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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


Updated: May 13, 2023

If you hate networking, especially reaching out to people you barely know, or don’t know at all, you are NOT alone!

Most of us feel very uncomfortable making a cold outreach.

Even though we know that networking gives us access to the “hidden” job market.

Even though we know that cultivating relationships so that we have advocates within that hidden market is the best way to get a job.

We STILL feel so unnerved that we avoid taking even the first step of reaching out.

We hate the idea of imposing, being pushy, salesy, or desperate.

If we make ourselves do it, we spend a crazy amount of time trying to perfect the outreach so that it doesn't sound icky.

And then when most outreaches don’t result in a response we get frustrated and embarrassed and abandon the whole process.

The most popular advice to work around this conundrum is to “lead with something valuable”.

Don’t ask for anything, just give value to the person you are reaching out to. Instead of pitching yourself, you send them an article, a free report, or offer to connect them to someone who they might want to talk to, all without asking for something in return.

This method definitely works, and it does take some of the pressure off you.

But, generally we spend a lot of time spinning about what we are sending, or thinking that we don’t have anything of value to offer.

Again, we get stuck in the “perfecting” of the valuable thing and torturing ourselves for an unreasonable amount of time, until, more often than not, we decide not to send anything at all.

A better method is to ask for advice.

Advice is an authentic desire.

At this point in your job search, you just need advice on what to do to be a compelling candidate for your dream job. You don’t want to act as if you are already that compelling candidate. You don’t want to ask for them to advocate for you. You are not trying to tell them that YOU can help THEM.

Most people’s egos are touched when you identify them as an expert who can give you valuable advice about something important. They want to take credit for your progress. It makes THEM feel good because they feel admired and respected.

BUT - beware, they are busy and they don’t know you so you need to ask them simple questions that are quick and easy to answer.

I suggest asking either/or questions. For example, tell them you are trying to learn about their area of expertise and you are thinking about taking Course A or Course B (or reading Book A or Book B). Ask them which they would suggest you start with. This allows them to help you in less than a minute! Very compelling for them.

AND- you must follow up after you have actually taken their advice and let them know what you have learned. Then give them another either/or choice for your next step. Eventually you might even ask them for feedback on something you have created - but again, ask an either/or question about it.

After one or two interactions of this type, most people are more than willing to chat with you for 15-20 minutes for a more in depth conversation about your goals.

If they can be of service they will usually volunteer to help you. You don’t even have to ask - they are already invested in your success!

ONE CAVEAT: Make sure you are ACTUALLY interested in what you are asking them about and that you REALLY do want to take action on one of the two options you pose to them.

You don’t want to waste their time or yours.

So find someone whose advice you would really like to have and ask them for it.

It's just that simple!

No need to spin in creating anything other than the real question that you have for them.

What do you have to lose? Take my advice!

If you need more advice on how to ask for advice, email me at and we can set up a time for a free chat to get you started.

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