I have always been a huge advocate of helping people. Whether I am doing it for friends, family or complete strangers, I am always willing to lend a hand.
Recently, I have received a lot of calls and emails from people in the industry looking for PR work. Some are just out of school, some are looking for a career change and sadly, some have been laid off.
Having been out of work for over a year in 2009, I am more than happy to offer any assistance in that department. I know how important connections are and how beneficial networking can be, which is why I don’t think twice about giving back. Help was given to me when I needed it, so I like to think I’m paying it forward.
Recently however, I have found that acquaintances and people who have reached out to me because they are connected to me personally or professionally have zero appreciation for my help. Now don’t get me wrong, my close friends don’t fall into this bucket, but I find it so hard to believe that anyone that offers you help or that you look to for guidance (especially someone you don’t know all that personally) doesn’t even bat an eye when you’re giving up your time for them.
For example, a guy I work with asked if there were PR openings in my department and if I could assist his friend Cindy with some leads I might be aware of. I was happy to help. The girl reached out to me and I sent her names of recruiters and some background info. I never heard from her again.
A former colleague asked if I could help a family friend apply to a media program my company was hiring for. She reached out to me and I submitted her resume along with a recommendation (it turns out she was also an alumna of my alma mater). I emailed to let her I had done the paperwork and gotten her resume to human resources. I also reached out to the man I used to work with to give him an update. Neither acknowledged my contribution.
A few months ago, a friend reached out to me to see if I could help her friend in his job search. I sent him some listings I knew of from PR groups I was a part of and also some tips on what helped me with my job search. He fell off the planet. When I told our friend, she seemed surprised, but it didn’t make a difference.
Look, I don’t need to be thanked for every single thing I do (hello, I work in PR, one of the most thankless jobs out there), but if you don’t know me, and if you do, but not really all that well, show a little appreciation that I went out of my way for you. I know people’s situations change and life is hectic, but you should never burn bridges. I learned that early on in my career. If someone is willing to take time out of their schedule to help you in a job search or anything else for that matter, make sure to recognize their efforts. It’s really not hard.
So to all you folks who are “networking” and “connecting,” don’t forget those that are trying to help you. It’ll go a long, long way.