How to Help a Friend Looking For a Job
When a friend looks to you for help in finding a job, it can be easy to immediately offer all kinds of suggestions about what you feel she should do. This is not the most tactful, helpful approach.
5 Ways to Help a Job-Searching Friend
You need to listen and understand what she is feeling and where she is in the process before coming up with ideas. Here are some strategies if you want to give your friend the best kind of help.
1. Listen and ask questions
You need to allow your friend to express her frustrations and desires without interruptions. She is at a vulnerable point in her life, and you should be offering understanding and support. Perhaps she is just venting because she’s had a difficult day. Find out whether she is really serious about wanting to find a new job.
If she is, you need to ask her some questions. Find out how long she has been thinking about making a change. Ask her what kind of job she wants to find. Establish whether she wants to find the same position in another company or whether she wants to switch careers. Don’t jump to any conclusions, listen carefully and don’t assume that what you would do in her place is what she will want to do.
2. Understand what she wants from you
Once you have some idea about your friend’s intentions, it’s still not a good idea to rattle off a whole host of suggestions. Here are some positive ways in which you could help:
- Keep an eye out for relevant job openings
- Help her make a list of friends and contacts who could assist her
- Go to networking events with her
- Share her resume with some of your contacts
- Suggest a good recruiter you have used in the past
3. Recommend her to your contacts
If you and your friend work in related fields, you may have some valuable contacts that could help. You can offer to give them her resume or even recommend her to someone who’s hiring.
This can be tricky because any recommendation will reflect on you. There may be reasons why you do not want to vouch for your friend’s professionalism or abilities. If your friend asks you for an introduction, don’t do it just because you feel obliged. Tell her you are not in a position to make introductions and suggest an alternative such as helping her to research other potential employers.
4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
You don’t want to raise your friend’s expectations and then dash her hopes. Be realistic about what you’re willing to do and how you can help.
Don’t make a vague commitment to see what you can do about making introductions or giving recommendations. This could put you in a difficult position when nothing happens, and it could affect the relationship.
5. Don’t Take it Personally
If you friend ignores your advice, you shouldn’t be offended. She may just be approaching the process differently. Looking for a job is often a long, difficult and very personal process.
What your friend will probably appreciate most is that you are supportive and understanding while she’s going through the process.