Top 10 Tips For Helping Unemployed Friends

Mon, 16/01/2012 - 18:19 -- nick

Building confidence in yourself is hard, but helping those who are out of work is even harder. This article provides some excellent tips to help you help them. Even if it takes some effort, they will really benefit and keeping friends and family around can be one of the first steps to getting back in to work.
There is nothing worse than having a colleague and friend out of work looking for a job. The economy seems to be getting better, but of course unemployment is still quite high and in double digits for most states. If you are like most folks, then you probably know at least one if not more than one out of work colleague that is looking for a job. And regrettably, far too often when people lose their job, they also lose other things too such as relationships or just the periodic conversations with others that are always helpful and appreciated. As a colleague or friend to an out of work professional, what can you do to help? Here are ten tips and ideas for your consideration.
Tip #1: Stay in touch especially if you are a former colleague. Call, write, or drop by. If your colleague lives alone, consider stopping by and bringing a lunch or dinner to share such as a pizza. Isolation can be devastating. Your presence would be welcomed.
Tip #2: Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Many people ask, “How are you?” and don’t really want to know or to participate in a conversation about problems. But it can be very helpful to have someone to talk about problems. So if you can handle it, encourage your out of work colleague to share with you, to dump on you. Better you, than someone else. Better you, than holding all of the stress in which can lead to health problems.
Tip #3: Include your unemployed friends in opportunities to network. It is painful to employed folks to soon learn that they have fallen of the radar when it comes to social invitations. Such invites should not stop just because your work status has changed, but regrettably they often do. Include your friends in networking opportunities such as events, professional meetings, and even social occasions. You would be surprised how many people you can meet at a PGA golf tournament or a church pot luck dinner or just about any common purposed social gathering.
Tip #4: Share relevant information. Take a moment to pass along helpful information such as industry articles, employment trends and opportunities, or better yet actual jobs. Tell them about how your work is going as well. Unemployed folks miss the socialization aspect of work and talking to and interacting with others. You can help just by keeping the lines of communication and interaction open. Out of work does not mean out of life.
Tip #5: Invite your unemployed friend to meet for lunch during the week. You do not need to offer to buy, but do be mindful of the price. While well intended, it is often awkward to be on the receiving end of a free lunch if it is not your usual arrangement. So, don’t let any awkwardness get in the way of your relationship.
Tip #6: Help your unemployed colleague with networking. Take the time to list as many of your contacts as possible and help to arrange informal meetings between your unemployed colleague and your contacts. Building a network is a key foundational component to finding work. Even if your contact can’t help with a job, they will likely know others who might be able to or that might know someone who might be able to. Your ten contacts can quickly turn into fifty contacts or more for your out of work colleague.
Tip #7: Offer to critique their resume and cover letter. This can be a great help. It can be very hard to be objective about your own writing and your own resume in particular. An outside set of eyes can be very helpful in both identifying errors and in improving readability.
Tip #8: Help them practice their elevator pitch. Most folks that find themselves suddenly out of work also find themselves suddenly out of practice in selling themselves. It is one thing to rapidly recite skills and work experiences and past career positions. This is boring and usually falls on deaf ears. It is quite another to first assess with whom it is that you are about to speak and to instantly offer a short sentence or two that discusses the fit between the needs that your listener has in terms of desired outcomes and the top three areas of value that you have to offer in terms of capabilities.
Tip #9: Build confidence. Unemployed folks can lose their confidence quickly. In fact, unemployment breeds lack of confidence and for many folks insecurity and defensiveness. Be sure to build confidence, not overconfidence, but confidence relative to the situation at hand. There is always something to be optimistic about. Help them find it and also help them recognize that additional confidence will come about as a result of taking different and additional actions and being as diligent and steadfast as possible.
Tip #10: Make yourself available for their accountability. Accomplishing a feat can often be a numbers game. Before actually achieving the end result, there may be several tasks or things that need to be done first. Rather than letting the work engine stop, make yourself available to talk to your unemployed colleague about that which has been done such as how many contacts did you make, how many resumes did you send out, how many job positions did you respond to, how many conversations with hirers did you have, etc. It is easy for one to give up or think that one is trying their best and leave it at that. Follow the wise advice that Yoda gave young Luke Skywalker, “Do. No Do. No such thing as try.” Help your out of work colleague with the doing part of things.