Friends and family MIGHT be great ‘work referees’

But rarely will help you find a job as they know the same people you do

As an older worker, who will find you a job? Your large network of acquaintance, here’s why…

Many people know how important friends are in helping you find a job. But when asked which friends are most valuable, most say ‘close friends and family’. Wrong.

People close to you largely know the same people you do, so they hear of the same opportunities. Loose connections are the most beneficial – that is, those who move in different circles. There are of course more of them, particularly amongst the over 40s who have had a lot more time to build these loose connections. When you are actively seeking a job, you need to find ways to stay in touch with this broader circle and find ways, however small, to help them out.

Personal referees; office meeting

What else is wrong with your close friends? They are not good work referees for you anyway. Firstly they may be viewed as biased, and may lack objectivity as they are too close to you.

As introducers most of your friends will suck. As a recruiter, I am often asked to help friends with a comment like “I’d appreciate it if you could meet Sue who’s a good friend – she really needs a job, can you help her?”

There are a hundred better ways that Sue could be introduced that would make me more likely to want to talk to this stranger. Saying she is desperate or appealing to my good nature doesn’t cut it!

Final comments on how to use your friends as work referees for job seeking…

  • They never know what you really want to do or what your ideal future job looks like. It is human nature to assume our friends know, but they rarely do. Ask 5 friends – it would be unusual if you didn’t get 4 or 5 different answers to what your ideal next job looks like.
  • Most people go to close friends first when they have been retrenched… when they’re emotional and unclear on what to do with the next stage of their lives. So wait, think and clear your mind. Then give your friends a very brief update on what you’re looking for. Then ask to meet their loose connections, the people most likely to be able to help you.


The mission of the Stable and Wise Community…

To unite unprejudiced employers with Mature, stable and motivated employees

“Age is just a number, a number & no more. The experience, maturity, wisdom an older person brings to an organisation is immense & can never be replicated.” Jacqueline Perera, LinkedIn.

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If you personally have not suffered, then perhaps let a friend know about this community – we all know people who have applied for jobs and suffered the deafening silence.

For the complete guide on building powerful career network, click here