A reader writes:
I recently just got laid off from work and I’m back on the market looking for jobs. I’ve seen other colleagues/friends/peers send out mass emails to notify their network and request assistance in looking for jobs. Is this a good idea or bad idea?
You definitely want to let people know that you’re looking, and what you’re looking for. You never know who in your network might know about an opening that you’d be perfect for, and your chances of being considered go up when you have someone connected to the job saying, “Hey, you should really consider Jane, because ___.”
As for the mechanics of how to do this … You can send out a mass email, sure. And realistically, if that’s the only way you’re going to get it done, then do that, because it’s way better than not doing it at all. But it’s even more effective if you send individual emails to people instead of one group email. That’s because people are a lot more inclined to help when they feel like you’re reaching out to them directly. Think about how you feel in similar shoes: If you get a mass email from a friend asking a bunch of people to, say, donate to a charity she’s supporting, you may or may not spend time thinking about it. But if that friend reaches out to you personally, you’re going to feel more responsible for really thinking over the request and maybe acting on it. When people see that they’re one of many being asked, there’s a diffusion of responsibility, a feeling that others will be taking care of this so the urgency is lowered. So if you can, do individual emails.
As for what to say in these emails, make sure that you explain the sorts of things you’re looking for, and then directly ask for what you’d like them to do. And don’t just say “let me know if you hear of anything” because lots of people never pay attention to job openings around them. Instead, be more specific: Tell them to let you know if they hear of anything, yes, but also ask them to think about whether they know anyone it would be helpful for you to talk with, and tell them that you’d be interested in connecting with people even if there’s not a suitable opening right now.
Oh, and attach your resume to make it easy for them to forward around.
And remember that there’s no shame in doing this; it’s actually very common, and most people are glad to help if they can.
What other advice do people have?