Career Column: Having Your Contacts Distribute Your Resume

Sep 23, 2002

Dave Opton

Executive career advice from Dave Opton, founder of ExecuNet.

Dear Dave:

A few weeks ago I met with a friend who is well networked to tell him about my job search. He offered to help and asked for 15 copies of my resume to distribute to his inside circle. Since then, I've heard nothing. At first I was really excited and now I'm frustrated and don't know how to follow-up. Any suggestions?

Arthur H.


You're not the first and certainly won't be the last to get caught empty-handed thanks to the "generosity" of a friend. It is very natural for a friend to offer to help and you should provide one or two extra resumes to those who ask, however, keep in mind that people are extremely busy these days and good intentions don't always end up with timely action.

More executive career advice
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Leveraging Outplacement Support: Don't wait until the axe falls; proactively seeking outplacement support.

Handling The 'Salary Requirements' Question: Some tips on how -- and when -- to discuss the all-important salary question.

Tips For Successful Job Interviews: Shake the rust off those interviewing skills.

Follow-up Calls To Recruiters: Tips for executives on improving their relationships with recruiters.

To help move this process along, here's a suggestion for reminding your friend of his offer to distribute your resumes and a way to take control of this networking opportunity. E-mail your friend a copy of your resume and mention you're aware of how busy everyone is and that perhaps an easy way to notify or remind his friends of your availability would be via e-mail. Suggest that your friend "cc" you on the e-mail so that you could follow-up with a note to each new contact.

In the event your friend never distributed those hard copy resumes he requested -- you are giving him an opportunity to save face. You should also ask him to send you the complete contact information of the people receiving his e-mails, as you will need more than an e-mail address to follow-up.

The next time someone offers to make contact with his or her network on your behalf, be very appreciative of the initiative being proposed, and suggest that instead of imposing on his or her time, you would be pleased to make contact directly using his or her name in the introduction, in which case, you can keep control of your networking program.

I hope this helps!


Dave Opton is CEO and Founder of ExecuNet, an online career services center for executives. Questions can be sent to Dave at, he can't answer each individually but look for yours in an upcoming column.


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