Job Search – Networking – Asking Friends For Help

Job Search – Networking – Asking Friends For Help

There are lots of people who still think there is something a bit naff about networking. “It isn’t something that people “like us” engage in!”

Well, of course you do! You do it all the time. You may, or may not do it well. And you may do it for all kinds of different motives – for example, to raise money for a local charity. But you do it just the same. Networking is just getting to know people and then offering them something (be it dinner or a sales product) and sometimes asking them for something.

Good networking is usually about reciprocity. So, what about networking when you are looking for a job? What is reciprocal about that?

Well, networking isn’t a short-term thing. The relationships you develop need to be built for the long-term – this is not about short-term exploitation; it is about investing something of yourself in a relationship that can stand the tests of time. At some point in any relationship, sometimes quite early on, there will usually be something one party asks of the other.

What makes a good networker?

Becoming a good listener and knowing how to encourage other people to talk are important skills, if you want to be a good networker. And both require you to take, and show, a real interest in the other person. Listen hard and listen quietly – hear the words and the music in terms of their tone and the body language that accompanies their words. Most of us enjoy being listened to fully – it reinforces our sense of ourselves.

Learn to make the conversation flow – from what you have heard, link to a new question – learn about the how and the why as well as the what. Find out more about them. Then let them find out about you – be open and ready to show them a real person.

In networking, establish the relationship before you ask for anything. And in job search be clear about what you are asking. Of course, you can let them know that you are looking but do more than that. Find out from your contact about their organization and the sector they work in. What are the latest developments? And be honest about your request for help. Tell them a little about you and what you could bring with you – what is the value you might add if they do pass your name on.

Make sure they have your clear contact details and follow-up with a note of thanks. If you can give something back – perhaps you have a contact that might be useful for them – or you might find an article in a magazine or know of book they might like. Because you are asking for something doesn’t mean you have nothing to give back.  Just remember what I said above – networking is all about reciprocity.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

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