How REALLY To Help An Unemployed Friend


When your friends or relatives lose their jobs, they lose more than just a source of income. Being unemployed often triggers the emotional losses of:

  • Identity and status
  • Social circles and community
  • Structure and schedule
  • Productivity
  • Purpose

You might feel helpless watching your loved one go through the difficult transition of unemployment. But you don’t have to be a career counselor or hiring manager to help.

Here are the four best things you can give an unemployed person:

Encouragement
Remind your friend that he or she is more than what’s on a resume. Tell your friend all of their personality traits and behaviors that make him or her a good friend. Many of these things are also soft skills that employers look for in new coworkers and employees.

Encourage your friend to focus on the things he or she has accomplished recently such as getting interviews, networking and meeting new people, or applying for or completing a job training program. This will help your friend to have a positive attitude when talking with employers.

Connections
No man is an island. And your friend should not job search alone. You might not have job leads related to your friends’ career, but you can connect him or her to helpful resources.

Have your friend file for unemployment benefits, even if he or she thinks he might not be eligible. It’s better to know specifically how his or her situation affects eligibility than to make a wrong guess and not receive money that he could use.

The One-Stop or WorkForce Career Centers in each state have information about how to file for unemployment benefits. One-Stops also offer services and programs for job seekers, including job fairs and hiring events, career advising, networking groups, and paid job training. Community and faith-based organizations also have programs for the unemployed and underemployed.

Reality Check
Job searching can be a discouraging process. Some job seekers face months of rejection, mixed messages from employers, and a lot of waiting before finding the right job. You can help your friend keep things in perspective.

It’s true that a person will not get hired unless they have the right qualifications and employers are aware of a person’s skills and interest in the job. It’s also true, in this tough economy, that qualified job seekers can do everything right and still not get hired simply because there are fewer job openings.

You can help your friend figure out when he or she needs to do things differently to get hired, and when the situation is out of their control. The ugly truth is that some job seekers need to be hopeful, but patient.

Time Out
Looking for work is a full-time job. As with any activity, your friend or relative needs to take a break from applying for jobs or stressing over finances.

Offer to treat your friend to a fun night out. Or suggest free and low-cost activities that you can do together. Find or create events that are fun and energizing for your friend. Simple activities like an afternoon walk, watching DVDs at home, or family game night can help.

Job seekers can easily get overwhelmed by their circumstances. Your support will help your friends and relatives realize that they are not unemployed, they are people.

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One thought on “How REALLY To Help An Unemployed Friend

  1. You can give them hope. You can let them know you are supportive. You can assist in identifying opportunities. You respect them. You can empower them to preservere. Don’t just talk; listen.

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