Considering the tens of millions of newly unemployed Americans, most of us know someone who was unexpectedly thrust into a suddenly competitive job market. Amazing candidates now face staggering numbers and many report feelings of worry and overwhelm.
Of course, we all have the best intentions and want to help our friends or colleagues in need. But it can be uncomfortable to ask them outright how you can help. Sometimes we simply do not know what action steps to take.
Together let’s lend a helping hand to jobseekers and increase their chances of landing something new that is just right for them. To do that, we need to mobilize all our networks and resources. Here are some proactive ways to help your friends. Don’t just agree to “pass their resume along,” or “let them know if you hear of anything!” We need to actively pull each other up during these difficult times!
1. Gift them a membership to a trade organization, professional or mastermind group.
The most powerful advantage you can give someone’s job search is support and connection. To that end, industry-specific groups that help jobseekers to expand their network and get in front of as many professionals as possible are priceless. (Even if networking and events are on Zoom!)
Organizations like Working Women of Tampa Bay, National Association of Women Business Owners, American Association of Advertising Agencies, or the National or State Retail Federations are just a few examples of affinity and professional organizations that help jobseekers make the right connections.
In addition to virtual networking, many organizations are now hosting educational events to keep their members’ skills sharp. So, brainstorm a good professional match with your friend and then gift them a membership (or membership renewal, if they’ve let it lapse due to lack of funds). It’s an efficient and thoughtful way to help friends stay on top of their game!
2. Gift them a session (or three) with an amazing career coach
American industries hit hardest by coronavirus include retail, transportation, and travel, according to a recent USA Today article. No matter how seasoned a professional may be, these are unique times that require unprecedented changes for many. Jobseekers may benefit from the insights and capacity-building that skilled coaching provide.
I asked career and business coach Liz M. Lopez about the unique challenges currently facing unemployed workers, and how coaching can help.
“The job market has quickly become more competitive. If someone you know has not searched for a job in 2, 5 or 15+ years, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed. Masterfully creating a resume and a LinkedIn profile that capture the best of their career and then expressing their professional brand in interviews can be a challenge. Investing in their career by helping them work with a coach can be transformational. It allows them to strategize their search, practice for interviews, and confidently navigate the ups and downs of their job search journey in today’s constricted market.”
Good coaching can help your friends identify and clarify their most pressing priorities, develop a clear action plan with achievable steps to get there, and hold them accountable for meeting their goals in a timely way.
3. Invite your friend to select three of your LinkedIn contacts for a warm introduction
Warm online introductions are now a necessity for those looking for work. As work-from-home statistics skyrocket, opportunities diminish for in-person chance meetings. Up to 85% of open positions will be filled by networking, according to Hubspot.
So be proactive! Ask them to help you reach out by (a) selecting a few LinkedIn contacts they would like to meet and (b) composing their own personal branding paragraph that describes their unique qualities and what they’re looking for.
These points of differentiation and 30-second “elevator pitches” are critical components to warming up leads. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression on behalf of a friend or colleague.
Mary E. Maloney, founder of Revealing Genius, LLC is a brand advisor who helps executive leaders to position themselves amongst a fiercely competitive set by refining their go-to-market messaging for their personal brands. She recommends….
“My marketing manifesto is: start with messaging. Go beyond reiterating what you do for a living and get clear on what you stand for, what lights you up, why others seek you out for advice. I call it your ‘brand genius.’
You can help others to help you by highlighting your core attributes for them. For example, ‘Where I can provide the most impact is’…… or ‘The highest and best use of my skill set is’ …..or ‘I’m most energized when I’m working on…..
When you are clear on what you stand for, you exude confidence and when you have confidence you have impact and when you have impact you come alive.”
In short, the best way to help a jobseeker is to get creative and proactive. Put yourself in their shoes. You never know how far the ripple effect of your caring intention will go. It will certainly give your friend a tremendous boost of confidence to know that you believe in them. And the paycheck of the heart coming to you for helping others is priceless. Take one of these steps to support your community today!
Light Your Fire,