Job hunting can be a long, tedious process, even if you're fairly qualified and experienced in your field. So if you come to realize that there's an open position at the company a friend of yours works for, your natural inclination might be to ask that pal to submit a resume on your behalf.
It's a smart tactic in some regards, since networking is known to be an effective means of getting hired. But requesting that a friend vouch for you can be tricky on several levels, so if you're going to ask that favor, keep the following points in mind.
1. Make sure you're a viable candidate for the job
It's natural to want to jump on a job opening when you have a so-called "in" at the company listing it. But before you ask a friend who works there to recommend you, review the description thoroughly and make sure you truly have the skills needed to be considered seriously.
If you don't, then there's no sense in putting a friend in that position because one of two things will happen -- your friend will endorse you to avoid hurting your feelings and potentially look bad at work for doing so, or your friend will say no and feel bad about denying your request. Neither is ideal, so don't risk straining that relationship.
Furthermore, if your friend does recommend you for the wrong job and folks at his or her company get annoyed, it could hurt your chances of getting in the door when the right opportunity pops up. If you're not sure you have the skills at play, you can, of course, ask your friend for some input. But if the answer ends up being no, accept that ruling graciously.
2. Make sure you actually want the job
When you've been out of work or have been miserable at your current job for quite some time, it's normal to jump on any opportunity to escape that negative situation. But before you ask a friend to endorse you for a job, make certain it's a role you'll really be content with. The last thing you want to do is have a friend recommend you, get an offer, and reject it when you come to your senses and realize that the work at hand isn't what you want to spend your days doing or that the schedule you'll be facing doesn't work for your lifestyle (say, if there's lots of travel involved).
Another non-ideal situation? Accepting an offer for the role your friend recommended you for and leaving the company several months later. That, too, might subject your friend to some backlash, and frankly, that's just not fair.
3. Determine whether working together will negatively impact your relationship
Just because a friend recommends you for a job doesn't mean you'll be working together. But if getting hired does mean collaborating with your friend in a professional setting, you'll need to consider the ramifications it might have on your relationship. For one thing, if your friend is in a superior position, things could get uncomfortable. The same holds true if you and your friend are peers but come to butt heads frequently.
And then there's the danger of having work matters monopolize so much of your relationship that when you spend time together in social settings, your conversations revolve around job-related topics. That could impact your work-life balance and change the nature of your friendship in a very unfavorable way.
Having a friend recommend you for a job is a great way to increase your chances of getting an interview or even getting hired. Just make sure that you're qualified for the job, you want the job, and you won't be compromising that friendship in the process.