bury this, many people might miss it at the end.
They key to having your friends help you is to make it easy for them to take action by having very specific requests. And even as you search, never forget that generosity is key to building a supportive network. Always think of ways that you can help your friends thrive, too!
How have your friends helped you in the job hunt? Share your experiences in the comments.