Helping Job Seekers 101

Posted on August 4, 2009

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You’ve got a friend who’s looking for work. Maybe this friend is unemployed, possibly for awhile. Maybe this friend is sick of his current job. Your friend asks you for help, and since you’re friends, you want to. You just don’t know how.

The first thing you should do is ask, “What do you want to do?” Your friend needs an “elevator pitch.” He needs to be able to explain his goals in less than a minute, preferably in 30 seconds. For example, I want to market digital games.

Whether or not he has an elevator pitch, you now have some idea of your friend’s goal. Ideally, his goal matches your vision of him. If it doesn’t, you need to be very honest with your friend. Remember that he’s under a lot of stress, so be gentle and compassionate – just not to the point where it obscures the truth. This discussion with your friend is about his personal brand. Give him a chance to explain why you’re wrong. After all, he may have experience or training you don’t know about. Suggest he read Managing Brand You. It has a lot of practical guidance for developing his personal brand.

For example, I’m a veteran of the first Gulf War (Army officer), who’s done some retail sales work and who spent thirteen years working in tabletop gaming (customer service, role-playing game writing, and marketing). If I tell you that I want to be a pilot for the airlines, that’s a bit of a disconnect. If I tell you about my experience flying helicopters, you need to gently remind me that I failed Army flight school. As a friend, you would need to get me back on track.

When your friend has a goal that matches his experience and skills, and can communicate that goal clearly in an elevator pitch, you’re both ready for the next step.

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Posted in: Leadership