Everyone knows someone who has been laid off or looking for a new job. As former colleagues and friends we want to help out, but we may not have the resources or the job to offer. However, there are still things that we can do to help them find a job. The first thing to know is that you can’t find the job for them!
Providing emotional support is one of the most positive things you can do. It is very easy for your friend to get so wrapped up in finding a job that they may become depressed or discouraged when they don’t get the immediate results they want. Providing emotional support is not telling them things that you think they want to hear, but being honest with them about the situation. Times are tough and people are not landing jobs as quickly. They may have to take a pay cut or a job offering less in terms of benefits. Thinking in terms of housing prices and whether or not it is a buyers or sellers market applies now to the job market. There are many more applicants for a single job and thus it is an employer market so strategies have to be pointed toward this fact.
1. Focus on their positive skills and attributes. Discuss with them what you see as their strongest skills and abilities. When they are in the job search they need to be able to tell people what they can offer. We tend to be in a society that does not look fondly on bragging about ourselves. We were told as young children that it isn’t polite. But, now is the time that they need be vocal about their skills and accomplishments.
2. Keep them busy. The full-time activity should be in the job search, but having time off to relax and enjoy themselves is still important as well. Think of things that you can do with them that does not cost a lot of money, but offers enjoyment and a deviation from the job search.
3. Keep aware of companies and people who may need the skill sets that your friend has to offer. You can act as an additional resource by pointing them to information that you come across or may find. You may have contacts on some of your social networking sites that you can provide referrals and introductions. When the time comes you can also provide a reference.
You can act as a sounding board and allow your friend to bounce off ideas, conduct mock interviews, rehearse their elevator pitch (30 second commercial), and review their resume or correspondence for grammar and flow. Although you can’t find them a job only they can do that, your support and understanding will help them stay positive and motivated to continue the job search.
Things may seem gloomy to the job searcher and there are many things that they have to think about: changing industries, moving out-of-state, going back to school, accepting less money, working part-time, accepting temporary work, cutting personal expenses, etc. Another perspective on these topics will help them to vet through the process and be more grounded in their search.
We define ourselves by our work. Remember that just because someone is out of work doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to offer in discussions. A person out of work can feel like a man without a country. Keep them engaged in discussing their industry in a positive manner. Help them move away from always talking about their last employer which may keep them focused on the past and expand their skills and accomplishments across the broader industry.
Job layoffs can happen to anyone. It’ not a disease and shouldn’t be treated as such. The best way to find a job is to stay engaged in life by staying in contact with people, reading, watching the news and being optimistic about the future.