A reader writes:
I’m on the hunt for a job whilst on a short-term contract. I’ve made a number of my colleagues and current and former managers aware of my situation and some have kindly circulated my resume, while others have given me the names of other managers or helpful colleagues to contact – to the point where I’m overwhelmed by all of the names I’ve received. Sure, it’s a good dilemma, as far as dilemmas go, but I’d appreciate a bit of advice on how to handle this, as I only have one chance to get this right.
I’m less interested in requesting informational interviews (I’m looking to transition from one area of the organization to another, so I’m already somewhat familiar with the business) than taking a more direct approach to looking for a job. I’m thinking of suggesting a quick chat so that I have the chance to make an in-person impression, but I’m not sure how direct I should be in asking for a job or giving them my resume. How would you suggest tackling this?
If what you’re looking for is a job — not just networking or information about the field — then you should be straightforward about that: Send them your resume and a note explaining that Jane Smith suggested you get in touch, explain what kind of work you do and why you think it might be a good fit, and say that you’d love to talk if they think there might be a mutual fit. Even better, have your contact email on your behalf and introduce you, if they’re willing.
But I wouldn’t just suggest to them that you meet. While some people are willing to do that, many will be annoyed by the request, because they’re busy and will just want to take a look at your resume in order to decide if meeting makes sense or not. I’d respect their time and send them your materials, and let them decide if meeting makes sense.
Update: I just re-read your letter and realized that you might be talking only about hiring managers within the organization that you’re currently working. If that’s the case, it’s a bit different. In that case, because you’re a current coworker (even if only on a contract), suggesting an in-person conversation can make a little more sense. I’d still include your resume in that initial contact, though, because this whole exercise is going to be far more useful if they have that from the get-go. (And if I’m wrong and these aren’t all people in your current organization, then ignore this paragraph.)