In the first part of this series, you learned how to open yourself up for help and identify your pain points.
Now that you have those elements established, it’s time to identify the people you want to reach out to and approach them in order to get help.
Just like you cannot be the only person to solve your own problems all the time, no one person will be able to provide you with 100% of the help you need. You will need a team of helpers to support you.
You may also be surprised to learn that helpers surround you every day. These can be people in your existing network of friends and family, current or former coworkers, figures of authority in community groups you attend, or members of an online community, like Jobcase.
It’s important to note that not all helpers are created equally. Some have different areas in which they’re able to offer assistance. Your task is to evaluate how they might help you and approach them in a way that tells them what kind of help you need from them.
Here are three types of helpers and what types of help they’ll be able to provide:
An expert is someone who can provide you with information, insight and outside resources that can help your situation. When you bring your pain points to an expert, they should be able to listen and pick out the specific resources or information you may want to look into and quickly provide you with those tools.
For example: If you approach an expert for help with applying for unemployment after being laid off, they might send you over the exact state resources you need to get you started, plus an article they found on the unemployment process in your state, and then their personal tips and tricks on the unemployment process from their time becoming familiar with the system.
An expert can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend sifting through information because they may have it all on hand already. And if they don't, they could have the research skills to help you find that information quickly and efficiently.
A mentor is likely to be someone you know already or perhaps they are well known in your community to be a person who provides excellent counsel to those in need of support. A mentor is someone whose presence and advice provides you with comfort and confidence. They may know you well and can tell exactly what you need to hear to stay calm and collected under pressure.
This person will be able to provide the steady emotional support, guidance and encouragement, which is crucial to maintaining a balanced outlook as you face the stresses of your current situation.
A person of influence is someone you identify who may have the connections you need to help get something done. If you’re looking to get hired, perhaps someone you encounter is a hiring manager, a recruiter or someone who works in a place where you’d like to work as well. This person can help you by providing you with access or opportunity directly, but they usually don’t extend this type of help to just anyone.
If you know this person well enough to have developed a good relationship, they may be more willing to work their connections to help you out right away. If you don’t know this person, however, being able to communicate your story and needs to them clearly and concisely can be an excellent way to demonstrate why you’re worthy of their time and assistance.
Once you have identified the people you want to reach out to and the type of help they can provide you, you’ll have to be clear about both your story and what kind of help you’ll need from them. t.
Communicate your pain point concisely, then be direct about the type of help you need from that person. This may sound like a forward way to approach someone, but (from a helper’s perspective) it makes it so much easier to know what is being asked of you when someone approaches you for help. And on your end, you’re much more likely to get help quickly and effectively if you communicate your needs.
When you reach out for help, clearly communicate:
For example, your pain point statement could be:
“After being suddenly laid off, I was forced to take a lower paying job in an industry that doesn’t value my qualifications, which has left me unable to pay my bills after several months.”
Now, your ask for each type of helper:
For an expert you might add: “...I used to work in the field of Customer Service. Do you have any advice for someone with my skill set on other industries or fields hiring in my area that might be a better match for me? Also, are there any options available to help me out financially while I look for better paying work?”
For a mentor you might add: “...Working in a place where I’m under-paid and feel undervalued has left me feeling stressed and unmotivated in my new workplace. Do you have any advice on how to stay positive and energized while I look for a way out of this emotionally draining situation?”
For a person of influence you might add: “...I heard that you have several connections in the Customer Service industry, which I’m very eager to get back into. Would you be willing to pass along my resume to any of your connections who may be hiring for Customer Service positions in my area?”
Remember, for each type of helper, you want to provide your story and then the context in which they can help you, which introduces your helper to your unique situation and the specific ways in which they can help.
After speaking with a helper the first time, don’t forget to send a sincere thank you note or call of thanks. They may not be able to resolve your issues fully, but you will find that every bit of support will help, if nothing else, to make you feel less alone and to know that there are people out there who have your back.
If you don’t hear back from a helper immediately, you can use quick, polite, check-ins. These check-ins will help keep you on their mind and will ensure that you maintain those lifelines when you need them the most..
Practice makes perfect! The more you refine your approach, the more effective it will be when you reach out to your helpers directly....