With friends like these, who needs a recruiter? If that’s not your immediate thought when you think about your pals in conjunction with your job search, perhaps it’s time for a rethink. Your friends are as much a part of your network as your boss, colleagues, fellow alumni, mentors and coaches and there’s no reason why they can’t help you find a job in much the same way as these other types of contacts can.
Understanding What You Want
Tell your friends what you’re trying to do. Be clear about what it is you’re looking for. When you give them that level of detail, they can in turn be specific in the advice they give you.
Seeing the Obvious
Friends will be direct about telling you to do things that may have been staring you in the face but yet you haven’t seen.
Talking Your Ideas Through
You can ask a friend if they’ve got a moment for a chat or a coffee to just informally reflect with you. You can be comfortable with them because they're your friend and will listen to all your hopes, fears and other observations on your job hunt. It’s a good opportunity to get it all out and also to hear what someone who knows you really well has to say in response.
Using Their Networks
When you’re finding a job you’re trying to know and be known. Friends can help you do this by introducing you to their own recruiters, head-hunters and networking contacts.
Sharing Their Job Search Tips
If you want to know how to find a job, ask people with jobs. Although you have to find your own path as opposed to copying a friend’s job search method right down to the very last detail, hearing how other people succeeded may give you some hope, encouragement and inspiration for your own journey.
Being Your Wingperson
We all know going to networking events is a great way of getting out and about and meeting people who could be useful to you in your job hunt, but it can be tough to walk into a room full of strangers by yourself. Taking your friend along as a wingman or wingwoman might make it easier for you to get into the swing of things, but beware the trap of spending the whole time talking to the one person you already know.
Providing a Break
You can’t be in job-search mode all the time. Finding a job may be a full-time job in itself but we all need time to relax, recuperate and do something different to the daily grind. Plan some quality time with your friends to do the things you love to do together and to also try out new activities.
Pointing Out Your Strengths
Something that can never be overstated is how crucial it is to know where our strengths and talents lie before we can go out and get the right job for us. Sit down with each of your friends and ask them what they think you’re best at, what your biggest strength is, what qualities they admire in you and any other pertinent questions that come to mind.
Checking Your CV
Although it can be beneficial to go through your CV with a professional career guide, letting a pal review it in the first instance is also a good idea. This fresh pair of eyes will pick up on any typos you may have missed and may also come up with suggestions on how to better get across the real you in the CV.
About the Author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.