7 Ways Not to Use Your Connections to Get a Job

Many articles that tell you how to use your connections to find a job, but few tell you what not to do

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GL Hoffman

Most of us know by now that using connections is the best way to find a job. Open jobs are simply so hard to find that our best hope often rests in our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even relatives. They hear about the openings before we do.

Many articles tell you how to use your connections to find a job, but few tell you what not to do. Here are seven ways you shouldn't use your connections to get hired:

1. Don’t assume personal friendship transfers to a professional relationship. Maybe it does, but just because you play softball with someone does not mean he can find you a job at his company or properly present you and your skills to the right person. Sometimes it is better for us to present our own skills to the HR manager than have someone who really doesn't know us in this way present them.

2. Don’t make your job-hunting problems the first time you have ever talked about your career or work. You should be sharing your professional life with your contacts well before.

3. Do not trash your last employer or industry. This might be tempting to do, particularly to someone you know, but it is never a good idea. They may shake their head in agreement during the conversation, but they will leave with a negative impression of you.

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4. Realize that appearing too insecure, needy, or desperate could change your connection and friendship. Right now, you are seen as equals, this might diminish you somehow. It is well worth that risk when the conversation is handled appropriately.

5. Don't assume preparation is less important. Just because he or she is a “connection” does not mean you can short circuit the process. Come prepared with a list of companies that interest you. Hopefully, your connection can use this as a starting point. In other words, do not expect your connection to do all the work for you.

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6. Don’t guilt him into helping you. Chances are, if your connection is a friend, he will already want to do whatever he can to help you. Don’t make him feel guilty when he takes longer than you think he should to make an introduction or two.

7. Don’t force the issue. Trust your connection to know the right way to help you. If he does not think it makes sense for him to insert himself into the HR system at his company on your behalf, let it go.

G. L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, which operates LinkUp, one of the fastest-growing job-search engines.. His blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com.

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