Children, almost instinctively, know how to ask for help. Most young children know when they are in over their heads and freely ask or demand "a little help please, Mom!".
Sure, there are times, when they want to test the waters and do crazy things on their own, like playing with baby powder, climbing trees, riding bikes with long pants that get caught in the chain, but, they know when to ask for help. As they get older and try crazy things, we've taught them to ask for help. "Call me if you need a ride". (I don't think I ever made that call, it would have been too embarrassing.)
Which leads to job search. Are you not using your instincts to ask for help because it would be too embarrassing? Really, what is the worst, most embarrassing part of asking someone for help? They may think you are stupid, or better yet, they may think you are quite wise.
Think about the last time you were lost while driving. How much time did you waste trying to figure it out on your own? How much time could you have saved if you had stopped and asked for directions (help)?
Yesterday, a desperate job seeker called me and asked to meet. He had gotten himself stuck in a tree of sorts. He didn't say why or how I could help. He did say he wanted to network. To his credit, he did use referral names to warm-up the call. If he had only been honest with himself and me and said, "My job search isn't going well and I need someone to evaluate what I can do differently", I could have offered more helpful advice.
Asking to "network" isn't asking for help, really. The help most job seekers need is a good kick in the pants. Oh, did I just say that, oops. Seriously, if a job seeker was spending over 35 hours a week in search, meeting with 5 or more people a week, tweeking over 10 resumes a week, proactively pursuing targeted employers, they would be asking for motivational or organizational help. In other words, most job seekers aren't putting forth a consistent effort to look for work. It comes in spurts. Motivation spawns more activity, de-motivation causes lack of activity.
When you are down, demotivated, depressed, disgruntled- ask for help. Help from friends, family, professionals. Be honest about the help you need and people will respond.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.