When searching for a new job, it’s smart to reach out to anyone in your network who might be able to help: former managers, career coaches, old colleagues.
However, you make yourself look stupid — and potentially ruin all chances of getting your network to help — if you ask, “Do you know of any job openings?”
Worse even, is if you follow it up with, “I’m willing to do anything!”
It may be true that you’d be willing to take any position as long as it ensures you won’t go hungry, but you don’t want your network to know that — and this sort of statement won’t give your friends and colleagues enough information to be able to help you, warns Jason Alba, founder and CEO of JibberJobber.com, an online job search tool, in a recent LinkedIn post.
Your old boss and career coach friend likely want to help you, but throwing a general question at them, with no background as to what you’re qualified for or want to do, creates extra work on their end.
Furthermore, it doesn’t inspire confidence in your abilities. Here are three reasons why:
You sound desperate. If you’re just looking to pay the bills, it might seem like you’re going to bail once you get caught up, says Alba. Additionally, it makes you look unorganized and unaware of your surroundings, which could be an indicator of how you’d perform the job.
You’re too vague. You probably think that your willingness to do anything makes you seem flexible — but it actually makes it difficult for a company to place you (and tough for your network to help or offer guidance). “People want specific problems solved, and being able to do ‘anything’ is a red flag that indicates perhaps you can’t do anything well,” Alba says.
You look like a rookie. Unless you’re truly just starting out, you probably aren’t going to be happy doing grunt work in an entry-level position. It’s better to know exactly what you’re looking for, even if you don’t think there are any positions open, Alba advises. Saying exactly what you want to do helps people find those kind of jobs for you.
Bottom line: don’t reach out to your network expecting them to do the hard work for you. Figure out what you want and give them the tools to help you. “Know your target companies. Know the industries you want to work in. Know what your ideal job titles or descriptions would be,” Alba says.
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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