Helping Job Seekers 201

Posted on August 6, 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 her current job. Your friend asked you for help, and since you’re friends, you want to. We talked about goals and elevator pitches and social media. The next step is asking yourself a question: Do I know anyone in my friend’s goal area?

For example, your friend wants to be a teacher and has all the right degrees and certifications. She’s great with your kids. You think she would be a fabulous teacher. If you know people in the local Board of Education, then your friend may be very lucky indeed.

Have lunch, or coffee, or drinks, or whatever, with the people you know. Be up front that you have a friend looking to join their profession. Ask them to be candid about employment opportunities. Most places are always recruiting, even if they’re not hiring, because they’re hoping to stumble on that one, perfect candidate. Get them talking about their prospects in the current economy (if they will), and about the corporate culture at their workplace.

You might notice that I haven’t said anything about resumes yet, and that’s because it’s too early. Your friend will need one, but you don’t need a copy to help him. What you’re doing in these “meetings” is reinforcing the rapport you already have with these people – if you didn’t have any, they wouldn’t be making time for you. While you’re talking, focus on positive things in their lives. Get them talking about things that excite them or that make them happy. Then bring up your friend. This is called anchoring. You’re getting your contacts to associate positive feelings with your job-seeking friend’s name.

Tell your contacts about your friend’s experience, skills, and qualifications. Get their candid responses to your description. Does your friend sound like every other candidate that your contacts see? Then she needs something to set her apart. Does your friend sound unqualified? If so, she needs to get out there and make herself qualified.

However, your friend might be just what they’re looking for. Now you need to set up a meeting…

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Posted in: Leadership