28 Ways to Help Someone Searching for a Job
How can you help someone who is looking for a Job? This article discusses 28 ways to help someone searching for a job.
If you have a friend, a colleague, neighbor or family member who is unemployed and looking for a job, you can use these tips to help them in their job search.
Job hunting can be a lonely and stressful experience. When someone is looking for a job, they need all the help, support and encouragement that they can possibly get.
There is nothing more frustrating than applying for tens and even hundreds of jobs and not hearing any response. It feels as if your cover letter and resume have gone into a black hole.
At those moments, stress and self-doubt slowly creep in and as time goes by it gets worse. So how can you help someone who is searching for a job?
Sometimes we don’t offer help because we are not sure how to go about offering help to a job seeker. However, any help is better than none.
You can lend a helping hand by doing something as simple as introducing someone to your contacts who could open doors for the person.
You can quickly skim all the 28 ways on the table of contents below and then click on any tip to dive in and dig into the details. Please enjoy reading. Thank you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Offer Emotional Support
- Make Personal Referrals and Introductions
- Review and Edit a Job seeker’s Resume
- Review a Job seeker’s Cover Letter
- Compare Notes and Points of View
- Interview Role-Playing
- Story Telling
- Analyze Trends
- Genuine Listening
- Share your Personal Stories
- Take a Job seeker to a Job Fair or a Networking Event
- Give them Space when they need it
- Be a Friend
- Social Media Profile Help
- Suggest Job Leads
- Be an Accountability Buddy
- Temp your Way to a Job
- Have Fun
- Do Interview Postmortems
- Offer a Ride
- Job seekers Support Group
- Continuing Education
- In-depth Research
- Offer Regular Reminders
- Non-verbal Communication and Practicing a Strong Handshake
- Work on Memory Exercises/Remembering People’s Names
- Don’t Take it Personal
- Celebration Time
One of the first things that you can do to help a job seeker is to offer emotional support.
When someone has been job hunting especially for a long time, their levels of self-confidence usually take a hit. You start questioning your knowledge, skills and abilities.
You can offer your support by listening to the job seeker, offering encouraging words, do not be judgmental, offer compassion and also offer a shoulder to cry on.
Crying is therapeutic, it helps to let out bottled up emotions and frustrations and enables one to feel better and be more objective after you have let out your worries through crying.
Encourage the job seeker to keep pushing on, one application at a time coupled with a never give up attitude no matter how fruitless the job search efforts might appear to be.
Encourage a dose of positivity but keep in mind that it is not easy to be positive and upbeat when you don’t know where next paycheck is coming from.
At all times show genuine care and love. A simple hug can also go a long way because a hug helps to reduce stress, calm someone down and lifts someone up.
In today’s super connected world, it is usually much easier to get a leg-in through a personal introduction or a referral.
When you are referred by someone who knows a hiring manager, it exponentially increases the chances of your resume being reviewed and being invited for an interview.
Therefore, a tried, tested and proven way of helping someone who is looking for a job is by introducing or referring them to a potential employer or hiring manager.
Introduce them to key contacts, invite them to networking events or open company events and introduce them to key players.
In addition, many employers give higher preference to job candidates who have been referred by current employees.
Many organizations have employee referral programs and even offer employee referral bonuses, so if there is a suitable match between the job requirements and job skills and experience of the job seeker, by all means go ahead and make that referral.
A resume is a “live” document that is constantly being tweaked and updated as someone’s career progresses. You can help someone who is looking for a job by offering to review their resume.
A resume should answer two key questions: (1.) What can you do for the company? (2.) How did you perform in the other jobs that you have held in the past?
When reviewing a job seeker’s resume, look out for red flags such as listing job descriptions and responsibilities instead of listing achievements or accomplishments.
Also look out for clichés and generic descriptions such as: team-player, highly qualified, hard-working, results-oriented, go-getter, career-objective, self-starter, problem-solver, flexible, people-person, detail-oriented etc.
Ensure that the job seeker is selling himself or herself effectively by quantifying achievements.
Quantifying accomplishments is a challenge for most people, therefore you can spend some quality time with the job seeker to critically think through and analyze the things that they are most proud of doing at their previous roles and how to re-word these successes using metrics.
For example: Designed and implemented a new customer survey project, trained 3 staff on how to administer the survey, project started on schedule and finished at 20% under budget thus saving company $15,000 and increased customer satisfaction by 35%.
Also check if the job seeker has used realistic action verbs in their resumes – verbs such as: Developed, Organized, Planned, Redesigned, Resolved, Transformed etc.
Finally check for resume basics such as clean fonts, spellings, neat format, page numbers, length, correct and up-to-date contact information including telephone and email.
In addition, request the job seeker to put a professional voicemail greeting on their phone, if they haven’t already done so, in case any calls from potential employers go to voicemail.
A cover letter is not always the easiest document to write.
Many people agonize over writing a cover letter and sometimes get tempted to skip it all together.
A cover letter is the ‘extra mile’ that could help someone to get an interview; it is an additional opportunity to sell yourself.
You should always strive to send a cover letter unless an employer has explicitly stated that you should not send a cover letter.
You can help out someone who is looking for a job by reading their cover letter and making edits. A second pair of eyes helps to catch any errors and inconsistencies.
The key thing to look out for is whether the cover letter is simply repeating the information that is already on the resume. That approach is not helpful.
Challenge the job seeker to critically think about what unique skills they will bring to the job, what excites them about the job that they are applying for, what excites them about the company they are applying to.
Customize the letter and inject some dosage of their personality to the cover letter, and aim to answer two key questions: (1.) Why you? (2.) Why do you want to work for us?
What do you think are the job seeker’s strengths and weaknesses, versus what do they think are their strengths and weaknesses.
What careers and job opportunities do you think would best suit the job seeker versus what they think? Compare your notes and zero-in on the areas where there are commonalities.
It is insightful to see a second point of view versus what we see as our point of view. Sometimes an outsider might have a clearer perspective, or they could help us to refine our own perspective.
Encourage the job seeker to take various personality and psychometric tests to learn more about themselves, their preferences, their emotions and how as individuals they relate with others.
They can take personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Also encourage the job seeker to take Emotional Intelligence Tests.
You can practice interview role-playing with a job seeker. Do interview role playing and ask each other common interview questions such as – Tell me about yourself? Why are you interested in this job?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you know about this company? Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you have any questions for me?
Listen to how the job seeker answers the questions. Help the job seeker to practice their elevator pitch.
You can also repeat back the job seeker’s elevator pitch so that they can hear how it sounds and it can help their memory retention and further improvement and refinement of the pitch.
Stories get attention faster and arouse interest more than other forms of communication.
Story telling is a great asset to employ during job-hunting in areas such as cover letter, resume, social media profiles, videos and interviews. The key thing to note is to master how to tell a great story in a brief way.
One way to help someone who is looking for a job is by helping them to sell themselves using stories.
For example during interviews there are numerous opportunities to tell stories when asked questions such as: Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of, Tell me how you handled a difficult situation, Describe your greatest success and failure, Describe the best job you have ever had etc.
Ask the job seeker to tell you brief stories in response to questions like the ones above then listen to the story and critique it to make it better, more powerful and memorable.
The stories should not be embellished; they should be brief, genuine and demonstrate the job seekers personality and thinking process.
For example when talking about failure, the job seeker should explain about his/her failure or mistakes genuinely, what they learned from that experience including what they learnt about themselves and how they have used that knowledge to help them to improve going forward.
Another way to help someone who is looking for a job is by “future gazing”. In other words looking at current trends, emerging economic trends, emerging technologies and industries and trying to forecast what the future would look like.
This would entail being open minded and doing some research to see what skills and job opportunities would unfold in the future.
What kind of work skills would be needed in the future? Which industries are growing, which industries are shrinking?
Where would demand be in the future etc. and then take a long-term strategy approach to align yourself or figure out how you can position yourself to be in these new areas.
You can help a job seeker out by keeping your antenna up and your ear to the ground; you might hear something in the news, radio or read a random article online that might be useful.
Share these tips with the job seeker and together you can act as intelligence gathering resources as you try to predict where the wind will blow instead of focusing on where the wind has already blown.
Set aside time to talk with the job seeker and truly listen to them to learn about their job searching story, the challenges that they have faced, what strategies they have used, how they feel, and let them know the specific ways that you can help them in their job search.
If they ask you for advice you can offer, but please remember it is not about you so do not take it personally if they don’t take your advice.
Be patient with the job seeker as they make effort to find a job. In today’s job market it can take a long time to find a job.
Sometimes the job seeker would want to just vent out, be their vent receptacle, allow them to let out all their frustrations, encourage them to talk and listen attentively without any distractions such as looking at your cellphone while someone is talking.
It can be therapeutic to let out what they are feeling inside. Build a trust level and comfort for the job seeker by genuinely listening to them.
You can share your own personal stories of times when you were looking for a job, what challenges you faced, what fears and emotions went through your mind.
How you overcame the challenges, what help you received or didn’t receive from others, how much time it took to find a job, and what tactics you used to secure a job.
Offer to take a job seeker to job fairs and networking events. It helps to have a familiar friendly face when going to a job fair or a networking event.
It helps to take away nervousness and tension and can improve a job seeker performance, output and results in these events.
We all have moments when we just want to be alone to process our own thoughts and feelings. Likewise, sometimes the best way to help someone who is looking for a job is to give them space when they need it.
Let them take some time out to be alone and they can reach out to you when they are ready.
We get to know who our truest friends are during those moments in life when we are at our lowest points. Never ostracize, sideline or look down upon someone simply because they do not have a job. Be there and be available.
Remember that if things were turned around and you were the one who was looking for a job, wouldn’t you want your friend to be there for you?
Help job seekers to feel positive about themselves. Have rich, deep conversations with them. When was the last time that you had a deep, meaningful and mind stimulating conversation with someone who was looking for a job?
Perhaps it could be because life is so busy nowadays that taking a pause to have a long engaging conversation with someone could be seen as time wasting. Instead you would rather be busy being busy.
Open an ongoing dialogue with a job seeker. At the heart of it is the skill of asking open ended questions that invite more dialogue rather than brief answers or worse still yes or no type of answers.
Observe keenly how is the job seeker taking care of himself, perhaps he has let his beard grow too wild, go with him to the barber shop and hang out together, pay for drinks, coffee etc. do things that friends do.
If it is within your financial means, offer to buy high quality interview attire for a job seeker.
You can help out a job seeker by reviewing their social media profile on platforms such as LinkedIn and offer suggestions for how they can improve their profile. Is the job seekers profile complete or incomplete?
You can also write a recommendation for them on their profile.
If you are great at taking photos, you could take a great head shot for the job seeker to upload on their professional social media profile.
You can also check search engines to see what information is available out there regarding the job seeker and you can bring to their attention any information that is amiss or does not show them in the best light possible.
You could also shoot a brief video where the job seeker talks about their skills, experience and gives brief stories about themselves, their work accomplishments and what they can offer a future employer.
In case the job seeker does not know how to use social media, you can be their personal tutor and walk them through the ropes of how to use social media and open personal profiles.
Suggesting job leads is one of the best ways that you can directly turbo charge a job seekers job hunt.
You can visit job boards and other forums where jobs are listed and actively search for jobs that you think could be a good fit for the job seeker then forward emails of these job postings to the job seeker.
Whenever possible and as a common courtesy, try to consolidate all the different job leads that you come across into one daily or weekly email and then send one email to the job seeker rather than sending many emails to the job seeker each with one job lead.
Also send available job opportunities in your organization or other places. Share videos, career blogs and articles on job searching tips and other career development-related areas.
A word of caution, you do not want to create dependency by doing things like applying jobs for the job seeker or watching their every move like a hawk.
There are some gentle ways that you can be an accountability buddy for a jobseeker and offer some little tough love.
Looking for a job takes a lot of time, where you are in essence working to find work. You can act as an accountability partner to ensure that your friend is actively looking for a job and not slacking off.
Check-in from time to time to double-check on the progress that is being done towards job hunting, what diverse set of tactics are being used, and what different sources of job-leads are being used.
Be an accountability partner and mutually set a target or goal of applying, for example, for 3 jobs per day and check in regularly to ensure that this is being done.
As an accountability buddy you should not only check the quantity of jobs applied to but also the quality, for example if a job seeker is applying for jobs that are way above his or her skill set and experience level or asking for outrageous salary amounts, you can call them out on it and guide them appropriately.
Encourage a jobseeker to look at ‘temping’ or temporary work as an investment for the future. Hiring a new staff takes a lot of time and work mostly dealing with unknown quantities.
One alternative route that organizations adopt is to hire a temporary worker. Hiring a temporary worker is a relatively low risk decision for an organization as compared to hiring a full time worker.
When hired as a temporary worker, a jobseeker should strive to give stellar work performance.
If tables turn and the company decides to fill the position on a full-time basis, you stand a higher chance as a known quantity, someone who the organization has taken on a “test drive” and seen your horsepower and output.
Think of temping as a stretched out job interview where you are also being tested on your on the job skills. Temping also gives a jobseeker a leg up on the competition.
On the other hand, you also get a first-hand opportunity to interview the organization; since you have dipped your toes in the organizations swimming pool so to speak and you can see what is behind the curtains.
Is this a place where you want to work for a long time? How is the culture, morale etc.? Then you can decide to dive in and continue swimming in the pool or get out of the pool if you don’t like the water.
Have fun with a jobseeker by doing things that are not related to job searching. Invite a jobseeker for a fun activity, go to a park, go hiking, take a walk, and go for a barbecue.
Life is still going on and jobseekers also deserve to have some fun, as they continue their job search.
Don’t leave out a jobseeker from your fun activities simply because they don’t have a job. A friendship is not defined by a job.
Play board games like scrabble, monopoly, chess and checkers.
Go out and volunteer for a cause that you care about where you could get a chance to use and polish up your skills, learn new skills, meet new people and network. As you help others you also feel good about yourself.
Go outdoors and appreciate nature. Feel the wind, sunshine, breathe fresh air, smell flowers, smell grass.
Exercise, jog, do yoga, stretch, run, ride a bicycle, go for dinner, climb a flight of steps, watch a movie, do gardening, take stock of how far you have come – count your blessings, cook a good meal, talk or call a friend, sing karaoke.
Simply just hang out together and have fun.
Whenever a jobseeker goes for interviews, make an effort to catch up afterwards to quickly debrief and do a postmortem analysis of how the interview unfolded.
What went well, what didn’t, what could they have done better and use this “intel” to prepare better for future interviews.
However, keep in mind not to over analyze or over-think the interview process and outcome, you don’t want to get caught up in analysis paralysis.
A straightforward way to help someone who is looking for a job is by offering a ride to an interview, or a ride to do a dry run on the interview venue.
You should not be late for a job interview, don’t underestimate how long it will take to get to the place of interview.
It is a good idea, whenever possible, to do a dry run, to estimate how long it would take to get to the interview venue, and identify the exact building or location where the face-to-face interview will be held.
Every now and then we need to uplift and encourage ourselves. It can be through reading a book, attending a seminar, reading an inspirational quote, or listening to a song.
For a jobseeker, it can be uplifting to be in a support group with others who are facing the same circumstances as themselves. Encourage a jobseeker to join a support group to help in replenishing their motivational gas tank.
The support group could be offline or online or both. Perhaps the job seeker could even start a group where people can share tips, stories, and job leads – whatever information that can help someone else is always appreciated.
One casualty that is affected after many people leave school is the habit of reading regularly or daily. When we don’t have a carrot in front of us such as reading to pass an exam, reading falls on the wayside.
Reading regularly and better yet reading daily is an effective way to increase your knowledge and insights on various topics and disciplines.
The more you read the more widely exposed you become. You get to see different perspectives and you can connect the dots on different disciplines.
Continuing education does not necessarily need to entail spending money. There are multitudes of free learning resources online and in public libraries.
A common desire among many people is to increase the level of their proficiency, skills and abilities. As our capabilities increase so does our income potential and confidence.
Encourage job seekers to expand their skills by continuously reading books, articles, blogs, research papers, attend free webinars, watching instructional videos and listening to audio books, talks and podcasts among other learning methods.
What do you know about our Company? This is one of the common questions that a jobseeker is likely to be asked during an interview.
Most jobseekers typically have a few key companies that they would really love to work for i.e. their dream companies.
You can help a jobseeker by doing in-depth research on these companies and learning as much about them as possible and then quiz the jobseeker on various aspects about these companies.
The information learnt could also be used to prepare a highly-customized and specific cover letter and resume targeted at these companies.
You could also “follow” the social media profiles and blogs of these companies and alert the jobseeker whenever there is key information, press release or news about the company.
Go a step further and together do research on the competitors of the dream companies so that you get to know both sides of the coin.
Help a job seeker out by offering basic regular reminders about things such as: remember to send a thank you letter after an interview, remember to eat, sleep, drink water, shower, exercise, and take care of your appearance.
Most importantly remind them not to take rejections personally.
Remind them of good interviewee behaviors such as arrive for interviews on time, be smartly dressed, offer a strong and firm handshake, remember names and call interviewers by their names, thoroughly research the company, maintain good eye contact, speak clearly and with enthusiasm, and ask good and well thought out questions.
Other reminders include good manners and common courtesies such as saying please, thank you, excuse me, avoid gossiping, respect other people, avoid never ending complaints, be happy for others, respect the opinions of others and give others your full attention.
Not texting or typing when they are talking to you, speak up, participate, make your voice heard, share your ideas, thoughts, opinions, brainstorm, volunteer to do something, step up, and ask for help.
Non-verbal communication is a critical component in any conversation especially during interviews.
When talking with a jobseeker watch their body language, check if he or she is making eye contact, watch facial expressions, posture and listen to tone of voice.
Help the job seeker to match their verbal and nonverbal communication so that they communicate in harmony.
People respond to you based on how you see yourself, treat yourself and carry yourself. Carry yourself as someone worthy and deserving of respect, we are not advocating for pride, arrogance or boastfulness.
Observe a video (with the volume turned off) of how gracefully a president, king or queen carry themselves. Observe their mannerisms, attire, grooming, speech patterns, gestures, walking with purpose, posture, and confidence.
Watch how they make themselves worthy and deserving of that position and project an air of confidence. Encourage the jobseeker to invest in a few high quality good clothes and be well rested before any interviews.
Practice doing a firm handshake. The job seeker should be able to give a firm handshake that oozes confidence, no limp shakes and no sweaty palms either.
Also encourage the person to flash a genuine smile at healthy intervals.
Remembering people’s names shows that you are paying attention and you respect them. In interviews it is critical to remember the names of interviewers and sparingly use their names in conversations. However, many people struggle to remember names of people who they have just met.
You can help a job seeker by practicing memory exercises specifically geared towards recalling people’s names. Research online for different techniques on how to improve memory recall and test out these techniques on each other.
A few simple tips for remembering names are to write them down on a notepad as soon as you can, repeat the names over and over in your head, do some word associations, be fully rested and alert, and stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Don’t take it personal if they do not act on the job search advice and suggestions that you offer. Be content in knowing that you offered a helping hand when you felt a need to.
Helping others is a powerful drug; it’s all about putting yourself in other people’s shoes, empathizing with them and stretching out your hand to lift someone up.
After a job seeker has found a job, it is time for a reward and a celebration. Enjoy the success by going out for lunch or dinner or doing any other appropriate form of celebration.
After the celebration, it is time to plan for day one of the new job. You can then tell your friend to read our article on 48 Things To Do on Your First Week at Work and after they have settled in their new job and they desire to excel in their Career they can also read our comprehensive article on 22 Exciting Ways to be Successful at Your Job.
Finally, the circle of help should not be broken. Encourage the job seeker to ‘pay it forward’ by being there for someone else, helping them out and sharing their personal story to encourage, motivate and boost others.
Additional Resources on Ways to Help Someone Searching for a Job
- 41 Ways to Help a Job-Searching Friend
- 8 Ways to Help Your Job-Searching Friend or Relative
- How To (Really) Help A Friend Job Search
- How to Support Someone Who Is Unemployed: Seven Steps to Making a Difference
- 7 ways to help your loved one when they’ve lost their job
- How to support a friend who just lost their job
- How to Help a Loved One on their Job Search
- 5 ways to support your friend while they’re unemployed