As job seekers, we want to be seen as competent, self-confident, and self-reliant. In our minds, asking for help is a sign of weakness or vulnerability. We don’t want to come across as needy and we don’t want anyone to find out that we can’t figure everything out ourselves. Is help for job seekers too much to ask?

We tell ourselves that “they” should know what we need. “They” being our family, close friends, and colleagues. Psychologists refer to this as the illusion of transparency.  We believe that those nearest to us will automatically know what we need and how they can help us.  But it doesn’t work that way.

If we are going to get the help we need, we must learn how to ask.

How do you ask for help?

How often do you ask for help in the best of times?

You are probably saying to yourself, as infrequently as possible.

Why don’t we ask for help? We are embarrassed to ask. We are afraid and we let our fears hold us back. Or we are afraid of showing our vulnerability, overstepping our bounds, or imposing on others. We are afraid of being turned down and don’t want to be rejected.

How much harder is it to ask for help when you are feeling anxious?   When you need help with your job-seeking process? Our brains are busy spiraling through our negative thoughts, not focusing on helping us create solutions.   This added stress makes the ask exponentially harder.

When you are willing to ask for and accept help, you reap the rewards of connecting with others on a deeper level. Each of us has our own set of skills, knowledge, and abilities, and using them to help one another makes all of us stronger.

Three Simple Steps to Get Help

Three simple steps to get the help you need:

First, admit to yourself that you need help. 

Consider where are you stuck and need help in your job search, and what’s keeping you from moving forward. Then write out the details of what you need:

  • What you need help with and the specifics of what you’re looking for
  • When you need help or when you need the task completed
  • How you believe that they can assist you (and the roadblocks you are facing)
  • Why this request is important and how it supports your goals.

Second, make a list of friends, family, and others who have offered to help.  Identify who has the talents and resources you are seeking. Consider your dormant contacts as well as your currently active contacts.  Help for job seekers can come from unexpected places.  

Third, make the ask. Review your contact list and decide who has the knowledge that will help your job search.  Then compose your request.

How do you ask for help?

Think about your contact’s preferred method of communication and then simply pick up the phone and make a call or send a text or an email with your request.

JOB SEARCH MASTERY TIP:  Studies have shown that face-to-face asks are 34 times more likely to get a positive response than email requests.

– Marsha Friedman

Regardless of the method of communication you choose, be sure to include the what, the when, the how, and the why of your ask.

Be gracious and grateful in your ask and be flexible and open to compromises. The person you are asking may suggest an alternative in order to turn his or her “no” or “maybe” into a “yes.” If you are turned down, go back to your list and make another ask. Remember, every no gets you closer to a yes.

If you are turned down, go back to your list.  Help for job seekers is out there!  Don’t believe the lie that needing to ask for job search help is a sign of weakness.  Make the next ask. That’s your real strength:  persevering despite the obstacles of what you don’t know.  Remember, every no gets you closer to a yes.

One Last Step 

Finally, show your gratitude with a smile and a sincere “thank you” when you find someone who is willing to help. Always follow-up with a thank you note with words that come from the heart. Gratitude is never out of style.

Once you have completed your task and/or achieved your goal, reach back out to those who helped you to share your success. They will likely take pride in your success and closing the loop with them will deepen your relationship.  Together we can accomplish more than we can alone. 

MINDSET MASTERY TOOL: Being willing to ask for and accept help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

  – Marsha Friedman

Is it time for you to show your strength and ask for the help you deserve to get the job you want?



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