You just received news that a good friend of yours has lost their job and is now looking for a new job. You want to help, but don’t know how to best help them. As someone who’s been through the journey twice in my life, let me give you a few tips of how to help.
- Pray – Never forget the power of prayer. Remember to pray for them regularly. When you are with them, open or close your time together with prayer. It’ll help remind them that others are praying for them and remind them if they aren’t praying themselves, they need to.
- Encourage Them – Your friend will need plenty of encouragement on this journey as a job search can be lengthy and is full of ups and downs. There are many ways to encourage, as simple as an e-mail or a phone call, you choose what works best. Whatever you do, don’t do it once and think it’s done, regular encouragement is important throughout their search.
- Stay Connected – When people don’t know what to say, they tend to keep their distance and say nothing. Your friend needs people to stay connected, to be present. Without a job, your friend will often experience loneliness. Your presence fills a void and may allow you to be a safe zone for them, someone to listen and not judge them.
- Praise Their Efforts, Not the Results – Your friend doesn’t control which jobs will become open that match their skills, nor can they control someone wanting to interview them. Praise their efforts in the process of research, applying and networking, even if the results don’t show. It will take time.
- Introduce Them – People in a job search need to get out and meet new people, helping them to get the word out regarding their skills and availability. You can help by making an introduction to people you know. Reach out on their behalf, explain your friend’s situation to the person you know and “ask” them if they would make time to meet with your friend. If they say “yes”, then connect them by e-mail or phone. You’ve just “opened the door” for your friend, which is significant in the process.
- Help Them to be Useful – We all have a need to be needed, but unemployed job seekers often feel they have nothing to offer. Find ways they can help you or others by volunteering. But don’t preface your request with “since you’re unemployed and have time can you…”, that won’t help. Just ask, “do you have the time to …” Doing for others will lift their spirits.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.