5 ways to help your unemployed friend get a job

Use these tips to keep your pal motivated throughout their job search.

5 ways to help your unemployed friend get a job

You have a friend who’s talented, smart, and hardworking—but out of work. This unfortunate situation can be hard for everyone involved. It can also be an opportunity for you to step in and help them get a job.

We all know the job search can be tedious, so the more support you can offer your friend, the better. After all, you’d want someone to give you a hand in that situation, too, right?

Not only is helping your friend a nice thing to do, it can also keep your own job search skills fresh, says Hallie Crawford, founder of HallieCrawford.com, a career coaching firm in Atlanta. “When you speak to someone about their goals,” she says, “it reminds you to stay on top of yours.”

 Monster spoke with career experts about five ways to pay it forward and help your friend find a job.

Give ’em a boost

“It can be very depressing when you’re unemployed,” says Laura Laser, founder and president of Laser Talent Group in Los Angeles. Build up your friend emotionally and professionally by reminding them what makes them so good at what they do and the value they bring to the table.

Be supportive and make an effort to keep them engaged. “Help your friend stay out of a slump by getting them out of the house and around people,” says Laser. “Sometimes just having someone to have coffee and brainstorm ideas with can be really helpful.” 

Be a second pair of eyes

Take an active role in your friend’s job search. Offer to review their job application materials and provide feedback. This includes not only their resume and cover letters, but also their Monster job-seeker profile.

“Having a solid, effective online presence is critical to job searching,” Crawford says. “It’s part of your brand, and if it doesn’t look good, you are not presenting yourself in the best light.” 

Pay attention to the big picture, as well as the little details. “Be sure [their application materials] make sense, are free of spelling errors, and look professional,” says Stacey Gordon, career strategist with Career Incubator in Los Angeles.

If your friend would like some extra help, let them know they can get a free resume evaluation from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service.

Help them make connections

When it comes to the job search, having some insider info sure helps to get your foot in the proverbial door. If you belong to organizations or associations that could provide your friend with helpful contacts, make some introductions so your pal isn’t left to make cold calls.

In addition, “offer to go to networking events with them,” Laser adds. “It can be a little bit nerve-wracking at those events, especially by yourself.” Try to have some fun and challenge each other to talk to at least three new people, then debrief at the end of the event to compare insights.

If your friend has expressed interest in a career change, encourage them to seek out informational interviews, perhaps even with colleagues in your field. If nothing else, these informational interviews can help expand your friend’s network and expose them to the numerous job opportunities that are out there.

Write an unprompted recommendation

People are often reluctant to ask for recommendation letters, so proactively offer to write one for your friend, Gordon says. (Check out this sample recommendation letter to help you get started.) Ask your friend what types of positions they’re pursuing and which skills and experiences the letter should focus on.

Also suggest that your friend collect other recommendation letters from former employers and co-workers, Crawford says. Not only are these letters likely to be required by potential employers, they’ll also give your friend a nice dose of reassurance that people are rooting for them.

Be a sounding board

Crawford always recommends that her clients do mock interviews with someone they trust. “Offering to be that friend is a great way to show your support,” she says.

Mock interviewing can feel awkward at first for both parties, but it will help your friend come across as more polished during the real deal. (Plus, you’ll get to practice your own interviewing skills.) Use these sample interview questions as a springboard, and help your friend craft succinct, confident answers.

Of course, remember that the job search is a marathon, not a sprint—let your friend know you’re in it for the long haul.