Job Hunting: How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
You know who your real friends are when you’ve lost your job, that’s for sure. But, maybe it’s not their fault that the relationship fizzled out. Learn how not to ruin friendships and relationships through job search networking.
Context over Quantity
You’ve got a lot of friends, but that doesn’t mean these relationships equate to professional relationships. I’ve got some friends, who as friends are wonderful. Would I want to work with them? No. And would I recommend them based on our friendship? No. Before running to your friends (real and casual friendships) for job hunting help, think about the context in which they know you. Are you guys just drinking buddies? That won’t help your cause at all. Do you volunteer with this person? Sing with them at church? Do these people know your work ethic and commitment to excellence? Do you have a passion for specific interests of which your connection is fully aware? The more specific and work (ethic) related your connections the more effective your conversations will be when discussing job opportunities within their network.
Don’t Use Your Connections As Therapists
We all know how scary, stressful and financially difficult job searches can be. That doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to complain about your job search problems. Save face and reduce your work-woe monologue to a simple, “It’s tough out there, but I’m making steady progress.” You will find a job eventually, so act as if you’re on your way there, not wandering alone in the wilderness. Acting desperate and insecure will simply turn off your friends. I know you’re saying, “Well friends are supposed to accept me as I am!” No, they don’t have to and you’ve got to remember that they’ve got their own problems to deal with. If someone really wants to hear about your problems, they’ll ask more questions, believe me.
Bad Mouthing Will Only Make Things Worse
Bad mouthing your former employer is a real turn off. It’s gossiping, plain and simple. Truth is only as valuable unless it can be used constructively. So, if you’ve been taken advantage of by your former employer or if you hated your work in general, it’s better to acknowledge the problem and point out how you’ve learned from it. “I realized that I can’t allow people to dump all their work on me. I learned how to effectively create professional boundaries.” Not only are you creating lemonade from lemons, but you’re showing others how you can thinking critically about your own behaviors.
Appear Stronger Even If You Feel As Brittle As Glass
Job loss or career transition can make you feel emotionally sensitive. Your nerves are weak and you can’t handle much criticism. Acknowledge to yourself that you feel weak, but put on a strong front. Relationships can wane because friends act too needy or try to guilt trip. Don’t force the issue of your unemployment and don’t constantly ask for help. Know what you want and ask only when necessary. Be specific as possible, not just “If you hear of something, let me know.” If you appear to know what you want and confident in your abilities, your connections will be more sure of how they can help you.
Be Prepared And Specific
Know who you want to work for, why, and be sure of how your connections can help you. Friends only want to stick their neck out for you when you are prepared and specific about what you want and what you can offer. Make sure you have done your research and can perform when they’ve made an opportunity happen for you. Otherwise, you can risk the relationship, their trust, and their confidence in your abilities.
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