Asking an Old Friend for Job Help
February 21, 2014 8:04 AM Subscribe
I'm out of work right now and am doing everything I can to network myself into employment. I recently noticed a job for which I'd be qualified at a large, prestigious company where an old friend is a major player. I haven't talked to him in six years. Can I approach him for an employee referral, and if so, how?
posted by pineappleheart to Work & Money (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
When I was a teenager, I had a fun, crazy friend with whom I traveled one summer. We were pretty close but lost touch soon after. He contacted me on Facebook to ask for a coffee date about six years ago, but never replied to my positive response. Since then he's become a nationally known figure at a major company. He writes books, influences foreign policy, all sort of impressive stuff. I'm sure he'd remember me, but he probably has a lot of more important things to think about.
A job recently opened at the company where he holds a position. I have the necessary experience and think I could be a good fit. I know someone else at the company who can offer me a referral and don't want to bother my old friend with whom I've had zero contact since 2008, especially to ask for something that could sound suspiciously like, "Use your importance to get me a job." On the other hand, that sort of spits in the face of all of the advice I've received about networking. I should use any connection I have, especially if it's big-time, right?
Networking makes me squeamish, and I'm worried my old friend (if he does even respond to me) would feel used or think I'm a dick for asking for a favor. I respect him and don't want to be a jerk to him. I could ask him for a drink and then casually mention I'm looking for work, but I'd rather be forthright. Should I contact this person, and if so, how would you recommend I do it? What on earth do I say? "Hi! Remember me? I'm applying to another division at your company and was wondering if you'd do me the favor of looking over my resume?" I am really shy about this sort of thing, so any advice anyone here can offer about this job networking stuff would be so helpful to me.