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?
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, he can't answer each individually but look for yours in an upcoming column.