If like a lot of people over the course of the last few months have found yourself facing redundancy, it can be hard to figure out where to start when looking for a new job especially when it comes to reaching out to your network.
We have all been there worried that reaching out to someone you used to work with will seem disingenuous or like you’re asking for something you don’t deserve. But the thing is, people really do get it, especially during what we are living through, when job losses are happening left, right and centre. Everyone is struggling, and chances are that someone you reach out could realise they would love your guidance or require a favour in the near future too. So, let go of your guilt and focus on making the most of your existing network. To find out how to go about this in the most professional way possible. I took my recruiting hat off for a while and put on my ICA career coach hat to offer a few tips that may be of some use.
How to Reach Out in General
Try to bespoke every message.
First, pay attention to how you let them know about your recent job loss. “I prefer the personal touch over a mass email to your
network or a LinkedIn post. That way, you can add context and explain what has happened.
To do this, I encourage clients to start by reaching out to those in their networks that they’re closest with, as well as those they actually enjoyed working with. Send a brief text or email letting them know you have some news and asking if they’d be available to chat with you.
Remember it’s a two-way street.
When you are on the call, make sure to also ask how the other person is doing (and be truly interested). Networking is about
giving, not just receiving.
Get to the point.
From there, go ahead and let them know you have been made redundant from the start—this creates transparency and gives you the opportunity to explain yourself. For your existing network, it is important to let them know that you’re now looking for something new, even if they aren’t outwardly hiring for a role. Once they know to keep their eyes peeled for opportunities, they may start noticing openings within their own networks.
How to Contact Someone About a Specific Opening
Get as much detail as you can!
Now, if you’re reaching out about a specific opening, I advise gaining as much information as possible so you can understand the company, the culture, and how
the job/opportunity will work for you. Ask for advice on how to best apply. Speak to experts in your field including me with my other hat on a recruiter. A specialist recruiter in your arena will have their finger on the pulse and be able to tell you why a business is recruiting.
If they (your network) offer to refer your CV to HR, this is a good point to ask for pointers or suggestions they may have regarding
your CV. (Of course, make sure you’ve got your CV ready to go to before asking them to check it out.)
Always send an extra thank-you.
After the interview, follow up promptly, ideally that day, with an email sincerely thanking them for their time and potentially calling out a topic that you discussed during the meeting. Then, quickly follow up on anything you promised to send to them.
How to Reach Out if It’s Been a While
We have all experienced a moment when we realize the person who could help us most is someone you just…completely forgot to keep in touch with. Keep in mind, though, that they probably haven’t been thinking about you either, and this is a moment when that fact can weigh in your favour.
Start by doing some research on them—read their LinkedIn profile and updates. Then, email or call to reach out. Acknowledge that it's been a while, but that you
were excited to see ‘XYZ’ in their profile or updates, and you were hoping to get a few minutes to catch up and run something by them.
Remember, it is much better to ask for advice than to ask for a job. If you are hung up on the specifics of sending emails be concise and direct don’t worry about catching up or war and peace of what you have beendoing since last spoken.
As you start (or continue) this process, keep in mind that this is a struggle everyone can empathise with—so be transparent with the people in your life and go ahead and let go of any shame or hesitation you may feel.