/ Asked by Julia
Hi! I'm graduating this winter and my mom said she'd put me in touch with some of her colleagues to help me find a job. Should I email them or call them directly? Or should have her start the conversation? I have not met most of these people, so I don't want to come across rude. Also, how should I approach my initial conversations? Information gathering? Or should I be blunt and say I need a job in January? I'm really worried because almost all of my friends who graduated this past spring have not found work yet. Thanks!!!
Answered by Michele, Hiring Expert at ADP, on Thursday, August 28, 2014
Congratulations on your recent graduation!
Great question about how to contact prospective employers. If you are being ‘referred’ to a prospective employer it is a great idea to utilize that contact. Have your mom write an introductory email and copy you. This way she can say great things about you, and the employer has your contact information to reach out.
If the prospect does not reach out after the introduction, it is perfectly appropriate to follow up. Think about how you want to present yourself and what you will say. Make sure you ‘sell’ yourself and highlight your qualifications. Research the company first so you can understand what might be relevant in your background to the positions they are hiring for.
I would shy away from telling an employer you ‘need a job’. Most companies are looking for career minded individuals that are confident in their abilities to start their career.
Good Luck!
Answered by Bryan, Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation, on Thursday, August 28, 2014
Congratulations on coming close to your graduation date!  To compliment some of the other answers to your question, I would have to agree that one of the best ways to start looking for new opportunities is through a network of contacts from people you have strong personal relations including your mom.  I would go into the conversation ready to discuss any professional experience you might have and to share your strengths and potential weaknesses.  Be ready to give examples of your work on teams to deliver projects even if those are mainly school projects. 

Each discussion might be a little different.  Some might have actual opportunities for you to apply and be considered and others might just be more informational.  Either way, you are learning, gaining experience and building your network. 

Due your research on the company website before any of your calls to learn more about the company and to see any possible job opportunities that might be a potential match.  One thing that I appreciate when I have a referred candidate is when the candidate has an idea of what we do as a company and possibly has identified opportunities of interest.  You know yourself better than anyone else, so you should be able to at least identify some roles that are of interest to you.  If you do bring that knowledge and preparation to the discussion, it will show your level of interest and help with the flow of the conversation.   I am not saying that you should discuss other roles if they already have one in mind for you, but you want to be prepared to help the individual to gain a better perspective of what sort of roles are a match for your interests. 

Wishing you the best with your job search and networking! 
Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, August 28, 2014
How exciting! With graduation quickly approaching, I am glad to see you are starting to plan ahead and utilize your networks well in advance. I’m impressed!

I might advise taking a slightly different approach than the other respondent, though. I think it’s alright for your mom to reach out to her colleagues and provide your contact info, but I think you need to take control of the conversations that ensue, to demonstrate your professionalism and independence.

In her message, your mom can state that she appreciates in advance any help or suggestions that her colleagues can provide to you both. She can list your cell number and your personal email address, and then mention that you will be contacting them each directly. But that’s where I thinks she needs to exit the process.

I’ve seen firsthand that some professionals really seem to resent parental involvement in children’s job searches, and they question why new grads are sometimes unable to handle this type of outreach on their own. For that reason, I would be cautious about how much you allow your mom to be involved. It sounds like she has absolutely wonderful intentions, and I definitely commend her for bringing you into her circles, but it may be perceived in a negative light if she does too much on your behalf.

Once your mom has let them know that you will be making contact, follow-up and send a professional email to each individual (not a group email). So far as verbiage goes, I would write something that is fairly neutral, perhaps to the following effect:

“Greetings!

Per a previous communication from (your mom’s name), I’m following up with a brief email to introduce myself. I’d love the opportunity to hear your expertise and receive some work-related advice, so please let me know how best to get in touch with you, or if you’d prefer to continue this conversation via email.

I’m happy to be flexible around your busy schedule, and deeply appreciate any insight you can give me, as I prepare for the job market. I admire both your role and this organization, and look forward to exploring things further. And if there is ever anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask. 

Thanks in advance,
(your full name)
(your contact info repeated beneath this)”

Hope that helps! The subject line can be something like, “Strengthening my professional network / Thanks in advance for your expertise.”

*You may want to approach this in a similar way to initiating a mentorship…see a sister Jobipedia posting here: http://bit.ly/1tHEXBx
Answered by Patti, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on Friday, August 29, 2014
Hi- congrats on this amazing achievement! I think it is best to "explore" opportunities, and leverage any potential network that might help to start the conversation. I would adivse being versed on what it is you are actually looking for and how you might best leverage that contact/resource. An introductory email is good w/a little context is a good start.

Hope that helps- congrats again. 
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, September 5, 2014
You will soon find how important your network is to your job search (your network is your net worth).  By all means, reach out to all of them that you can.  I would start with an introductory e-mail which outlines how you are connected to them (your mother) and that you will be entering the job market in January.  In this e-mail, let them know that you would like guidance from them on starting your career and request some time from them for an informational interview.  After a couple of weeks, follow-up with them with a phone call reiterating the same.  The purpose of the informational interview is for them to give you career advice, but just as important, it allows you to build a rapport with the person.  Don't be overly concerned if they do not respond immediately, as most are very busy.  Allow reasonable time for response, but still be persistent.
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