Unemployment has reached its highest level since the Great Depression, and experts predict that more job losses are on the way. That means you probably have friends who are unemployed or will be jobless in the near future.
Knowing how to support and encourage them could help them through a difficult time. It may also save your relationship and teach you lessons that will come in handy if you get laid off yourself.
Keep in mind that the pandemic can make job hunting tougher. Your friends have to think about social distancing while they network, and they may have additional caregiving responsibilities.
How can you be there for them? Take a look at these modern rules for encouraging someone who is out of work.
- Strategize together. Planning for the future can feel overwhelming when youâre recently laid off. Help your friend to think about what they want to do and the steps they need to take.
- Praise activity. How will your friend use their time between jobs? Respond enthusiastically to any constructive ideas. If they start a part-time business, line up to be their first customer and spread the word.
- Review materials. It helps to have a second set of eyes. Let them know youâre willing to proofread and edit their resume and cover letters.
- Rehearse interviews. Help them practice for interviews. This may be the first time some job hunters have used video calls to talk with hiring managers.
- Interact online. It may be a while before you feel comfortable accompanying your friend to job fairs and happy hours. Until then, you can help them promote themselves on LinkedIn and other platforms.
- Provide referrals. Supplying leads and introductions is one of the most valuable things you can do for any job hunter. Introduce them to your own contacts and ask around about relevant openings.
- Offer resources. Depending on your relationship and financial situation, you may want to discuss loaning money. Otherwise, you can still share information and goods like free training courses or an extra laptop you no longer use.
- Pitch in. Personal services count too. Maybe your friend could use some home cooked meals or a ride to take care of essential errands.
- Acknowledge their loss. Try to be compassionate and understanding. Give your friend an opportunity to talk about their feelings. Avoid saying anything that could sound like youâre trivializing their situation.
- Respect boundaries. Before giving advice, ask your friend what they need. You could inadvertently add to their frustration if you urge them to do things that are ill-suited to their industry or career goals.
- Celebrate progress. Most job hunters need short term goals to keep them motivated while theyâre waiting for their next job offer. Be generous with positive feedback for each step along the way, including sending out applications and picking up new skills.
- Have fun. Who wants to be asked how their job search is going each day? Ensure that you continue enjoying other activities together. Talk about your hobbies and families. Go for a walk or play a game online.
- Stay in touch. Being unemployed may feel even more isolating during a pandemic. Reach out to your friend frequently and remind them that you care.
If you have a friend who is out of work, let them know that you empathize with their situation while encouraging them to move forward. Youâll strengthen your relationship, and you may learn more about how to motivate yourself if you start job hunting soon.