You're standing at a job search crossroad. And you're torn between two options: playing it safe and potentially disappearing into the crowd. Or putting everything on the table, making a bold move, embarrassing yourself, but also potentially landing the job of your dreams. Which path will you choose?
If you take the first, nothing bad will happen. But if you take the second, something great MIGHT happen. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you reach out to a contact you hardly know, attempt to rebuild a burned bridge, make a risky proposal to a potential employer, or speak out boldly to request something you want.
1. Nobody else will be upset.
The stakes may feel high…for you. But they aren't that high for anyone else. If you decide to make a blunt statement in your cover letter or show up to your interview with your ukulele in hand intending to perform a song for your employer, you won't be hurting anyone. At the very least, you may be thanked for your time and sent home. But nobody ever suffered from the excruciating pain of reading a two-page resume or spending 10 minutes in conversation with a professionally ambitious person.
2. Your contacts will be flattered, not annoyed or confused.
If you decide to email an old professor who may not remember you, or if you'd like to cold call a friend of a friend with influence in your industry, this person may not have time to sit down with you for a long talk. But they won't be offended by your approach. People are usually flattered by this gesture, as long as you make sure you're asking for advice only, not favors or leads. Let the person know that you consider them a valuable resource based on their knowledge and experience, and make things easy for them by being clear about what you'd like them to do.
3. You aren't the first person to blaze this trail.
Asking for endorsements and recommendations isn't as unusual as novice job seekers tend to believe. Academic instructors and bosses (both former and present) are asked to provide references and advise job seekers all the time. They may choose to comply or they may politely decline, but in any case, they rarely find this transaction awkward or unprecedented.
4. You are perfectly qualified to reach out for this opportunity.
No matter who you are, and no matter your level of education or experience, you're allowed to reach out for the job or opportunity in question. If you want it, you're perfectly within your rights to ask for it. Every person who faces a new experience or stands on the brink of the unknown tends to question his or her readiness for the next step. Question if you must. But recognize that you're more qualified than you feel. You're great! You're smart, you learn from your mistakes, you're brave, and you have what it takes to be the hero of your own life story. No matter how this particular opportunity plays out, the next one will come along soon enough.
With a Strong Resume, You Have Nothing to Lose
Whatever the risky move in question, a well-written resume can help you make your case, win over your target audience, build your credibility, and knock down the obstacles in front of you. Keep your resume at the ready, and make sure it presents you in the best possible light. Visit MyPerfectResume for the formatting tools and professional resume guidance that can help you shine, no matter where your job search takes you.