You never know where you might find someone who can help with your job search. That's why it's important to be open about the fact that you are job searching and need assistance.
Job Search Help When You Least Expect It
Sometimes, you'll find help when and where you least expect it. When my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I spent a lot of time on the Johns Hopkins Discussion Board looking both for medical advice and for support from those who were facing the same journey my father and our family was.
I still visit the Board and not long ago, Georgina posted about how she had not only lost her husband to cancer, her mom to heart disease, but her job, as well. I was able to share my book with her and give her some advice on job searching.
It can even happen at funerals. After a memorial service for a friend we were sitting outside in the yard when a fellow mourner told us how she had been looking for a job for a year. Several people pitched in with offers of help and knew of some companies that were hiring. Less than a month later she had a temp job that turned into a permanent position shortly thereafter.
Sharing Job Leads
When Jeannie was job searching, she made a point of sharing job leads that weren't a good fit for her with friends she thought might be interested. It only took a second to forward the lead and at least a couple of job seekers found new jobs because she took the time to share.
Jill's Mom's Club not only helped her find a babysitter - a mom who was looking for some extra income, but helped her get a part time job working for another member whose office needed an assistant. So, two job seekers got positions out of one club event.
A freelance writer whose assignments were running low mentioned in her Facebook status that she was seeking work and she ended up getting several new projects.
From the Road to the Mountain
My brother, who runs marathons, has helped more than a few other runners get a job at his company. The same holds true for friends who are ski instructors - they always put in a word with the hiring manager on the mountain for skiers and snowboarders who are looking for work.
A Common Bond
It's important to not be shy about your job search. Networking at it's best happens informally, like the situations I described, and without pressure. In this case, you are simply carrying on a conversation about your life and your job search - not asking for anything more than someone to listen.
The other part of the equation is that when you have a common bond - be it a dreadful disease, babies, sports, or simply friendship - people are more likely to help you.
In fact, they are typically glad to mention your candidacy to a prospective employer or a contact who can help. Share your story, even though it can be painful to be unemployed, speak up, send an email, send a LinkedIn or Facebook message. Don't hesitate to ask for help because you never know where assistance might come from - it could be from the most unlikely and unexpected sources.
Share Your Story
Do you have a story to share? If you have job search success story to share, we'd love to hear it.
If you're out of work, we'd also like to hear what has been like for you to be unemployed and how you've handled the struggle of being laid off. Here's how to share your unemployment story.