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Asking a Friend for Career Help

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in Workplace Communication

Q. A few months ago, I networked with someone who has become a friend. We rarely discuss work; one reason we get along well is we both have kids the same age. Now I want to ask this person for a favor—to get me an interview at her firm. But I’m scared I’ll sound like I’m using her. Help!

A. Here are three options. First, ask for advice. Say, “I’d like to interview with your firm. Do you have any ideas for me?” Or take the first step to arrange your own interview and then tell your friend about it. Mentioning that you “sent a résumé but haven’t heard anything” may lead her to offer assistance. The most indirect tactic is to talk about your career in general terms. Drop hints that you’d like to work at a firm like hers. She may volunteer to help.

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