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To wasta, or not to wasta?

To wasta, or not to wasta?

There are times when you should call on your connections, and times when you definitely should not. Here’s when you should let your credentials stand on their own two feet.

August 5, 2010 4:40 by



Not long ago, I was thinking of a summer job abroad. I checked the job postings in the town where a favorite uncle lives, and voila, found one that seemed like a perfect fit. I sent him an email to suggest the possibility that he might have some “wasta” with the company – otherwise known as “pull,” “influence,” or “connections.”

His reply? “Wasta is not always the best strategy in these times.”

And it turns out experts often agree. While a little insider connectedness certainly may not hurt, it isn’t always fool proof, either. In fact, career experts are crystal clear on the ways you shouldn’t use those friends, relatives, and others in the know to further your career aspirations.

The money experts at US News and World Report offer these savvy guidelines for navigating the murky waters of “wasta.” Check them out before you call in the reinforcements:

1. “Don’t assume personal friendship transfers to a professional relationship. Sometimes it is better for us to present our own skills to the HR manager than have someone who really doesn’t know us in this way present them,” the report says. Particularly in the case of specialized work outside the professional scope of your friend or relative, he or she may not be the best one to highlight your strengths.

2. “Don’t make your job-hunting problems the first time you have ever talked about your career or work,” the experts suggest. If you’ve never mentioned your professional life with a potential connection, then the leap to asking for career help is just too big to make.



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