How to Get Help from Family and Friends in Your First Job Search

By Roberto Angulo

Your family and friends are most likely the people who know you the best. They have a good idea of what you’re good at doing and your top qualities. They also know where you need to improve. This makes them good at judging what jobs may be relevant and interesting to you. Ask them for help in keeping an eye open for jobs that could be a good fit for you.

Here are other ways your friends can help you:

  • Getting an internship, co-op, or temporary job. A friend, relative, or friend of the family may hesitate to get you a full-time job simply because of the connection. This is fair — nepotism is seen as a negative thing and your friend or relative may get in trouble at work. With internships or temporary jobs, especially if they’re unpaid, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Internships and co-ops are temporary, usually lasting two to three months. Because of the short duration, employers tend to be less strict on how these hires are made. In fact, it’s often unspoken that friends tend to help other friends by giving internships to their relatives. Don’t be shy about leveraging your connections or asking relatives to leverage their connections for an internship. If you do well in your internship, everyone wins. If this is not the case, it was only a two- to three-month stint.

When leveraging a family connection or friend to get a job, reach out to the employer yourself and don’t rely on your connection to do it for you. This shows the employer that you’re proactive and you take the initiative. You’ll make a good impression.

  • Employee referrals: A simple referral, even if not an endorsement, often helps to get you through the door and to secure an interview. Larger employers often pay employees a referral fee for recommending someone who ultimately gets hired and stays with the organization for some period of time, normally three to six months.

If you have friends who work at an employer of interest, ask them if they can submit your résumé or add a note with the recruiter that you’ve applied for the job. They’ll be doing you a favor and they may also earn a bonus.