The other day I received an email asking me to do someone a favor. The request made me feel uncomfortable and I pondered for a day on how to respond. As an active networking job seeker, I am fairly certain you run into these kind of scenarios as well.
"Could you introduce me to…"
"Would you give my resume to…"
"Can you call your contact and …."
If my dear friend, past colleague, family member or someone else close to me were asking for this type of favor, I wouldn't think twice. Would you? (well, in 99% of the cases). I probably wouldn't have a problem telling them why I couldn't do it either.
The problem lies when the person making this request in a virtual unknown. Maybe you've met them once before, maybe even a couple of times. However, you feel uncomfortable being able to carry out their request.
Being the straight forward, no-nonsense kinda gal I am, I emailed him back and explained to him as nicely as possible that his request was a tad unreasonable.
1) I didn't know him well enough
2) He didn't provide specifics about why he was qualified or interested in the job
3) There was no reason provided as to what was in it for me (WIIFM) to do this
4) He assumed that I knew these contacts well enough to put in a good word
In my email, I also explained what he could do to try and make this an easier request. I listed all four of these things and how to fix them and invited him to call me for clarification.
He did. We spoke. I think he got it.
Here are the two lessons from this post:
1) Learn how to appropriately ask the right people for referral and favors.
2) Teach others the errors of their ways so that next time they will better succeed
I truly believe that each one of us has a duty to help educate and develop one another.
Do you have a similar story…how did you handle it?
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.