External Blog – How to Ask for Help in Your Job Search (Email Templates Included!)

External Blog – How to Ask for Help in Your Job Search (Email Templates Included!) was originally published on The Muse, a great place to research companies and careers. Click here to search for great jobs and companies near you.

The Muse has some fantastic advice and resources for reaching out to your friends, family, and professional contacts for help during the job search. Check it out below!

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: When you’re job searching, you should tap into your network for advice and assistance. But the COVID-19 pandemic—and the record unemployment that’s come with it—has turned so many aspects of the job search upside down. Whether you’re newly out of work, are new to the job market, or have been job searching since before the outbreak began, you might be unsure if it’s still OK to ask for help when so many people are going through such a difficult time.

The answer is yes, but with some caveats. During any job search, you want to contact the people you know to see if they can assist you, and right now is no exception. However, you’ll need to change the way you reach out.

That said, you might even find that people are more eager than ever to lend a helping hand, whether that means getting on the phone with you, introducing you to someone else in their network, or forwarding your resume to someone in their company who’s hiring for your dream job.

It’s never easy to figure out exactly what to say when you’re asking for help in your job search, and it’s especially difficult when you’re trying to be sensitive during a pandemic. So to get you started, we’ve put together several templates for emails and other kinds of networking messages.

 

3 Rules for Reaching Out During the Pandemic

Before you go off and send out dozens of messages, there a few important guidelines to keep in mind as you tap into your network during COVID-19:

 

1. Ask for Something Specific

People are always more likely to help when they know exactly what they can do, and that’s even more true now, when they might be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain themselves. While they might want to help, they won’t necessarily have the bandwidth to figure out how. But if you ask, “Can you tell me more about working in [X industry]?” or, “Could you possibly introduce me to your coworker who’s hiring for [Y role]?,” you’ve given them something concrete they can easily say yes or no to. And once they have an idea of the kind of help you’re looking for, they might be able to offer more suggestions.

This also means figuring out what you want from your next job and what you bring to the table before contacting your network. “Knowing who you are and the problems you can solve or the value you can bring to a company” is key, says Muse career coach Tina Wascovich, and can make it easier for your contacts to advocate for you if needed.

 

2. Be Genuine and Empathetic

Remember, everyone is struggling to some degree right now. We’re in a truly unprecedented time, and unless you’ve kept in close contact with someone, you don’t know if they’ve been laid off, furloughed, or had their pay cut. They may be dealing with their own illness or the illness or loss of a loved one, or contending with anxiety and other mental health challenges.

So “be personal, sincere, authentic, [and] inquire about how they’re doing,” Wascovich says. Start every email with earnest, heartfelt questions about them and their loved ones and an acknowledgement of the time we’re all going through, and try to make your messages overall as personalized and conversational as possible, taking into account how much you know them.

 

3. Be Patient

This is not the time to pressure or hound people over slower responses. If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, it’s OK to gently and politely check in again, but if you don’t get a response at that point, move on, and don’t take it personally. (Unless you know them well, in which case do check in again, but as a friend making sure they’re safe, not a job seeker asking for a favor.) Prepare yourself for the fact that you may need to reach out to more people than usual to find someone who can help.

 

Job Search Email Templates You Can Use During COVID-19

The following email templates are guides to get you started with some of the most common job search emails you might need during this pandemic. Make sure to fill in any missing information, customize them however you see fit, and include any personal messages you’d want to send your contact during this difficult time.

 

Template 1: Asking a Specific Person for Job Leads

This is an email you’d send someone in your network if you’re looking for leads on companies hiring people with your qualifications. Use this template for anyone you know in the same industry as you or any former colleagues (as long as you’re not planning to send them one of the other messages below). Identifying realistic leads is particularly useful now, when it’s hard to know which companies are still actively hiring and which just have leftover posts up. And it’s always good to have a connection to any job you apply for—especially when there may be more applicants for every opening.

Hi [Name],

I hope [you’re doing well/you and your loved ones are staying healthy/another genuine hope you have for this person]. How have [you/your family/you and your loved ones] been? I’ve been [how you’ve been doing or what you’ve been doing separate from your job search].

I’ve been keeping up with you on LinkedIn. How are things going with [job or company]?

[As you may have heard, X had to make cutbacks due to the coronavirus and unfortunately, I was laid off/I’m currently looking for work/I recently graduated with a Y degree in Z and am entering the job market]. I’m getting in touch to let you know that I’m searching for a new opportunity in [industry]. With my background in [field or expertise] and skills in [area], I’m looking for a position that involves [description of ideal job] for an employer who [description of ideal company]. At [your former employer], I was responsible for [key achievement or in-demand responsibility] and I would love to [bring this skill set to a new role/help another company do the same].

I realize this is a rough time for a lot of companies, and many have stopped or slowed down hiring. But since [I know you’re so well connected/reason for reaching out to this person for leads], I’d love it if you could let me know if you hear of any opportunities you think would be a good fit. I’ve attached my resume to this email, just in case that helps.

Of course, I’m always willing to return the favor if you ever need.

Thanks so much, [Name]! [Personalized well wishes to your contact during the COVID outbreak.*]

Best,

[Your Name]

 

*Your personalized well wishes to your contacts will vary widely and be specific to you and the person you’re emailing, but some examples might look like:

  • I hope you, Marcus, and the kids are adjusting to working (and schooling) from home and still occasionally getting outside for hikes with the dogs!
  • I’m sorry we won’t be seeing each other at the Memorial Day barbecue this year. I hope we can meet up at some point later this summer.
  • I hope you got a chance to settle in at your new job before all this started (and that things will be back to normal soon). I’m thinking of you during this difficult time.

 

Template 2: Asking About a Specific Job or Company

Use this email template to get in touch with a connection who works at—or used to work at—a company where you’d also like to work, whether it’s in response to a specific job listing or not.

Hi [Name],

I hope [you’re doing well during this difficult time/you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe/another personalized concern]. How have [you/your family/things] been? I’ve been [how you’ve been doing or what you’ve been doing separate from your job search].

I’m reaching out today because I saw that [company is hiring/company is hiring a X] and I know that you [work there/worked there in the past]. I [am currently out of work/am looking for new opportunities/was unfortunately recently laid off due to COVID-19] and I think I’d be a great fit for [position/company]. I [was/am] a [most recent or current position and amount of time held] and am especially skilled in [key strength for specific job or most valuable strength if there’s no specific job]. In fact, at [last company], I [key achievement or responsibility that emphasizes this strength]. In my next role I’m looking for [description of job that aligns with the posting or what you’re looking for if there’s no specific job].

I was wondering if you would be willing to talk to me about [the open position/working at X] or know somebody else I should reach out to. For reference, the job posting is here: [link to job posting].

Additionally, if you hear of any other openings that might be a good fit, I’d love it if you could send them over. I’m attaching my resume. Feel free to pass it along to anyone inside or outside of [company].

Thank you in advance for any help you’re able to give and let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor. [Personalized well wishes to your contact during the COVID outbreak.]

Best,

[Your Name]

 

Template 3: Asking for an Informational Interview (From Someone You Already Know)

An informational interview can be a powerful way to learn about a career path or company, nurture your connections, and get specific advice. You might not be able to ask someone out to coffee right now, but you can still reach out and ask for a little of their time.

Hello [Name],

I hope [you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe/another personalized concern]. How have [you/your family/you and your loved ones] been? I’ve been [how you’ve been doing or what you’ve been doing separate from your job search].

I’m reaching out today because I [was recently laid off during some coronavirus-related cutbacks at X/am currently out of work/am currently looking for my next opportunity/recently graduated] and I hope you might be able to help. I’m looking for a position [in the industry they work in/as a job they have or had] and I [know you have a lot of experience in this area/admire the work you’ve done with X/reason for asking this person for an informational interview]. I’d love to [hear about your experiences working in X role/get your perspective on working in Y role/learn about what it’s like to work at your company/get some advice about how to break into the industry]. I was wondering if you’d be able to talk to me briefly over the phone or video chat. I know you must be busy, so I’d appreciate even 15 or 20 minutes of your time.

Thank you in advance for any help you’re able to give and let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor. [Personalized well wishes to your contact during the COVID outbreak.]

Best,

[Your Name]

 

Template 4: Asking for an Informational Interview (From Someone You Don’t Already Know)

Sometimes, you don’t know the person who you want to ask for an informational interview (or know anyone who knows them—see Template 5 below). That’s when you need to reach outside your existing network.

Before you email someone new, you should already have some basis for connecting with them whenever possible. While social distancing protocols persist, Wascovich suggests finding potential new contacts by attending online networking events or webinars (many of which are now free) or being active in professional social media groups for your industry. Then you can follow up with a message along these lines:

Hello [Name],

I [noticed your posts in X professional group/attended your webinar on Y/chatted with you briefly during Z school’s virtual alumni event]. I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe during this difficult time.

I am a [experience level] [job] professional with an expertise in [your strongest/most marketable skill] looking for [type of position] jobs at a [industry] company, and I know you have a lot of experience in this area. I’d love to connect and [hear about your experiences working in X role/get your perspective on working in Y role/learn about what it’s like to work at your company/get some advice about how to break into the industry]. I was wondering if you’d be able to talk to me briefly over the phone or video chat. I know you must be busy, so I’d appreciate even 15 or 20 minutes of your time.

Thanks in advance. I hope you’re doing well.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

 

Template 5: Asking Someone to Make an Introduction

Sometimes you find someone you’d like to connect with about a job, company, or industry, and you know somebody who already knows them. This email template shows how you can ask them to put you in touch.

Hey [Name],

I hope [you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe/another personalized concern]. How have [you/your family/you and your loved ones] been? I’ve been [how you’ve been doing or what you’ve been doing separate from your job search].

I’m reaching out today with a request. [Unfortunately, I’m currently out of work/I was recently laid off due to COVID-19/I’m in search of new opportunities] and I’m looking for new jobs [in X industry/as a Y position].

I noticed that you know [Name], and I was hoping that you’d be willing to connect me with [him/her]. As I’m sure you know [Name] [has a ton of great experience and insights into my area of interest/works for X company], and I’d love to get connected so that I could ask [him/her] a few questions about [the industry/their company] and [his/her] experience in general.

Would you be willing to send a brief email introducing the two of us? I’d appreciate that so much. I’m attaching my resume. Feel free to pass it along.

Thank you in advance for any help you’re able to give and let me know if there’s anything I can do to return the favor. [Personalized well wishes to your contact during the COVID outbreak.]

Best,

[Your Name]

 

Bonus! Template 6: Posting a General Ask for Job Leads on Social Media

Sometimes when you’re job searching, a mass email to your contacts asking for job leads makes sense. However, during the coronavirus outbreak, not taking the time to personalize your emails might make you come off as tone-deaf at best or insensitive at worst.

However, one place where you can be more general is on social media, Wascovich says. LinkedIn is the platform you might think of first for anything job related, but if you’re active (or engage in a specific networking group) on Facebook or have a lot of Twitter followers in the same industry as you, asking there might make sense as well. If you’ve recently been laid off, this is an easy way to get the word out to as many people as possible. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed about broadcasting that you were part of a layoff—many people are in similar situations and your contacts will be eager to help you out if they can.

When making a broad call for job leads it’s even more important for candidates “to know who they are, what they’re good at, and what role they want at a company,” Wascovich says. When someone sees a generic post requesting leads, they’re unlikely to go off and do their own research to find them. But if what you say makes them think of a role they already know about or they hear about one later, you’re more likely to get a response.

Your post might look something like this:

Hello all,

As you may know, [I was recently laid off from my last position as X at Y during a round of coronavirus-related cutbacks/I recently graduated from A with a degree in B] and am entering the job market. I am a [experience level] [job] professional with an expertise in [your strongest/most marketable skill] looking for [type of position] jobs at a [industry] company in [geographic area]. At my last job, I [key achievement or responsibility], resulting in [how you made things better for your last company]. I know that a lot of companies aren’t hiring right now, but if you know of any job openings that I might be a good fit for, please send them my way.

Thank you!

 

Asking for help during your job search might seem daunting—especially in this moment when so many things about the job market, the economy, and the world itself feel so uncertain. But if you take this as an opportunity to check in with the people in your network in a thoughtful and sensitive way, you’ll likely find that people will still help you if they can. And if they can’t, this is a great time to catch up with friends and colleagues, see how they’re doing, and build stronger relationships.

 

By Regina Borsellino - The Muse
The Muse
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