Before we share our super secret tips + tricks on how to ask for help, let’s first talk about what NOT to do. Think of these as guidelines <- movie reference.
Don’t ask for a job. First build a relationship of mutual trust, and then ask if the individual knows of roles at companies that could be a fit.
Don’t be Tolstoy. Get to the point and make it easy for the recipient to determine if she can or cannot help. Be direct, clear, and concise (like these bullets, right?).
Don’t be rude or desperate. Being mean won’t get you anywhere. And putting pressure on the recipient will turn the alum sour on helping students in the future.
Don’t start with a LinkedIn request. Once you have connected with the alum and built rapport, she will be much more open to giving you access to her network (sometimes it’s worth waiting).
Don’t spam. Not every connection will result in a lasting relationship. If the alum does not engage further, no worries, there will be more alumni to connect with.
There are many other nuances that you’ll discover over time (we’ve got plenty of scars). But these five rules should give you a good start.
Next up: How to ask for help.