Asking For Career Help When You Need It: 5 Empowering Tips
I meet lots of self-directed, self-possessed women who struggle with asking for help – especially when it comes to their careers. Many coaching clients and women I’ve met during workshops and speaking engagements have shared how difficult it’s been to reach out – a lot of them feeling that asking for help is akin to ‘falling down on the job’.

I know the feeling. When I was transitioning out of a career in Music, it was difficult to ask for help at first. I’d always been adept at handling things, and felt like this would be no different. I quickly learned that the Sea change I was going through was not something I could handle by myself.

It was a scary time, but reaching out for help was my saving grace. It was what helped get me out of bed in the morning and headed in a new direction, and it was ultimately the genesis for my career in Professional Development. I wouldn’t be where I am in my work today, fifteen years later, without help from so many supportive people.

If you’re in need, know that career help is close at hand for you too. Here are five tips to help you get it:

1. Pride To The Side. Asking for help can be a matter of pride for many. Too many women are hesitant because they think they’ll appear vulnerable and weak. I encourage you to nip those thoughts in the proverbial bud and move past pride and ego. Asking for help is a sign of confidence, curiosity, and being proactive, and it’s amazing the resources that suddenly start to materialize when you declare your need for help out loud.

2. Find Mentors. Mentors are like-minded individuals you can find at work, through community and religious organizations, and within your immediate circle of friends and family. Seek out seasoned professionals who’ve been there done that who can provide guidance and validation.

3. Maintain Your Network. Reaching out to your network on a regular basis will help create a reliable source of support and reference – especially if you need to find a job or make a career change. If you haven’t connected in a while, touch base with former bosses and co-workers, happy customers, colleagues from trade or volunteer organizations – anyone you consider to be a part of your professional circle.

4. Find Coaching. Seek out career advice/coaching services to help put structure around the changes you want to make. Harness the power of the Internet, Meet-Up groups, and your circle of trusted friends to find support and referrals. Some community and religious organizations in your area may offer career support services for nominal fees or even at no charge.

5. Pay It Forward. It’s pretty safe to say that every successful person has had help along the way. When someone throws the ladder down to help you up, pay it forward by doing the same for someone else. It’s a wonderful feeling to connect an associate with a prospective employer, give feedback on a LinkedIn profile, or help with practice interviews.

So often, we think we’re supposed to be able to figure out career change all by ourselves – that it’s somehow admirable or more honorable to go it alone – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I give big kudos to anyone who has the courage to say, “I need help,” and then proceeds to go out and get it.