Ask a job searcher what they want for Christmas. From my experience, the answer is “a job.” The last thing a job searcher needs is a scented candle or a box of chocolates. While these gifts are delightful, they don’t give the job searcher what he/she really needs—meaningful employment and a paycheck. You can be assured a job searcher won’t want to impose.
Some of the best gifts don’t cost anything at all. The most thoughtful gifts are ones that show the recipient that you are aware of their needs and likes. Most of the items in the following list can’t be wrapped and placed under the tree, but they can be given sincerely to help someone succeed.
- Introduce the job searcher to one or more of your contacts. Over 85% of jobs are obtained through networking. The one you introduce them to could be THE ONE.
- Offer to practice the interview and offer constructive criticism. Interviewing is stressful; practice helps to reduce some of the stress.
- Volunteer to proofread their resumes and cover letters before they send them out. Be willing to do this often as job searchers need to send a separate resume for each position.
- Keep in touch. Contact and socializing are beneficial to everyone. The relationship with other people is vital at this time. Their confidence and dignity have been reduced, and spending day after day on the computer alone can take its toll.
- Bring them as a guest to your gym. Exercise relieves stress and keeps the mind sharp. Or offer to be a walking buddy.
- When job searchers get discouraged, they find it difficult to keep up the job search. An accountability buddy will keep them on task. However, you want to be firm but patient
- Take the job searcher out for coffee/lunch to brainstorm search strategies, companies, contacts and such. Or just let them vent without judging them. They need someone to listen to them. You don’t have to give advice or say anything meaningful. Moral support during this difficult time is critical.
- Give an order of business cards on quality cardstock or a pad folio for a professional look when networking or interviewing. gift card/cash comes in handy in so many ways. Buying food, gas, clothes, and paying bills is hard at this time.
- Provide some time with a career coach to evaluate their job search and make recommendations for improvements for quicker success.
- A gift certificate for personal grooming with a barber or hair stylist. A job searcher can use it before an interview or networking event.
It isn’t too late; there is still time to get the job searcher you know what he or she actually wants. It will help to know that it can be a touchy subject to offer unsolicited advice. So proceed carefully and tactfully. Be assured that the support you give will be highly appreciated.