Being vulnerable isn’t our first instinct. We’re human after all, which means most of the time we’re shamelessly stubborn and independent in the hopes of appearing strong and put-together.
This is especially true when we’re in the throes of unemployment. The thing is—and you know this—when we let our pride go and admit we need help, we usually surprise ourselves with the outcome.
Take Farah Patel. Earlier this year, she was laid off from her sales position due to company downsizing. Because she’d relocated to San Diego for the role four months earlier, she found herself unemployed in a new city with no personal connections.
So, she turned to the one platform she knew would reach the people who mattered:
“I started using LinkedIn 10 years ago, when I first started as a recruiter in New York in 2007. I rarely posted updates on LinkedIn, but I had written a couple of articles and found it was a good way to keep in touch with business contacts. A few minutes after being laid off, I got into my car and posted a couple of sentences through the mobile app about my need for a new opportunity, and included my background.”
In response, she received an overwhelming number of comments. Some were from recruiters or hiring managers asking to meet with her, others were from contacts and friends recommending positions and tagging employers, and even more were personal stories and notes of encouragement from people who’d also been laid off in the past.
“I was surprised by how many people were genuinely supportive and willing to help a total stranger,” she told me when I reached out to learn more about her story. “I was so touched by the kindness of strangers that I responded to every single email I got.”
Farah received over 300 messages via LinkedIn and email, and at one point had 20 interviews over a period of just 15 days. For sales, she knew how important it was to work for a company and product she could stand behind, so one opportunity stuck out among the rest:
“I knew after my initial phone interview [with Vonage] that I wanted to keep moving forward in the interview process, and it only got better with each team member I spoke with. The possibilities of having a platform like [Vonage’s] are endless, and the culture was fresh and new and [full of] really smart, forward thinking people.”
Fast-forward through that interview process and she was able to post this:
There’s nothing wild and crazy about Farah’s job hunt—she didn’t craft an overly-designed cover letter, she wasn’t BFFs with the CEO, and she wasn’t breaking into a new field. What she did to land her job was simple: reach out to her network. And because of that, she’s now a Senior Cloud Solutions Sales Executive at Vonage.
If there’s anything you take away from this story, it’s that there’s nothingwrong with allowing yourself to be vulnerable and asking for help—in anything you do, but especially in your job search.
And it doesn’t have to be in a public place like LinkedIn. It can be as simple as reaching out to your network and telling them what’s going on. If one measly email can make your job search easier, why wouldn’t you send it?