Saturday Morning Rounds September 21, 2019 - How to ask for career advice (and network in general) without being annoying

Posted by BossB, MD on September 21, 2019
BossB, MD

Saturday Morning Rounds
A weekly round-up of everything that captured our attention over the last 7 days
What we're reading

How to Ask Someone for Career Advice Without Being Annoying by Talia Jane at VICE.

This article was inspired by a tweet that went viral - especially in the STEM and medicine fields - about how times have changed when it comes to job searching.

In her piece, the author starts by addressing the fact that the types of people who you might want to contact (leaders, influencers, etc) are likely already inundated by DMs and emails asking to "pick their brain." Which is absolutely true, and is a real downside to professional success that a lot of people, especially those higher in altruism (ie women), struggle to manage.

She goes on to point out that the "gumption tactic" alone is insufficient, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out at all, either. It just means that you should do your homework, be as precise and specific to that individual as possible, and make sure you've already read anything they've published on the topic before contacting them.

Great advice! We'll actually give you some "how-to" tactics to put it into action in our "tip of the week" section.

Who we're following

The Women In Medicine Summit (@WIMSummit) is in full swing this weekend, and we are loving the content we've seen coming from them so far! Follow their hashtags:

To stay on top of all the great content being presented today!

BBMD tip of the week

So you want to "shoot your shot" and reach out to your dream mentor/employer/advisor/etc? Great! We've already talked about being specific and doing your homework, but what should you actually do and say? Great question. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Always try to get a warm introduction from a shared connection if possible
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point - they shouldn't have to scroll to read the whole thing and it shouldn't be more than 5-7 sentences total
  • WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) is everyone's favorite radio station - remember to frame your correspondence in terms of the benefit to them wherever possible. When not possible, address the fact that you're humbly asking for help without offering anything in return. People are still nice and generally good, and if you've done your research and actually arrived at some interesting sticking point, they'll probably want to help you.
  • Make a specific ask, and format it - and only it - in bold so it's quick & easy for them to know how they can help (example below)
  • In our curriculum we call this being "Other-Centered" - it's also called "perspective-taking" - and here are some more tips to pull it off:

Quote we're contemplating

"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care" - Theodore Roosevelt


As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions on Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!