This is a cool YouTube TED talk. On the surface it has little to nothing to do with job hunting. It’s about a musician who wanted to figure out a better way to have fans pay for her music, so she could keep making it. Take a look – it is worth your time.
Back now? Great. So what in the world does that, admittedly entertaining and even poignant video, have to do with you getting the job you want?
It’s about asking.
Asking for help with editing your cover letter. Asking a former colleague for a recommendation. Asking a stranger in the field you want to enter for an information interview. Asking a friend if they know of any openings in that great new place where they work.
Because the fact is, no matter how it might not seem like it sometimes, you’re not in this alone.
I will be writing a lot more about your personal network in the near future. But for now, the important point is that you can get a lot just by asking for it, and you won’t get anything if you don’t try.
Much easier said than done, I know. All kinds of fears can crop up when you start thinking about asking other people for help. Do you seem weak by asking? Does it seem like you don’t know what you’re doing? How do you know the right thing to ask?
As with most things in life, the antidote for these fears is just starting. One way to start would be to write out a list of people you know who have a connection to the field you want to move up in, or want to break into. Depending on how well you know them, reach out by email, or social media, or phone. And say something like, I would enjoy talking with you about where I am right now and pick your brain.
People love to be considered experts, and most people love to give advice. So this isn’t a big ask. It’s just a conversation between acquaintances or friends.
With that sort of thing under your belt, you might move into something more advanced. Asking your writer friend to help you edit your resume or cover letter. Asking a former co-worker for an introduction to someone you want to work with. See – that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Too often, those fears I was talking about stop people before they even get started. But the truth is that no one gets ahead on their own. John McCain might have been a “maverick,” but like any successful person, he cultivated relationships, had mentors and friends who helped him get to the next level. And he did that too, for others. You’ve probably already done this yourself more times than you realize.
So give it a try. We’re all in this together. Ask!