Nobody really enjoys asking others for favors, but there is a way to do it that erases the weird feelings around it. Marika Frumes, co-founder and CEO of HER USA, shared a seven-step method for asking for what you truly want at our recent Wellness Collective event with Athleta—without the whole "I was wondering if it would possibly be okay to..." type of email.
"As women, we really suck at asking for things," Frumes says. And it's true. How many times do you apologize or say thank you as a reflex? "We feel like we burden people when we ask for things, but that's not the case," Frumes adds. So, put yourself in the other person's shoes when you're drafting an email to a potential connection—would you really be that inconvenienced by that favor?
Want to know how to ask for help in a non-awkward email? Keep scrolling for the exact steps.
1. Start with why you're asking that specific person
Before jumping into what you want, explain why you chose them. "You are giving someone a gift by asking something from them," Frumes says. Similar to when your friend asks you to help tune up her resume or share your signature recipe, your point of contact will feel seen and appreciated.
Frumes suggests starting with something along the lines of: "You are the most thoughtful connector I know" or "I so value your opinion as a thought leader." Giving them that kudos up front will go a long way.
2. Be real
While you should humble brag about your accomplishments and the highlights of your resume, being vulnerable is also pertinent. "People resonate with human emotion and we've all been in difficult moments," Frumes says. "When asked directly and vulnerably, our natural instinct is to help." If you've been struggling to find the right industry or role to get into, share that and see how this person could help.
3. Make sure you're clear on what you're asking
You want it to be as easy as possible for the person you're reaching out to to understand what your ask is so they aren't faced with a novel. So, state what you want and how you want it—all in a concise way.
4. Provide all the materials your contact will need
On that note, you want your person to be able to facilitate your ask as easily as possible. So, if you're looking for a career change or an intro to a new field, have a template email ready for this contact to send through for you. "And never forget to attach your resume," Frumes adds.
5. End with gratitude
This one's simple, but be extra gracious when signing off the email. This could lead to a new opportunity, so don't just brush it off. Tie this back to remembering why you're asking this person in the first place.
6. Follow up
"The people you reach out to are probably some of the busiest people," Frumes says. Sometimes, you'll need to send a few gentle reminders until they respond—but don't be discouraged.
7. Remember what your contact did for you
If this person was able to hook you up with a new job or introduce you to a mentor, do something special for them. "Make sure you truly recognize and thank them," Frumes says. Maybe that's sending a thank you card and their favorite coffee order or inviting them out to a thank-you lunch. Okay, ready to go ask for what you want now?
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