3 Unexpected People You Should Contact When You’re Looking for a Job

Joanne Poh



When some people are about to graduate from university or about to get fired form their job, they start mobilising their networks in hopes of obtaining some big fat job leads. The obvious people to turn to tend to be their seniors at school, who are hopefully now in a senior position at work and capable of pointing them to some juicy leads, and their former bosses or internship mentors.

The problem is that those in high places already receive lots of disingenuous “hi, I was wondering…” emails from former subordinates or juniors. Some might even have sworn off recommending people as employees after being burnt by an unreliable hire. Here are a few people you might not immediately think of contacting, but who might be surprisingly willing to lend a helping hand.


1. Former teachers

Your former boss at your internship has his pick of interns to choose from, and unless you were outstanding there’s a high chance a lot of your peers outshone you. However, your former teachers are not only at the age where they might actually know people at a high enough level of seniority to help you out, unless they’re completely cold-hearted they also want to see you succeed.

No matter how much of a terror you were at school, lots of teachers love it when their former charges come back to see them. If you’re still in touch with university professors, they have the added bonus of knowing people in relevant industries.

Even if they don’t have a direct lead for you, by virtue of their age and experience your teachers should have some pearls of wisdom to dispense in respect of your budding career. Way to make you feel bad for being such a little monster back then!


2. Your mahjong kaki / MMA sparring partner / tennis buddy

Former colleagues, schoolmates and random networking acquaintances might be able to help you out—if they’re not actually in competition with you, that is. The problem with trying to get leads through people with whom you once had a working relationship is that they might not relate to you on a personal level, seeing you instead as this unit in the workplace. So don’t be surprised if they keep some of the best career leads for themselves and those close to them.

On the other hand, the people you’ve met through your interests, hobbies or social circle see you as that fun guy who’s always up for a laugh. And you might actually know who they are as people, rather than simply as office workers. These are all conducive to caring and sharing.


3. Your doctor or dentist

You might only see your doctor or dentist once a year, but over time some sort of bond has formed. He might not know everything about your life, but he has peered into your mouth or under your clothes, which creates a kind of intimacy. Next time you go for a checkup, tell your doctor or dentist about your job woes. He or she might be able to help you out or introduce you to someone who can. Some doctors and dentists can be extremely well-connected.

I have a friend who whose dentist introduced her to a headhunter in her industry who ended up getting her a job. Remember, your doctor or dentist wants you to do well in your career, especially if he or she is one at a private clinic or hospital that you’ve been frequenting for years. This is probably not going to work if you go to a polyclinic and hit up a random doctor though.

Have you ever obtained job leads from unexpected people? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.