How to Really Help a Friend Get a Job

August 25, 2010 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Sometimes we wonder how to best help a friend who has been laid off or especially one who has been looking for a job for a while. For those of us who have been there, we know that all too often people who initially offer help and support vanish — and that it’s a rare friend who sticks by a job seeker through their search. Part of the reason people drop out is that they really don’t know what to do or how best to help.

So, if you really want to help someone be successful in their search (and you should — it’s not only the right thing to do but “what goes around, comes around” and the next time you’re looking, they may well be in a position to help you!) here are some thoughts on how to do so in a meaningful way:

*Offer and provide tangible support. Rather than merely saying “what can I do?” or “who can I contact for you?” get going on your job-seeking friend’s behalf. Sit down with them and help them map out a job-hunting plan if they’re just getting started — often the act of discussing this with someone they trust will give them the energy and focus they need to start tackling their search. Come up with a list of folks you know who could be helpful contacts — and folks they know who could help — and make some introductions by phone and online. If you are skilled at this, offer to review their resume and help rewrite it. Prep for interviews with them. Bring them to a networking event with you and pass along other invitations that could be useful; urge them to go. An when you’ve offered to make a connection, do so right away — the worst thing you can do for a job hunter is to say you’ll help and then “forget” or put it off for a long while; don’t offer unless you really mean it.

*Be honest. This is especially important to do for a friend who has been job hunting for a while but for whatever reason isn’t getting callbacks or can’t seem to land a job offer after rounds of interviews. They are likely making some missteps and a real friend will help them figure out what they are. Help them review their interviewing style (on the phone as well as in person) and how they are following up with organizations. Go over their reference list with them and try to determine if those folks are as helpful as they might be — and whether someone on that list may be hurting their efforts. Help them figure out whether they are saying some things to hiring managers that aren’t working in their favor. Don’t sugar-coat things. Instead, make them face up to what they may be doing wrong in their search — this could help them turn things around in their job hunt.

*Stay the course. Job hunting can be a lonesome, frustrating and ego-wounding process. And just when they’re needed most, many friends and former colleagues head for the hills — especially if one’s job hunt goes on for months and months. So check in regularly with your job-hunting friend and follow up on suggestions you’ve made previously. Help them set new deadlines and look for new avenues for openings. Assist them in considering part-time, free-lance or temporary positions to give them some income — and perhaps an ego boost — while they look for a more permanent position. Also, encourage other friends or former colleagues to become part of their efforts as well. Together, you may soon be able to help them celebrate landing a new job!

*Here’s a few upcoming events that could of interest… First, the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) is holding a career-oriented training event this Saturday (Aug. 28) at George Mason’s Arlington campus….You don’t have to be a member to attend but you need to register:

Event: SAJA Comes To You, Washington, D.C.
When: Saturday, August 28 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where: George Mason University, Arlington Campus
3301 Fairfax Drive (Off the Clarendon Metro), Arlington, VA 22201

The South Asian Journalists Association is hosting journalists and authors from some of the nation’s leading news organizations for an afternoon of training. From landing jobs and covering a competitive beat to writing books, come hear how these journalists from CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal are making it happen and learn how you can too. Bring your resumes, clips and multimedia for a critique.

Register online at:

*And PBS’ NewsHour is continuing its “Tweet-ups” — the next is on Wed., Sept. 1:

Join the PBS NewsHour at Washington DC’s 19th on Sept. 1 as we celebrate the launch of our new iPhone app!

*And now, for some fresh job leads:

*The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Foundation has an opening in D.C. for a senior director of communications:

Senior Communications Director
Fenton Communications – Washington, DC
communications and marketing program for a non-profit organization. Besides the usual communications… of Communications leads an integrated communications…

*The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Rockville is looking for a supervisory health communications specialist:

Supervisory Health Communications Specialist, GS-1001-14
Health & Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Rockville, MD
Office of Health Communication and Education (OHCE… communication and outreach channels to increase the impact of CTP’s health information and communications… $105,211 – $136,771 a year

*This might be a good opportunity for those looking for something to “tide them over” (and work nights and weekends to be available for interviews during the week!) — Kaplan has openings in D.C. for GMAT instructors — though you must have scored well on the test yourself to be considered:
Kaplan – Washington, DC
offer comprehensive training to help you master the… 90th percentile score on the GMAT – Previous training/teaching experience preferred – Business/Finance…
From Kaplan

*This could be interesting for someone looking to join the non-profit world — Oxfam America has an opening in D.C. for a lead organizer for “extractive” industries:

Lead Organizer Extractive Industries
Oxfam America – Washington, DC
Develop and present training to provide in-depth… s student training initiatives. Recruit participants, prepare curricula, deliver training, and provide…
From Justmeans1

*K12 has an opening in northern Virginia for a multimedia editor:

Multimedia EditorK12 Inc.Northern, VA, 20171

1-2 Years

Posted 2 days ago

K12 is a dynamic company on a mission to provide the most compelling, comprehensive, and effective K-12 education available. Our employees are a critical part of an organization that is providing powerful, new options for the way children can be ed…
See details or apply

*Lockheed Martin has several writer-editor or technical writer openings at its Columbia, Md., office, including this one for a technical writer-editor:

Staff Technical Writer/Editor – IS Security …Lockheed MartinColumbia, MD, 21046

10+ to 15 Years

Posted 2 days ago
Description: (TECHNICAL WRITER/EDITOR – TASK SUPPORT – EITS) The selectee will work on a highly motivated team and provide high quality documentation in support of team efforts. The selectee will serve as a System Security Plan (SSP)Coordinator …
See details or apply

*Thompson Publishing Group in D.C. is looking for an editor to oversee its grants publications:

EditorThompson Publishing GroupWasington, DC, 20005

7+ to 10 Years

Posted 2 days ago

Thompson Publishing Group is looking for an experienced editor to oversee its award-winning line of grants publications. The right candidate must have at least 7 years of experience and a strong understanding of the grantseeking process, grants mana…
See details or apply

*And last but not least today, Hughes Network Systems in Germantown is seeking an editor/manager to lead its team of technical writers:

Manager, Technical WriterHughes Network SystemsGermantown, MD, 20876

7+ to 10 Years

Posted 2 days ago

Hughes is looking for a Technical Writer Manager in our Germantown, Maryland location! Job duties are as follows: – Lead a small team of tech writers. – Interface with Sr. Management for strategic and tactical planning. – Allocate resources to f…
See details or apply

Happy hunting!



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