Graciously Accepting Help with Your Job Search (Part 1)

Have you seen the movie Frances Ha? It's about a woman in her late 20s trying to get her life together. At one point, Frances is living on a friend's couch and has just learned she won't be in the Christmas show at her dance studio, which she was counting on for income. The dance studio head offers her an administrative assistant job instead, and she turns it down, lying that she already has something lined up.

For the audience, it's an incredibly frustrating moment to watch, as it seems like just the break Frances has needed for so long, but her pride gets in the way of accepting help.

When you're job searching, you're going to get advice you don't need and be offered help you don't want, and that's OK. But there's nothing wrong with making use of the resources you have, and no rule that says you have to land a job completely on your own.

Tell people what you're looking for, and if they offer to connect you with someone, go for it! Many people land jobs through their networks, so making connections just puts you on the same playing field as others.

Even if the person you're connected with can't help you out, just knowing them might come in handy. True story: Most of my clients for my freelance editing business come from a single person who was referred to me by someone whom I was referred to by someone I was referred to by someone I was referred to by someone else.

In each of these cases, I took the initiative to reach out and contact the person recommended to me. If someone you know offers to help contact you with a person, company, or job, the best thing you can do to honor that person's help is to do your part to follow through.

This goes not just for networking but for any help you're offered during your job search, whether it's someone offering to put in a recommendation for you or a friend offering you a rent-free room until you land something.

You can either accept and then follow through on whatever you need to do, or politely decline because you really don't think it's the right thing for you. Just avoid the mistakes of accepting out of politeness and then flaking out, or declining out of pride when you could genuinely use the help.