Network for a Job

Ask for Help with a Clear Purpose

Get over the guilt, the shyness, and the embarrassment about asking for help in your job search. Change the way you ask for help, as well. Let's break it down...

Your embarrassment and guilt comes across as lacking confidence

Elizabeth secured a meeting with Frank for help on her job search, needing his help in introducing her to some executives. She came to Frank's office door and didn't knock or let him know she was there, so they lost 5 minutes since Frank just kept working, unaware she was on time. Then, her very first words were "I'm so sorry, Frank, I know you are very busy and don't have time to meet with me." Elizabeth continued with "I won't take much of your time and if you can't help me I understand."

What is Frank's first impression? That she would be afraid of collaborating in a business environment, she is lacking confidence, and we just lost 5 minutes of our 30 minutes for her apologies. I'm probably not going to refer her to people I know. Harsh, eh? Well, Frank will never tell Elizabeth any of that, and he'll be cordial. However, he may not become a raving fan of Elizabeth's going forward.Have a clear job-search goal and be excited about it!

The meeting continued and Frank asked "So, Elizabeth, what are you looking for?" . Elizabeth responded "Well, I'm not sure, which is why I'm here."

Not good. Your network is ideally suited to help you reach a goal, not being a career counselor. Yes, there are a few who may enjoy this level of discussion, but, during my 30+ years in Fortune 500 companies, most networking is best when you have narrowed this down yourself. There are many resources to help you and see my blogs on goal-setting.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse.

In front of a mirror, in your mind, or with a job search buddy, practice what you will do and say from the minute you enter the doorway through your closing summary of the meeting. From the strong hand-shake and eye contact, the first words out of your mouth, all the way to the closing hand-shake and smile. If Elizabeth had done this, her valuable 30 minutes with Frank would have resulted in an entirely different set of "help". Raise the bar, job-seekers.

Think before connecting. Plan and prepare before asking. Cut the Crap, Get a Job. "Crap" comes in the form of the excuses you make and the mistakes you are making that sabotage your odds of success in this new job search era. You can do this and I'm here to help.
Dana Manciagli
Dana Manciagli> website | all articles
Dana Manciagli, called "a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers," has been a corporate executive for more than 30 years and has leveraged her employee hiring and management experience into that of author, blogger, keynote speaker, career coach, and global career expert. She is the author of Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era.

Dana has had a remarkable career in global sales and marketing roles in Fortune 500 corporations. Recently retired from a decade's tenure at Microsoft as worldwide sales general manager, Dana previously worked for Kodak as VP of worldwide marketing and climbed the corporate career ladder through Sea-Land, Avery Dennison, and IBM. She also helped grow a fast-growing technology start-up from early stage to IPO and sale of the company.

Dana has coached, interviewed, and hired thousands of job seekers. As a result, she has developed a proprietary job search and networking process. Her ideas and techniques are proven to be as effective for college graduates as for senior executives. Dana has presented her concept at hundreds of career-centric and corporate events and is a prolific writer on the subject. She is a sought-after speaker and a regular contributor to print and online publications.

Named a top "Women of Influence" in Seattle, Dana lives and works in Puget Sound where she serves on the Worldwide Board of Junior Achievement. She is also a breast cancer conqueror, received her MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and speaks fluent Spanish. Dana shares her life with Mathis, is immensely proud of her two grown sons, Shane and Chad, and loves to golf and travel the world.
  • /data/userPictures/C3411CCD-8FA1-4F25-BE8C-0D1CF6FCC575.jpgDavid Lovelace2/1/2016 2:29:53 PM
    I appreciate the article Dana. In the midst of a job search, this is valuable information. I've scheduled phone interviews with 3 companies today.

  • /data/userPictures/C69D4536-C657-4D73-A3C4-9098D95A6E9F.jpgRobbie Gongwer6/5/2017 10:32:18 AM
    Good point. Apologizing for using the other person's times immediately lowers your status. Who do people want to buy from or hire, low-status people or high-status people?

  • /data/userPictures/79A3E582-1EB2-4E42-BE3C-D1AF9E815D1A.jpgVaheed Shahnam4/21/2020 10:33:58 PM
    All about humility and confidence for sure.