On sending “I’m looking for a job” or “hire me” outreach to your network.
I’m reading your email and I get it (not just the email in my inbox, but your actual unemployed situation). You’re anxious, fearful and need to (desperately, as in really f’g need to, if I’m reading your email correctly) land a new gig. Like I said, I get it (been there! I was stuck on the job-transition treadmill for 18+ months back in 2002 and have the emotional scars to prove it), so I’m not a complete unsympathetic jerk. But I can’t help you. Not that I’m incapable of being helpful (or am being a jerk), rather your outreach, meticulously detailing ALL THE POSSIBLE WAYS you can apply your skills and/or the type of roles you’re considering (at this time) has caused the following:
Let’s address these, shall we?
Supplying your network with a laundry list assortment of the many possible ways to work with you (i.e. lawyer or photographer / real estate marketing or sustainable fashion stylist or vegan project management or nanny / book proposal editing or accounting or travel consultant or closet organizing floral arrangement) is confusing. Hey! We (the royal we of your network) we love your hustle and initiative, plus the fact that you clearly have a wide range of interests HOWEVER sending an email saying you’ll take a role doing ANY of these things causes confusion because we, your network, don’t know WHICH ONE OF ALL THESE SKILLS AND TALENTS you really want to be hired for.
It’s also overwhelming for your network’s wee brains to be provided with so many options. Brains are primarily energy conversation machines. It’s why our brains pattern match and say no.
But our little noggins also like to generate feelings of guilt…which leads to disengagement because as soon as the mind starts the guilt spiral the brain kicks in with a NO YOU DON’T, DON’T START FEELING GUILTY BECAUSE WTF ACTING ON THAT GUILT IS GOING TO REQURE EFFORT AND I DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY FOR ALL THAT GUILT WRACKING SH#T. To short-circuit the guilt, we disengage by deleting your “I need help landing on my feet” email (or perhaps mildly engage in a passive aggressive way with a “oh, I’ll keep you in mind” or “I’ll let you know if I think or hear of anything”).
None of which is helpful to you, the person needing your network to help you land on your feet.
The remedy? Simple. It’s a riff on the KISS Principle, but we’ll drop the second S leaving it as KIS because as noted above, I’m not always a jerk.
KIS = Keep It SPECIFIC
Be specific about the role you’re seeking. Ok, there may not be one thing BUT for the sake of your network, FOCUS! This (being focused) will likely involve YOU having to send customized, personalized communications to specific people in your network. DO THIS (as it is job search time better spent than the hours spent wondering why you’ve not received any answers to your mass email containing more possible career combinations than Baskin Robbin ice-cream flavors). Send your network out with a KIS to enthusiastically hunt and gather for the opportunity you really want – and they will, because there is no confusion (reminder! confusion = wasted energy = unhappy brain) on what they should be looking for on your behalf. It’s effort they’re more likely to exert – which ultimately benefits you, new job seeker.