How to Ask for Help

Published on
December 17, 2023
Time to read: 
Wooden scrabble tiles spell out Tips and Tricks in black letters on a white background.
This Tips and Tricks post shares a template for asking for help.

Asking for help can be incredibly difficult, especially for those of us who were raised to be self-reliant, and conditioned to avoid doing this. It can be particularly hard for those who’ve felt like they were punished for asking for help in the past.

That being said, each of us needs help from others to achieve our goals and thrive.

 After I shared a step-by-step request for help template with one of my connections in late November, it occurred to me that I could write a blog about asking for help!


Here is an email template for how to ask for help:

1. Greet the person, in the way they prefer to be greeted.

2. Describe the "problem" that is the situation or circumstances that have led you to ask for help. This should be succinct, 2 or 3 sentences, one paragraph at most.

3. If it's not evident, explain why you're reaching out to the person you're asking for help. Be concise.

4. Outline your "ask," you may list a few types of assistance that you believe would be helpful.

5. Acknowledge that you're open to other alternative forms of help.

6. Express your gratitude for whatever assistance the person is willing to provide.

7. Sign off with how the person can contact you, to further discuss the way forward.



You should be prepared for the person you’re asking for help to say "no" to your request. While most of us like to help others, when life and work are challenging, we don't always have the bandwidth to help folks in the way they would like to be helped. Don't take it personally. Just as I encourage each of you to have boundaries, I also encourage you to respect other peoples’ boundaries.


Since the folks I generally work with one to one are either entrepreneurs creating their own jobs, or people seeking a job with an employer whose values align with their own, I decided to share a sample for each.

For Entrepreneurs

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses as a side hustle, and continue to try and do everything on their own, even when they concentrate on their business as their sole means of income. The thing is none of us can do everything well.  Learning how to ask for help can be of huge benefit.


Sample of an entrepreneur email asking for help:

1. Hello Chantal

2. I’ve got this fabulous business idea, but no funds.  I’d like to start a café, celebrating diversity in my community, while also creating a sense of belonging for folks who feel under-represented here.  I don’t have a lot of money to invest in this business, and I’ve found an excellent space, that I’d like to rent and renovate. I’m afraid that if I don’t find the funds soon, I’ll miss out on this opportunity.

3. I’m reaching out to you, because I’ve noticed your posts on LinkedIn talking about the Business Coaching you offer.

4. How can I go about accessing grants and loans for my start-up business? Do you know of organizations funding start-ups?

5. I’m open to any suggestions you’d like to share.

6. Thank you for reading my email!

7. I prefer to communicate by email, WhatsApp and text message. If you choose to text me, please tell me who you are, in the first text.


For Job Seekers

Looking for jobs can be demoralizing, especially for those who’ve invested a lot of time and money getting the education and credentials required for their preferred career, who are having difficulty getting jobs with employers that recognize their potential.


Sample of a Job Seeker email asking for help:

1. Hello Chantal.

2. I’ve been looking for a better job, with more consistent hours, and better wages for two years. I’ve literally applied to hundreds of jobs, and rarely get invited to interviews. I’m also seeking a living wage.

3. I’m reaching out to you, because I’ve read your Job Search blogs and feel like you’d be the right person to help me.

4. How do I find out which employers in the Bay of Quinte region are hiring, beyond public job boards?

5. I’m open to any suggestions you have.

6. Thank you for reading my email.

7. I’m available for a phone call, or video call, at your convenience.


Optional Homework

I know it can be tough to ask for help!

Start with a small ask, for example inviting someone to connect with you on LinkedIn. The more you practice asking for help, the easier it is.

Just remember, sometimes the folks we’d like to help us, aren’t able to.

Over to you!