7 Tips on How to Ask for Career Help (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

When I decided to start my first business in July 2009, I was very overwhelmed initially.  Despite 6 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience, and a number of awards based on my sales performance, I had never run a company before, and I quickly learned how much I did not know about being a company’s President. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned of an organization called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).  In brief, SCORE matches up new or aspiring business owners with successful, retired executives from all sorts of industries.  The best part?  It’s FREE!

You may be wondering why anyone would want to donate their time to give free business advice, especially when one could label himself as a “business coach” and offer similar services at hefty fees.  The answer is because these retired executives simply want to give back and help younger business executives, just like someone surely helped them during their careers.

There is a strong takeaway here for college students and young professionals looking to find jobs and/or advance their careers: successful adults LOVE helping younger people.  It’s why I started Idealize Enterprises, it’s why SCORE has thousands of retired executives helping small business owners, and it’s why you should network with older adults who have achieved career success in a field that interests you.  Ultimately, one can only derive so much satisfaction from his own career success.  Deeper satisfaction comes from knowing you helped other people as well, and this is why mentoring works for everyone involved.

However, this does not mean that everyone is going to throw a party when you contact them and ask for help.  So, here are 7 tips that will increase your chances of getting a positive response when you approach someone for job/career advice:

  1. Be professional.  Approach them the right way, whether in-person or online.
  2. Be passionate.  Show them you are excited about speaking with them.
  3. Be personal. State why you want to speak specifically with them. 
  4. Be similar.  Illustrate how you are similar to how they are or used to be (i.e. you went to the same college).
  5. Be considerate. Acknowledge that you are aware of how busy they are and only ask for 10-15 minutes of their time.
  6. Be reliable.  If they agree to a call, contact them at that exact time.  Afterwards, follow-up appropriately by mailing a thank you letter immediately and by providing updates on anything they recommended you do. 
  7. Be thoughtful.  Try to find some way that you can help them in the future as well, and don’t just contact them when you want something or have additional questions.

Again, this will not guarantee that you everyone you contact will want to help you, but it will increase your odds.  In case you are nervous about doing this, ask yourself what you have to lose. Well, I suppose you could lose your current unemployment and your massive student debt….

In summary, successful adults want to help younger people who remind them of themselves, so reach out to them for help, and do it the right way.  Remember what the last 3 letters in “advantage” are:  your age (i.e. your lack of it) can be an advantage!

Thanks for reading!

-Pete Leibman

President of Idealize Enterprises, LLC

President of BetterFitness BetterHealth, LLC


Explore posts in the same categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW, Job Search Made Easy

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