Thank you for accepting my request. l am currently looking for a job and l was wondering if you could help me? l am in Dubai on a tourist visa. Please find below my CV.

Can you kindly review my CV and help me find a job?

My husband needs a new job. He is a hard worker; please help him find a job.

I am a mechanical engineer; can you get me job in your firm?

All in a week’s work.

The art of approaching someone properly

Requests like the ones above come into me periodically and I am sometimes stunned by the lack of clarity and focus of them. I joked to a colleague the other day that maybe I should just set up a career guidance business to handle so many of these requests.

It is as if someone expects you to stop working, review their profile, make suggestions, guide them through the steps needed, and in the end, make sure they get hired.

However, unlike a lot of people, I will always send a kind response back to them. Basically, it is a primer on how to approach someone, how to focus your message, and more importantly, aligning your skill set with the job at hand.

I had a discussion with a college professor about these types of requests. My discussion centered around, “what and how are you guiding your graduates around careers?” It appears to me that something is lost in translation. People are using a shotgun approach of just sending emails to anyone and everyone as opposed to making a surgical strike.

10 things to consider when asking for help

So below I have listed a few of my thoughts on your job search:

  1. No one has time to review and advise you on your CV/resume.
  2. While a lot of people want to help, they will not focus on finding anyone a job – especially if they have just connected with you on LinkedIn.
  3. Establish a personal relationship first before you send a request asking for help. Don’t do it as soon as you get connected. I have literally accepted someone’s request and within a few minutes I get one of these “find me a job” type notes.
  4. If I am in a certain type of business, think and make sure that when you do reach out that there is some type of alignment with what you do and with my business.
  5. Do not ever send a request for your wife or husband and ask for help finding them employment. My question always is, “where are those people in this process and WHY could they not do this themselves?”
  6. Never send a first-time request and suggest we do a phone chat to review job possibilities for you. We have work to do and there is not enough free time available to get this done.
  7. Offering to buy me a dinner if I find you or yours a job is a definite no-no.
  8. It shows laziness on your part if you request for a job in my firm and there clearly are no jobs of that type (i.e. mechanical engineer).
  9. Never, ever list a pending time constraint in your request. Just because you just landed and you are on a 30-day visa does not mean that I should drop whatever I am doing to help you secure employment before your visa runs out.
  10. Is your LinkedIn profile intriguing enough that it would cause a recruiter to want to know more? Think of your profile as “bait;” would it cause the recruiter to “bite?”

Be surgical in your approach

Find the industry that you are looking to get into. Find that company that you would be interested in working for. Check their vital signs on their webpage, as well as job offerings on their jobs page or on LinkedIn. If you find a role, by all means apply through the website.

The next step is to research employees within the company. How many are you connected with directly [first level] or through friends [second or third level ]. If it is beyond second level, don’t bother because it gets tricky to find out where that connecting point is. If you locate one of your connectors that is close inside the company, ask them whether they would feel comfortable in forwarding your CV or resume over to the internal contact.

Do not get upset if they refuse or respond cautiously. Remember, you are asking someone to vouch for you. They are putting themselves on the line when they pass your information on.

You must network

When was the last time you spoke to this person you want to make a pitch for you? Has it been a while, because if it has, you may need to step up your networking.

Review your connections from the past, hopefully on LinkedIn. Ask to meet for a coffee to catch up; not to ask for a favor, but to reestablish your touch point.

By all means, let them know that you are looking but, that is about it. The goal is to let as many people in your network know that you are on the hunt for a new position. The way things work today is that you may never know the touchpoint or referral that will point you the right way.

It is a job in itself finding a job, and it should be a strategic search. Remember: Use a scalpel, not a shotgun