How to find free help for your job hunt

Use these sites to find employers who value experienced workers

Dana Anspach is a Certified Financial Planner and an expert on investing and retirement planning. She is the founder and CEO of Sensible Money, a fee-only financial planning and investment firm.

When you’re over 50 and you find yourself in a position where you have to look for work, it can feel like an uphill battle. You probably thought these days were long behind you. Age bias can be a factor, but it doesn’t have to deter you. Although some employers might look for young, less mature hires, older workers have lots to offer, as many smart organizations realize.

The key is to find the companies and positions that are looking for mature, experienced workers. The following job search sites can help you do just that. They’re more than just search sites. They help match employers who are specifically seeking older workers with older potential employees who are actively seeking work. You’ll also find inspiring stories of success on several of these sites, as well as a wealth of resources and ideas on how to start this new chapter in your life.

WhatsNext.com

How to find free help for your job hunt

The What’s Next job search site has online assessment tools, calculators, career guides, books, lots of articles filled with expert content, and career coaches—all available to help you figure out how to create the life you want in the career of your choice. The site is geared toward older workers and it even has a Dream Blogs section where you can read real-life stories of the career changes that others have in progress.

RetiredBrains.com

As the name implies, RetiredBrains is a job resource site built by retired brains for retired brains. It has an impressive amount of quality information on finding temporary or seasonal jobs, as well as starting your own business, working from home, writing your resume, finding full-time work, and continuing your education. And all the information is geared for the 55+ audience.

RetirementJobs.com

This job search site boasts over 1 million members. You can post your resume here and search for full-time or part-time jobs online. Here’s what the website has to say:

“Here at RetirementJobs.com, our goal is to identify companies most-suited to older workers and match them with active, productive, conscientious, mature adults seeking a job or project that matches their lifestyle.”

This site is geared toward helping you beat “age bias.”

Workforce50.com

Workforce50.com has content, job search functions, and a list of favorite age-friendly employers by industry. It also gives you the ability to sign up for job alerts. Workforce50.com was first introduced at AARP’s [email protected]+ Conference & Exposition in 2007 at the Boston Convention Center. The site was then known as SeniorJobBank.

You’ve updated your resume, perfected your LinkedIn profile, and honed in on your target positions. And now, you’re ready to reach out to your network.

Which, let’s be honest, can be sort of daunting. Who do you reach out to? Where do you start? And, um, isn’t it sort of awkward asking people for help?

Here’s the thing: People are actually always willing to help out. But you can make their job easier—and get better results—if you give specifics about what you’re asking for. And that’s the step that most people miss: asking the right people for the right things, in the right way.

So to make sure you get the most bang for your job search buck, we’ve put together a five-step plan—sample emails included—for enlisting the help of your network as you’re looking for a job.

Step 1: Draft Your Talking Points

At this point, you’ve (hopefully) updated your resume, but people will find it much easier and quicker to look at a short, bulleted list of where you’ve been and where you want to go (especially if they’re not totally familiar with your field). This should take no more than 10 minutes to pull together, but it will reap serious rewards.

In it, you should include:

A list of your last three position titles, companies you’ve worked for, and responsibilities. Think your resume, but condensed into three bullets.

Your ideal job title and function, as well as other job titles and functions you’d consider.

A list of 4-5 companies you’d love to work for, plus their locations.

Example

Work Experience

  • Account Executive, Smith PR: Served as main point of contact for tech clients including Microsoft
  • Account Coordinator, APCO Worldwide: Assisted on high-profile consumer products campaigns
  • PR Assistant, Columbia University: Drafted press releases that resulted in media coverage in the New York Times

Positions Seeking

  • Senior Account Executive
  • Account Supervisor
  • Public Relations Manager

Dream Companies

  • Edelman, San Francisco or Mountain View
  • Ogilvy, San Francisco
  • Ketchum, San Francisco or Silicon Valley
  • Google, San Francisco or Mountain View

Step 2: Send the Mass Email

Your next step is to contact everyone in your network. (Well, everyone except your mentors, former bosses or colleagues who you’re close to, and anyone who works for your dream companies. We’ll get to that next.)

Draft an email sharing that you’re looking for a new gig, and that you’re enlisting their help. Most importantly: Be specific about what you’re asking for—is it job leads or postings? Informational interviews? New contacts? All of the above?

Also include all the details about you: your current position and company, the length of time you’ve been there, and what you’re looking for and where. Even if your friends know this information, this email may be passed around to people who don’t know you well. Finally, include your bulleted talking points at the end of the email, and attach your resume.

Example

Hi friends and colleagues,

I hope all is well!

As many of you know, I have been at my current position as Account Executive for Smith PR for almost 3 years. I have recently decided to look for a new challenge in the public relations field and am reaching out to you to ask for your help with any leads or contacts.

I am looking for a mid-level public relations position in San Francisco, ideally in the tech or consumer products field. I am particularly interested in joining an agency, but would also consider interesting in-house work.

If you know of any job opportunities or leads that you might be able to share with me, please send them my way. Below, I have included a list of my past experience, my target positions, and my list of dream companies. I have also attached my resume for your reference, and feel free to pass it along.

Thanks in advance for your help! I hope you all are doing well and hope to catch up with you individually soon.

Step 3: Send Targeted Emails

The same day (this is important—you don’t want anyone to feel like an afterthought), craft targeted, specific emails to your former bosses, your mentors, people who work at your dream company, or anyone who you think might be able to help you out in a specific way.

You’ll want to personalize each one (there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re getting a form letter with your name slapped up top!). And most importantly, you’ll want to make a specific request—more specific than your mass email—about how each person might be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific introductions or job leads at a particular company. You can also ask for informational interviews, general advice on companies and positions, or feedback on your resume.

Example

I hope all is well! I saw the photos of the conference you held last month on Facebook—it looked like a fantastic event.

I’m reaching out because I’m currently seeking a new position. As you know, I have been Smith PR for almost three years, but I’m ready for a new challenge in the tech PR world.

I know that you used to do work for Ogilvy, which is on my short list of dream companies. Do you still have any contacts there, and if so, is there someone that might be willing to do an informational interview with me? Any introductions you could make would be greatly appreciated.

In addition, if you know of any job opportunities or leads that you might be able to share with me, please send them my way. I’ve attached my resume for your reference, and feel free to pass it along.

Thanks in advance for your help! Please keep me posted on how things are going and if there’s anything I can do to return the favor.

Step 4: Be Patient

In an ideal world, your inbox would be filled with new job leads two hours later—but remember that this stuff takes time. Even if people can’t help out right away, rest assured that they’re keeping their eyes out and that you’ll be on their radar if any opportunities come their way.

That said, if you haven’t received many responses in a month or so, it can be helpful to send a follow-up email. (A friendly, non-desperate follow-up email. One.)

Example

Thanks so much for the great leads and feedback you’ve sent so far. I just wanted to update you that I’m still searching for that perfect opportunity, so if you have any leads come your way, please pass them along. I hope all is well!

Step 5: Say Thanks

You must, must, must send a personal reply and thank every single person who responds to your email or offers to help you out, whether or not his or her lead or contact is helpful in your job search. Yes, people are happy to help, but they also like to know that their efforts are appreciated.

Plus, remember: After you land this dream job, you may be enlisting their help again a few years down the line.

How to find free help for your job huntEach of these free ebooks should help you accomplish a specific goal important to the success of your job search and career.

These free job search guides are made available to you by Job-Hunt and the authors to help you with your job search. No registration is required to download any of them.

Feel free to use these guides for your job search and to share them with your friends and anyone else who needs help coping with today’s job search process.

If you wish to use them for a workshop or class, please contact us for permission.

Job-Hunt Quick Guides – eBooks Providing Free Help with Your Job Search

These guides are short, designed to be a quick read on a specific topic, so you can learn what you need to know and move on.

Also see the columns on Job-Hunt written by experts and expanding every month to help you deal with today’s job search: Online Job Search Guides.

Clicking on the title will open a new browser window containing the ebooklet.

🎁 New Year, New Job! 101 Tips from the Job-Hunt Experts for Your Holiday Job Search 🎁

27 Job-Hunt Job Search Experts plus What Color Is Your Parachute? author Dick Bolles offer over 100 tips for successfully leveraging the holidays for your job search. These tips help will year around, but are easiest to implement during the end-of-year holidays.

How to find free help for your job hunt

So you’re fresh out of college, re-entering the workforce after some time off, or finally looking for your next gig after a 10-year stint at your current company. Time to roll your sleeves up and get down to some serious job hunting.

And sure, before you actually start, it doesn’t sound very intimidating. You just go online, find a great position, apply, and land a job. People do it every day, right?

It’s only when you actually sit down to start job searching that you realize that the process is a lot more complicated that you initially thought. To help you get started, here are the first few questions you may be asking yourself—and the answers to these not-so-basic-after-all questions.

How Do I Find the Best Job Listings?

So you settle in at a coffee shop, fire up your computer, open your browser, and—wait—where do you even start? Google? Monster.com? With so many resources available, it can be tough to figure out your best option.

If you have some specific businesses in mind, it’s most helpful to target those company websites directly. Companies will list the most current open positions there—which may not always be available on major job boards. If nothing is listed, you can also try cold emailing the HR department or a hiring manager to see if any positions are available.

But if you don’t have any companies in mind yet, you have plenty of options. Job boards can be great—for example, Indeed.com compiles job listings from a ton of other job boards. And The Muse gives you a look into the company’s culture to help you see where you might fit best. You can also use social media, phone apps, and, of course, your network (more on that later).

Read More

What Exactly Do I Search For?

When you settle on a search method, the next step seems pretty simple: Type in your desired position, punch the “submit” button, and find a list of perfect positions. But type in “manager,” and you’ll find out pretty quickly that your list of results (which ranges from Grocery Store Manager to Corporate Manager of Digital Media and Design) is a little too broad.

So, make sure to narrow down your search to a couple specific desired position titles (think: “Customer Service Manager” and “Client Services Manager”). You can also use job board search parameters to whittle down your results even further, based on level of experience, location, salary range, or company size.

But sometimes, it’s a struggle to even get that far. If you’re not exactly sure what you want to with your life (or your college degree), figuring out what to put in the search bar is another challenge completely. So, before you begin, it’s helpful to outline your interests, talents, and passions to determine exactly what you want to pursue.

Read More

How Do I Use My Network to Find a Job?

You’ve probably heard that networking is the best way to find a job, but when you actually begin to type out that email asking for leads or try to find a contact at the company you’re dying to work for, things become a little less clear.

If you have your eyes set on a specific company, your best bet is to track down a contact there and genuinely connect with that person. I know, that’s easier said than done, but thankfully, social media has made this process a lot less painful. LinkedIn, for example, can show you which of your current connections have a link to your target company—which can lead to an easy introduction.

If your sights are a bit broader, letting your group of friends, family, and colleagues know that you’re job searching doesn’t have to be awkward, either. A carefully crafted email to your contacts can produce options you hadn’t thought of or lead to informational interviews to help you narrow down exactly what you’re looking for.

Read More

What Do I Need to Have to Apply?

Of course, all job applications start with a resume and cover letter. But if you’ve never job hunted before (or not for a while, at least), you may need to brush up on the basics of these documents.

Most importantly, once you narrow down exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll need to tailor each cover letter and resume to the specific role you’re applying for. Instead of listing a generic description of all of your past responsibilities, accomplishments, and experience, you’ll angle them toward the role you want, positioning yourself as the perfect fit for the job description.

Of course, specific industries or roles may require additional application materials (e.g., writing samples or a portfolio of past work), so whatever you do, read the job description carefully and make sure you follow instructions.

Read More

But Really, When Will I Get a Job?

So you’ve sent in a few resumes and haven’t gotten any bites yet—or maybe you have, but you still haven’t quite found the right position. Well, you’re not alone—job hunting can be a long and frustrating process.

The key to maintaining your momentum is to set goals, create (and stick to) a schedule, and, surprisingly, to do things unrelated to job searching, whether it’s learning a new skill or picking up a hobby. If you can stay motivated, productive, and sane, you’ll find—and land—a great new career.

Read More

What’s next? If you’ve snagged an interview, get prepared with our 10 must-read articles.

Use Hashtags to Find Jobs and Career Advice

How to find free help for your job hunt

Are you using hashtags to expedite your job hunt? Hashtags are a useful tool for networking, finding job opportunities, and sharing your own job search to get noticed by employers who are using social media to recruit.

How do hashtags work, and what’s the best way to use them? If you use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you are probably familiar with hashtags. A hashtag is the pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase.

When you click on a hashtag (or search for a hashtag), you can see all the posts on the platform that have included that hashtag. It is a way to identify and group messages on a similar topic.

Learn the do’s and don’ts of using hashtags to job search. If you use hashtags in a creative and thoughtful way, you can give your job search a boost and impress hiring managers.

Ways to Use Hashtags to Help Your Job Search

Learn About a Company

If you want to know more about what it is like working at a company, you can use hashtags to get insider information. Many companies have a hashtag that employees use to share stories about life at the company.

For example, Target launched a #TargetVolunteers hashtag to allow employees to share photos and information on their volunteering experiences. Searching this hashtag can help potential employees learn about how Target encourages employees to give back to local communities. If there is a company you are interested in working for, check to see if they have a company-wide hashtag.

Find Available Jobs

Many employers use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram to post jobs. Often, they will include various hashtags related to the position or the job search in these posts. Search on social media sites for particular hashtags related to job listings (including #jobs and #jobsearch).

You can also search for these hashtags on LinkedIn, which now has searchable hashtags. When employers post articles on LinkedIn about job openings, they sometimes use relevant hashtags.

To find immediate job openings, use hashtags like #hiringnow and #hiring.

To get more specific, you might search for exact job titles (#teachers or #teacherjobs) and locations (#NewYorkCity or #Ohio). Twitter also has a #HireFriday hashtag that some employers use. On Fridays, some companies will post job listings and include the #HireFriday hashtag.

Promote Your Job Search

Help recruiters find you on your social media and LinkedIn pages by using hashtags that promote your job search. For example, if you are posting something related to your job search (such as a message about your work experience, or a link to your resume), you can include a relevant hashtag, such as #jobhunt, #employment, or #resume.

You can add #readytowork to your Indeed Resume to alert employers that you’re available for immediate openings.

How to Use Hashtags to Network

General Networking: Whether or not you are actively looking for a job, you can always use hashtags to find people in your industry to network with. First, you can use hashtags to participate in conversations related to your field. Look up key people in your field on social media and see what hashtags they use. When appropriate, include these same hashtags when you post things on social media that are related to your job search or your work. This is a great way to join an online conversation with people in your career network.

Helpful Conversations: You can use hashtags to converse with people in your field and find and participate in Twitter chats. Twitter chats are regular (usually weekly) conversations that take place on Twitter. Each chat is about a particular topic and is designated by a particular hashtag. By finding and participating in Twitter chats related to your industry, you can connect with people in your field.

Professional Events: Another way to use hashtags when networking is to use them when you attend a professional conference. Most conferences and networking events have a hashtag that you can use when posting pictures and sharing information about the event on social media. You can use the hashtag to share your thoughts on the conference, learn about conference events, and connect with other conference attendees.

Tips for Using Hashtags for Job Searching

Use hashtags that are already common. Don’t create new hashtags and hope that people start to use them. Make sure to use hashtags that are already popular among the groups you are interested in getting to know. To know which hashtags are popular, check out what influential people in your industry are using on their social media platforms. Ask colleagues which hashtags they use or follow, and whether they participate in any Twitter chats.

Be careful which hashtags you use. Similarly, make sure you use hashtags that are not only in use, but are used by people you want to be associated with.

For example, if you include the hashtag #hunt to try and convey that you are job searching, you will link your post with hunting enthusiasts rather than employment recruiters! Before adding a hashtag, do a quick search to see who else tends to use the hashtag.

Use hashtags to share professional content. Make sure that, when you include a hashtag related to your job search on a social media post, your post is professional. Do not include a hashtag like #jobsearching on a post about your pets, for example. Keep both your hashtags and your content professional.

Use hashtags sparingly. While hashtags are a useful new tool for job seeking, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to include dozens of hashtags in every LinkedIn article you post or every tweet you write. Select two or three hashtags that will be particularly useful for your specific job search needs. Similarly, remember to continue to use more traditional job search methods (such as using job search engines and participating in face-to-face networking events).

Best Hashtags for a Job Search

Here are some popular hashtags that you might consider either using in your own social media posts, or searching for on your various social media platforms.

When you’re actively looking for a new gig, you already know that it’s smart to lean on your network. After all, the more people you have in your corner, the better.

But, here’s the thing: There’s also a little bit of shame that comes along with that approach.

Not only do you need to openly admit that you’re on the hunt for something new (which is extra embarrassing if your last job didn’t end on great terms), but you also need to throw yourself on the mercy of the people in your professional circle and ask them for help.

I get it—as important and beneficial as these sorts of requests ultimately are, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to make.

So, to take some of the palm sweat out of the situation, I’ve pulled together four different email templates you can use to let different people in your network know that you’re currently open to new opportunities.

Email #1: Someone You Used to Work Closely With

Perhaps it’s your supervisor from your college internship. Or, maybe it’s your favorite colleague from one of your previous jobs. Either way, nobody knows your skills and preferences better than the people you used to work side-by-side with—meaning they can be a huge help in your job search.

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ve been keeping up with you on LinkedIn, and it looks like things are going awesome with [job or professional interest].

I’m getting in touch to let you know that I’m currently searching for a new opportunity in [industry]. With my background in [field] and skills in [area], my ideal position involves [detailed description of ideal job] for an employer who [detailed description of ideal company].

Since we used to work so closely and I know you’re so well-connected, I’d love if you could let me know if you hear of any opportunities that you think I’d be a good fit for. I’ve attached my resume to this email, just in case that helps.

Of course, I’m always willing to return the favor if you ever need.

Thanks so much, [Name]! I have so many fond memories of our time together at [Company], and I hope things are even better for you since then.

Email #2: Someone Who Works in Your Desired Industry

Sending a note to someone who is already employed in the field you’re eager to be a part of is always helpful, but especially when you’re making a career change. Chances are good that he or she is connected to other people in the industry—some of whom might even be hiring.

I hope you’re doing well!

I’m reaching out to let you know that I’ve decided to make a career change. Thus, I’m currently exploring different opportunities in [industry].

Since I know you’ve worked in the industry for quite a while, I thought you’d be the perfect person to get in touch with. If you become aware of any open roles that might be a good fit for someone with a background in [field], skills in [area], and a desire to learn, I’d love if you could give me a heads up. You can also find my resume attached to this email to get a better understanding of what I bring to the table.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate any help as I work on making this switch.

Thanks so much, [Name]!

Email #3: Someone You’re Hoping Will Make an Intro

You’ve identified someone that you know could be a huge asset to you in your job search. The only problem? You don’t know him or her yourself. Fortunately, someone in your own network is connected to that person—and you’re hoping you can get introduced.

I hope things have been going great for you!

I’m touching base today with a request. I’m currently pursuing new jobs in [industry] and am actively working on making more connections within this field.

I noticed that you know [Name], and I was hoping that you’d be willing to connect me with [him/her]. As I’m sure you know [Name] has a ton of great insights into my area of interest, and I’d love to get connected so that I could ask [him/her] a few questions about the industry and [his/her] experience in general.

Would you be willing to send a brief email introducing the two of us? I’d appreciate that so much.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, [Name].

Thanks for your consideration!

Email #4: Anyone Else

Then there’s everybody else in your network—the acquaintances that you’re somewhat in touch with, yet don’t fall into any of the categories above.

Rest assured, it can still be worth updating them on your job hunt (provided it’s not a totally out-of-the-blue message to somebody you’ve never actually met or interacted with). The more people you have keeping the ear to the ground, the better your search for a new position will go.

I hope things have been awesome!

I’m jotting you a quick note to let you know that I’m currently searching for a new career opportunity in [desired industry]. With my background in [area], I’m ideally looking for a [type of position] role with an employer who [describe ideal employer]. For a greater understanding of my professional qualifications, you can find my resume attached to this email.

If you hear of anything within your own network that you think might fit the bill, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way.

Let me know if I can ever return the favor, [Name]. I’m happy to do so!

Enlisting the help of your network in your job search can feel a little awkward. However, your professional contacts can also be a huge benefit—meaning it’s worth it to swallow your pride, send that note, and ask for a little bit of assistance. And fortunately, these email templates make that a whole lot easier.

Just remember to return the favor when the opportunity presents itself!

6 tips for how to manage anxiety while job hunting

Posted Apr 10, 2013

THE BASICS

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Find a therapist to overcome anxiety

Use the Poor Economy to Your Advantage

The recent poor economic conditions mean that there are many people with gaps in their resume. You are still young, and many people your age have little to no significant work experience. You don’t say what your education or training is, but you did well academically.

Reframe Lack of Experience

If asked about your lack of experience, you could say: “I was fortunate that I was able to devote my full efforts to my studies. If I get the job, I would focus on my work just as I did on my studies. My academic record shows that I am very capable.”

How to find free help for your job hunt

How to find free help for your job hunt

My husband, also a psychologist, tells the story of his first interview for a psychologist position with a juvenile court. He was so nervous that his hands were shaking. The more he tried to appear calm, the worse it became. The interviewer asked him how he would do in court testimony given how anxious he appeared. Greg responded: “You’re right, I am very nervous because I really want this job. I would love this work and I have great training in this area. I believe I would do well in court–even though I’m visibly nervous today, I have still been able to answer all your questions appropriately.” He got the job, and that is how he started his career.

Plan for Questions

Greg is now in management and was recently on the other side of the interviewing table. He had one woman explain the gaps in her resume this way: “I have had difficulty finding a good job, so I have worked a lot of part-time jobs. Then I realized I needed to improve my skills, so I took additional classes. I’m always looking to improve myself and make myself more marketable.” I realize this example may not fit you, but the point is, she planned a way to address the question she was likely to be asked. That helped her come across as more confident.

Highlight Traits Positively

Many people are in the same position, even if they don’t have anxiety. If you feel a need to explain your anxiety, you might frame it positively: “I sometimes can feel rather anxious. Sometimes that means I don’t perform so well in an interview. On the other hand, this characteristic makes me very hard working and conscientious, which helped me do so well in school. I believe it would also enable me to be very productive in this position.”

One theme here is that anxiety has positive aspects, although it is unpleasant at the time.

Gallery: 7 Ways to Use Social Media to Land a Job

Social media is a key player in the job search process today.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside the confines of a résumé, cover letter, or interview—while they offer job seekers the opportunity to learn about companies they’re interested in; connect with current and former employees; and hear about job openings instantaneously, among other things.

That’s probably why half of all job seekers are active on social networking sites on a daily basis, and more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.

Career transition and talent development consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison asked hundreds of job seekers via an online poll, “How active are you on social networking sites?” Forty-eight percent said they’re very active on a daily basis, while 19% said they log on about two or three times per week. Another 22% said they use social networking sites one to three times per month, or less. Only 11% of job seekers said they never use social networking websites.

“I was really excited to see how many job seekers are active on social media,” says Helene Cavalli, vice president of marketing at Lee Hecht Harrison. “As strong advocates, we spend a lot of time coaching job seekers on how to develop a solid social media strategy. While it isn’t the only strategy for finding a job, it’s becoming increasingly important.”

Greg Simpson, a senior vice president at Lee Hecht Harrison, said in a press statement that job seekers must understand how hiring managers and recruiters are using social media in all phases of the selection process.

To help job seekers better understand the role of social media in their job search, CareerBuilder.com conducted a survey last year that asked 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals if, how, and why they incorporate social media into their hiring process.

First they found that 37% of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates. That means about two in five companies browse your social media profiles to evaluate your character and personality–and some even base their hiring decision on what they find.

“Social media is a primary vehicle of communication today, and because much of that communication is public, it’s no surprise some recruiters and hiring managers are tuning in,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

CareerBuilder also asked employers why they use social networks to research candidates, and 65% said they do it to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally. About half (51%) want to know if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture, and another 45% want to learn more about his or her qualifications. Some cited “to see if the candidate is well-rounded” and “to look for reasons not to hire the candidate,” as their motives.

So, if you’re among the 89% of job seekers that use social networking sites (daily, sometimes, or rarely), you’ll want to be careful.

A third (34%) of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.

(Haefner says no matter what information is found on a candidate, and regardless of where it’s found, the process has to abide by fair and equal hiring practices.)

“If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it’s working to your advantage,” Haefner says. “Take down or secure anything that could potentially be viewed by an employer as unprofessional and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way.”

Brad Schepp, co-author of How To Find A Job On LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, adds: Make sure any profiles you write are free of typos, the information is coherent and applicable to your industry [or job you’re trying to land], and your photos present you in a favorable light. You can verify the applicability of the information by checking profiles of others in the same field.”

The information you provide online about your job background and accomplishments should also be consistent, he says. “Don’t assume an employer will only be checking you out on LinkedIn. They may also check Facebook, or even Twitter and Google+. The story you tell on each site should be pretty much the same, although it’s fine to adapt the material for the site.”

The good news is that hiring managers aren’t just screening your social media profiles to dig up dirt; they’re also looking for information that could possibly give you an advantage. The CareerBuilder survey revealed that 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job.

In some cases it was that the employer got a good feel for the candidate’s personality. Others chose to hire because the profile conveyed a professional image. In some instances it was because background information supported professional qualifications, other people posted great references about the candidate, or because the profile showed that the job seeker is creative, well-rounded, or has great communication skills.

This means the job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; they should work on building strong social networks and creating online profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace, Simpson said in a press statement. “Job seekers who are silent or invisible online may be at a disadvantage. They need to engage on social networking sites to increase their visibility and searchability with prospective employers,” he said.

Cavalli agrees. “It’s not enough to only post a profile and check your news feed. There are a lot of lurkers–people who have an online profile but don’t do anything or engage in any meaningful way. You need to give to the social networking communities, participate in group discussions, share expertise, point someone to an article. You have to work it. While it can feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not the time to be timid.”

When you’re actively looking for a new gig, you already know that it’s smart to lean on your network. After all, the more people you have in your corner, the better.

But, here’s the thing: There’s also a little bit of shame that comes along with that approach.

Not only do you need to openly admit that you’re on the hunt for something new (which is extra embarrassing if your last job didn’t end on great terms), but you also need to throw yourself on the mercy of the people in your professional circle and ask them for help.

I get it—as important and beneficial as these sorts of requests ultimately are, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to make.

So, to take some of the palm sweat out of the situation, I’ve pulled together four different email templates you can use to let different people in your network know that you’re currently open to new opportunities.

Email #1: Someone You Used to Work Closely With

Perhaps it’s your supervisor from your college internship. Or, maybe it’s your favorite colleague from one of your previous jobs. Either way, nobody knows your skills and preferences better than the people you used to work side-by-side with—meaning they can be a huge help in your job search.

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ve been keeping up with you on LinkedIn, and it looks like things are going awesome with [job or professional interest].

I’m getting in touch to let you know that I’m currently searching for a new opportunity in [industry]. With my background in [field] and skills in [area], my ideal position involves [detailed description of ideal job] for an employer who [detailed description of ideal company].

Since we used to work so closely and I know you’re so well-connected, I’d love if you could let me know if you hear of any opportunities that you think I’d be a good fit for. I’ve attached my resume to this email, just in case that helps.

Of course, I’m always willing to return the favor if you ever need.

Thanks so much, [Name]! I have so many fond memories of our time together at [Company], and I hope things are even better for you since then.

Email #2: Someone Who Works in Your Desired Industry

Sending a note to someone who is already employed in the field you’re eager to be a part of is always helpful, but especially when you’re making a career change. Chances are good that he or she is connected to other people in the industry—some of whom might even be hiring.

I hope you’re doing well!

I’m reaching out to let you know that I’ve decided to make a career change. Thus, I’m currently exploring different opportunities in [industry].

Since I know you’ve worked in the industry for quite a while, I thought you’d be the perfect person to get in touch with. If you become aware of any open roles that might be a good fit for someone with a background in [field], skills in [area], and a desire to learn, I’d love if you could give me a heads up. You can also find my resume attached to this email to get a better understanding of what I bring to the table.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate any help as I work on making this switch.

Thanks so much, [Name]!

Email #3: Someone You’re Hoping Will Make an Intro

You’ve identified someone that you know could be a huge asset to you in your job search. The only problem? You don’t know him or her yourself. Fortunately, someone in your own network is connected to that person—and you’re hoping you can get introduced.

I hope things have been going great for you!

I’m touching base today with a request. I’m currently pursuing new jobs in [industry] and am actively working on making more connections within this field.

I noticed that you know [Name], and I was hoping that you’d be willing to connect me with [him/her]. As I’m sure you know [Name] has a ton of great insights into my area of interest, and I’d love to get connected so that I could ask [him/her] a few questions about the industry and [his/her] experience in general.

Would you be willing to send a brief email introducing the two of us? I’d appreciate that so much.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, [Name].

Thanks for your consideration!

Email #4: Anyone Else

Then there’s everybody else in your network—the acquaintances that you’re somewhat in touch with, yet don’t fall into any of the categories above.

Rest assured, it can still be worth updating them on your job hunt (provided it’s not a totally out-of-the-blue message to somebody you’ve never actually met or interacted with). The more people you have keeping the ear to the ground, the better your search for a new position will go.

I hope things have been awesome!

I’m jotting you a quick note to let you know that I’m currently searching for a new career opportunity in [desired industry]. With my background in [area], I’m ideally looking for a [type of position] role with an employer who [describe ideal employer]. For a greater understanding of my professional qualifications, you can find my resume attached to this email.

If you hear of anything within your own network that you think might fit the bill, I’d so appreciate if you could send a heads up my way.

Let me know if I can ever return the favor, [Name]. I’m happy to do so!

Enlisting the help of your network in your job search can feel a little awkward. However, your professional contacts can also be a huge benefit—meaning it’s worth it to swallow your pride, send that note, and ask for a little bit of assistance. And fortunately, these email templates make that a whole lot easier.

Just remember to return the favor when the opportunity presents itself!