I’ve always loved this term “Friends With Benefits.” I know, it’s generally used for something racy (!!), but when you think about it, all of your friends give you different benefits.
Friends from college give you a connection to your past and memories of a time in your life that was unique. Friends from your child’s school give you a connection to raising a child and how to navigate parenthood. Friends from the dog park give you the same as from your child’s school, but for your fur babies. And friends at work give you connection to the daily dramas we live together 40+ hours each week, ideas, advice and motivation.
Some of your friends are REAL FRIENDS, people who you’d call in an emergency, people you trust and love.
And some of them are friends in a different way: you have something in common and you like them.
Your friends at work may mostly fall into this latter category.
When people leave and you no longer see each other every day, you often lose touch. You may not be in constant contact like when you worked together, but you’re still connected.
The people you work with now or worked with in the past are the best people to introduce you to new opportunities.
Almost 100% of the work I currently do comes from work friends.
When I need help in my work, like an introduction or a referral or a recommendation, I have a bunch of work friends to call on. Remember these are people you have something in common with and you like.
Many of you who say, “I haven’t talked to her in so long, isn’t it weird to reach out just because I want her to introduce me to someone at her company?”
The answer is, “No. It’s not weird.”
If you’re looking for a job or thinking about moving, start with your friends, even if you haven’t talked in a long time.
Here’s what to say
You might start out with a friendly reminder about why you’re friends, like, “Hi Jen, I was thinking about you today when I saw a pastrami sandwich. Remember when we had lunch at that crazy airport deli with the fresh pastrami?! That was the best sandwich I’ve ever had.”
You’ve reminded Jen about something you have in common or a memory you have together.
Keep it personal and authentic, “I’ve been thinking about leaving my job but honestly, I’m not sure what I want to do next. I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I see that you’re working at XYZ company. Would you be willing to talk to me for 10-15 minutes about what you’re up to and if you like the company?”
You’re asking to reconnect and for an informal informational interview.
I do this all the time.
In fact, I recently talked with a friend who works at a company that I thought looked really interesting. She told me that they were not an inclusive or forward thinking culture, allowing me the insight to pass on what I thought wouldn’t be a good fit for me.
Another time I spoke with a friend in the same way and it sounded like a good fit. I asked if she’d introduce me to the person in charge of hiring facilitators. She happily did so and I’m working with them now.
The bottom line
Friendships are incredibly useful when it’s time to find your next opportunity. Reaching out to your work friends, past and present, is the best way to find your next job. Don’t let the idea that a lot of time has passed since you last talked hold you back.
Once you reconnect, it will be as if no time at all has passed!
Do you want to ask for a raise or negotiate a job offer but you’re not sure what to say?
Check out my new tool: Negotiate Your Salary With Confidence, you can get it free HERE.
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