What You Can (and Can't) Ask for on Behalf of the New Grad in Your Life

Looking for a job takes effort—and networking and multiple resumes and various drafts of your cover letter—at any stage. But it’s particularly challenging as a recent grad. Everything is new, and everyone makes some embarrassing mistakes and learns through trial by fire.

So, if this experience is (thankfully) in the rearview mirror, and you know a recent grad you really believe in, you might want to share your hard-earned lessons and contacts.

Without a doubt, paying it forward is admirable. The problem arises when you make a totally unreasonable (translation: uncomfortable) ask of your contact—on behalf of a 22-year-old she’s never even met. Too often, people think that asking for a favor for someone else, especially a recent grad, gives them carte blanche. In other words, while you’d never call a friend up out of the blue and ask for a job for yourself, it’s suddenly OK to ask someone to find a way to hire your niece or nephew.

So, before you start asking (a.k.a. scaring) your network, here are a few reminders of what you can—and can’t—ask for on behalf of someone else. They may not say it so many words, but your contacts will be forever grateful—and more inclined to help!—if you follow these rules.