These days, almost everyone knows someone who is unemployed or underemployed. You probably feel the need to help them out somehow, but you’re just not quite sure what to do. Even Hallmark recently came out with a line of cards for the unemployed. One card comforts the reader with a little light-hearted humor, saying, “Don’t think of it as losing your job, think of it as a time-out between stupid bosses.” Even though that might be a nice start, there are a few other things you can do to help your friend out.
Here are 6 ways to help an unemployed friend.
1) Be there. Your friend is going through a tough time, and the last thing they want is for you to shy away because you’re not sure what to say or do for them. Just be present – meet them for lunch, call just to say hello, and stay a welcoming source for positive energy. They don’t necessarily want your help with their job search, but they do want you to still be their friend.
2) Help them with technology. If your friend was employed for a while, they might not have created a profile on LinkedIn, or cleaned up their digital image to prepare for a job search. Help them make their online presence as professional as possible. Show them how to search for jobs online and walk them through a few digital applications. And if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, now is a GREAT time for you to learn these tricks yourself! The best way to learn something is to teach yourself and then teach someone else.
3) Be resourceful. If your unemployed friend needs help setting up a home office as a base for job searching, help them out with spare furniture, or check out re-use and second-hand stores for desks, chairs, and computer equipment like printers. Or, check out the resources at the local library or One-Stop Job Centers in your city or county. Your friend has a lot on their mind right now, and the more resources and info you can find for them, the better.
4) Make connections. Having a job yourself, you are in a position to help your friend out in a big way – throughout networking. Consider your friend’s background and experience, and then think of the people you know who might be able to help. Try to set up informational meetings with those people. Networking is NOT asking for a job, but gathering information and forming relationships. As a friend said recently, “Ask for a job, get advice. Ask for advice, get a job.” Coach your friend on how to talk to your contacts in a way that asks for their advice, rather than asking for a job. For more information on networking, check this out.
5) Offer them a FlexJobs gift cerfiticate. For unemployed or underemployed friends, a membership to FlexJobs can give them access to over 7,000 screened and verified job leads in over 50 professional categories, so there is something for everyone. With part-time jobs and flexible schedule jobs, your friend can get back on their feet one foot at a time. And with telecommuting jobs, they’ll have access to companies and opportunities thousands of miles away which increases their reach and chances for re-employment. Freelance jobs are a great way for people to continue generating income while looking for something more permanent. And the gift certificates are available at three levels (1 month for $14.95, 3 months for $29.95, and 1 year for $49.95).
6) Just do it. Have you ever had to ask for help? It’s incredibly hard, and most people simply won’t do it. That includes your unemployed friend, who probably feels like asking for help is the last thing they want to do, even though they want and need it. So instead of asking your friend what they’d like you to do, just do it. Take a chance and do all of the things on this list, or at least get them started for the person. – Originally posted on FlexJobs by Brie Reynolds