Helping Job Seekers 301

Posted on August 11, 2009

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So you’re helping your friend find a job, or a new job. She’s got a realistic goal, an elevator pitch, and she’s up-to-date and active in social media. You have some contacts in the field where her goal lies, and your contacts are open to meeting your friend. Everything is going great.

The first time your friend meets your contacts, you should help her prepare. Drill her on who your contacts are, how you know them, what they do, and what they’re interested in. Make sure your friend can speak confidently about herself, her background, and her goals. Roleplay a tough interview process with your friend. Try to shake her up. You want her to feel like if she can handle what you put her through, she can handle anything.

Make sure to ask “Why did you leave your last job?” or “Why do you want to leave your current job?” She wants to avoid sounding overly negative. If leaving was traumatic, the emotions raised by these questions can make the answer over long or unintelligible. Go over her answer until it’s smooth, clear, and simple.

Coach your friend to consider the meeting an informational interview, not an employment interview. Remind her to focus on rapport building. Despite the roleplaying and prep work, this meeting is really only about getting to know each other and making new friends. Your preparation work with your friend will give her confidence, so if your contact slips in a question about work or about your friend’s career field, she’ll be ready. Everyone knows, on average, 150 people. Making friends with your contact gives your friend access to your contact’s 150 people.

When the meeting actually happens, you should be there. Make the introductions. Be prepared to guide the conversation. If your contact appears to be losing interest, bring up something interesting in your friend’s past experiences. If your friend is becoming negative or wandering off topic, bring up something related to the topic at hand that’s more positive. If things go well, just sit back and let them.

Hopefully, when it’s over, your contact will want your friend’s resume.

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Posted in: Leadership