Monday, December 21, 2015
4 Ways to Ask for Help From Your Network
Is it difficult for you to ask for help?
For many people it can be tough. While you may have no problem making a request on behalf of a colleague or a boss, when it comes to asking for assistance for yourself, you shut down.
It might be because you believe you will come off as weak if you ask for help. Or, maybe you're afraid you will be turned down.
But the problem is that you can really hurt you career by thinking you can go it alone. Ask successful people how they rose in the ranks and they will tell you they had someone -- or several people -- who helped them. Maybe someone vouched for their skills, or simply provided information. The bottom line is that going it alone will make career success much more difficult, if not impossible.
With the new year right around the corner, now is a good time to make more of an effort to reach out to others and make your needs known. Don't worry -- no one is going to think you're whiny or weak if you do this correctly. Instead, they'll see you as someone who truly wants to form a bond that can benefit all those involved.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Be honest. Don't try to manipulate or push someone into providing help. Be upfront with what you need, and if the person can't provide it, then thank him or her and move on.
2. Be clear. Write out what you need before contact the person. Be as specific as possible. Don't offer a vague, "I need someone who, like, you know, hires people like me."
3. Make a request, not a demand. "I'm looking for a new position in the industry, and thought you might know someone who could use my computer security skills." That's much better than, "I need you to give me the phone number of the hiring manager at XYZ Corp."
4. Offer something in return. "I have some people who I think would be interested in your leadership seminars. Can you give me some contact numbers and seminar information to send them?"
Remember, before you contact anyone, make sure you're clear about what you want. Making vague or confusing requests can shut down an opportunity. Even if the person can't help you at that moment, you always want to make a good impression so that your bond can develop.
What are some ways you ask for help from your network?