In about a week many of us will be sitting down with family and friends to celebrate the holidays and exchange gifts. What gift can you give a job seeker? Here are some of the items that have been on my wish lists over the years:
Resume Support – not all job seekers are equally gifted with grammar, writing or word processing skills. If you have those skills offer to help the job seeker with their resume and cover letters. Help with the phrasing, proofreading and layout so the resume presents the job seeker in the best possible light.
Networking – actively work to help the job seeker expand their network. Just because you don’t know anybody that you know is seeking to hire someone with the job seeker’s background, does not mean that you don’t know someone. Introduce the job seeker to the people you know and let the network take care of itself.
Time – job seekers are often unemployed and may need support like day care or transportation so that they can go on networking meetings and interviews. They may need someone to run some errands so they can focus on meeting an application deadline. Give them some of your time, so they can spend their time focused on the job search.
Financial Support – while many won’t want to ask for help, being unemployed can be financially draining. Financial support, no matter how small, can be incredibly uplifting. Offer to pay a phone bill or water bill, buy some groceries, or whatever you can.
Emotional Support – more than anything, job seekers need your emotional support. Most job seekers didn’t plan to be job seekers. They lost their job, and while often that was not their fault, that does not mean that they don’t see the loss of a job as their failure – their inability to provide for their family. Often, they don’t need advice as much as they just need to someone to be there, to listen, to encourage and just be a positive and affirming presence in their life.
Holiday giving isn’t about the dollar value of the gift; it is about the thoughtful act of giving. Give your job seeker a hug, tell them that you believe in them, and you’ll support them during their job search.