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  • Lyndal Clark

Help ... I need job!

Whether you are new to the job market, or have been job searching since before Covid-19 hit New Zealand’s shores, you might be a little wary about asking others to help you as you commence or continue your job search.

Let’s face it, it can be difficult at the best of times to figure out what to say when you are asking for help to find a job, let alone when you are trying to be sensitive during these particularly challenging times. However, you should not underestimate the power of reaching out to others during your job search, and to help you, I have outlined a few suggestions below that might help.

Be specific

People are always more likely to help when they know exactly what they can do, and that is more pertinent now than ever, particularly when they might be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain themselves. The key is to ask them something that they can easily answer. For example

“I was hoping you might be able to introduce me to someone who is working for ABC company”

or

“I wonder if it would be possible for me to have 15 minutes of your time so that I can find out more about working in the XYZ industry”.

Once they have a good understanding of what kind of help you are looking for, they may be able to help you.

Be Genuine and Empathetic

Remember, everyone is having to adapt to the restrictions placed upon us right now. People are experiencing job losses, pay cuts, and limited hours. So, it’s absolutely critical that you personalise your request, that you are genuine and sincere, and that you take the time to ask how they are doing. A few words of kindness, or acknowledgement of the situation we find ourselves in, can go a long way.

Be patient and yet persistent.

This is not the time to pressure or hound people if they do not respond to your emails or calls. Don’t take it personally. You can perhaps discreetly follow up in a few weeks, but if you don’t hear back from them at that time, then it might be best to leave it and move on to your next contact. This is where persistence is key – be persistent in identifying someone who can help you. It is very likely that you will need to reach out to more people than usual before you find someone who can help.

Ask for leads on Social Media

LinkedIn is a great platform for anything job related, but if you are active on Facebook or other social media, then it makes sense to ask there as well. Consider writing a post that outlines your situation and asks for any leads or assistance that may help you to identify a new role. If you have lost your job, social media is a great way to let others know. You should not feel ashamed to say your position has been made redundant, as there will be many people who are in remarkably similar situations. Start your post with something like “I have recently lost my job as a direct result of Covid-19”. Most people will want to help you if they can!

Asking for help during your job search might seem daunting—especially now when the job market and economy is so uncertain. However, if you take this as an opportunity to check in with people in your network, you will likely find that people will still help you if they can. And if not – well, you can be proud of the fact that you have taken positive steps to establish new connections and reconnect with the ones you already had.


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