Your Help Request Needs Help!
Hope all is well. Just a quick note to re-introduce myself. Please review my linkedIn profile to see if there’s any new oportunities in the (city) area
Thanks in advance for any assistance and insight you can offer”
That is an actual example (grammar, spelling, minus the city name) of one of the hundreds of requests I receive every month through LinkedIn asking me for some sort of help. I call it some “sort of help” because as shown in this example, I have no idea what they are asking of me. This e-mail in particular sent me over the edge, so I am taking it as a sign that it’s time to chime in with a few tips on how you can help yourself, by first helping others, to help you.
A few disclaimers…of course I am only speaking of my experience, and I consider helping people a very rewarding part of my responsibilities as a group manager, and community member on LinkedIn. I am proud to be an information resource that people send their connections to, and honored to have many of you as resources that I send people to. I have asked for help a zillion times and it’s not always an easy thing to do, so please understand this post comes from a place that wants to streamline the process and get to the helping part!
I can spot a genuine help request a mile away because it is personalized, and I don’t mean with just “Hi Deborah.” Automation and mass e-mails may save you time, but leaving out the human element will cost you help, at least with me, and especially if we are only connected, but I don’t really know you. I just assume the people that do will take the time to decipher the request and/or honor it as they can.
And You Are?
Unless you are 100 percent positive the person you are asking for help knows you, help them remember you…and I don’t mean suggest they look at your profile. Share something you believe will jar their memory with as much detail as possible. And if we don’t know each other, that is still cool. Just be upfront and let me know why you are sending the request to me…do you read my blog? Are you in my group or do we share another in common? Do we have mutual friends? Make a connection so people want to help you.
Stay in Your Help Lane!
Personal and professional recommendations should come from people who actually know you, and have worked directly with you. There is NO advantage at all to automate these requests. You will most likely have fewer responses since everyone will think someone else will do it. Since it’s a mass e-mail and you haven’t reminded me how I know you, or where we worked together if I have momentarily forgotten, there is no connection for me to do anything further to help.
Know What You Need!
This may sound simple, but I’m sure the person who sent the e-mail I shared as an example thought theirs was clear. If you are going to send out a help request to a bunch of people, do it in small batches. If you are asked context questions, or anything that you could easily add in so questions don’t need to be asked, adjust for the next batch and so on until your request is perfected and can be copy and pasted into the personalized e-mails.
Don’t Ask Us to Work for You!
There is nothing more frustrating than a help request that comes with additional help required. Most often these fall under introduction and employment related requests. For example: “I am looking for work at XY Corp. Who do you know there that can help me?—I am trying to get in touch with JP Smith. Do you know him?” and things of that nature. LinkedIn’s advance search tool will provide you with those answers, and your help requests can be streamlined to the best of your connections to help.
The last thing I am going to mention is spelling, grammar, and a professional tone matter in all requests, but especially if you are asking someone to introduce you to one of their connections. When it comes to looking for work, stay positive and strong in your messages and don’t include details of any hardships. And most important…If someone helps you, or responds in any manner…thank them! They will be more willing to help you again.
Do you receive any of the help requests I have mentioned? How do you handle them?