There’s a saying in fundraising I love. “Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money.” And as I started to think about it, the same goes for job searching – especially in this economy. Right now, it seems everyone, their brother, their mother and their dog is looking for a job. Whether they’ve been laid off, fired, pay cut or are just altogether unhappy, looking for a job in this economy is frequent and it’s hard.
So take a minute to think about it this way. There are lots of people knocking on every door they have looking for jobs – calling uncles, friends, family members, old bosses, etc. and saying, “Hey, so-and-so, do you know of any openings?” And of course, then, you put the pressure on that person to either A) help you find something or B) face the facts that they don’t want to help you.
My suggestion is this – ask for advice. Call all of those people, just like you’d do if you were asking for referrals or jobs. Especially call the people you respect in your current sector or field. And say to them, “I’d love to get together with you to pick your brain about (insert field or their job duty here).” Asking for advice. Then, when you meet with them, ask them about themselves, ask them about their position. Ask them what they think of you, what do they see from you professionally, personally that you could strengthen or work on.
If this “advice session” goes well, you’ll walk away not with a job but with an advocate. Let them give you advice, and take it to heart. Then, when a job comes open, maybe they’ll think of you for it.
The main piece here is “Ask for a job, you’ll get advice. Ask for advice, and you might just find the job.”