Over the last few years, I found a hobby that I really enjoy, is challenging, and gives me a great feeling whenever I spend time on it.
Hopefully you are not one of them, but there are a lot of people I know who are unemployed but actively looking for work. Almost three years ago, I decided I would try to do something about that, in my own small way. Whenever I heard that someone was out of work, I wrote him or her an email or sent a LinkedIn message as soon as I noticed – and asked if I could help. Sometimes I couldn’t think of a way to help right away, but I tried to keep my eyes open looking out for opportunities for them.
But then about a year and a half ago, I realized that there were a few things that I could almost always help with, no matter what type of job they were seeking: I could review a resume and make constructive suggestions; I could meet with them and help them rewrite their resumes, face-to-face or even over the phone or Skype; and instead of me trying to think of which contacts of mine might be valuable to someone else, I sat down with job-seekers and started to read out names of companies that I had connections with.
If the job-seeker was interested in a company, I went through my personal contacts, my LinkedIn contacts, and my other business contacts and started to write emails on the job-seeker’s behalf. In some cases I wrote to people who were 2 or 3 level contacts on LinkedIn who didn’t know me – I explained that I wasn’t introducing myself for my own benefit but was trying to help a friend find a job.
It’s true what they say, most people, deep down, are genuinely nice and helpful.
I was receiving responses offering assistance from total strangers in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Philippines, and India to name a few places. Of course, not every one of these offers of assistance panned out – but many did. Just last week, three people I know found jobs, four received phone calls for interviews, and a few more resumes were completed to be sent out to the business world, seeking employment.
Of course the overall goal is to help everyone who wants a job, to find one. But even if you aren’t the person who directly found someone else a job, there are many reasons you should try to help, anyway: First, the job-seeker knows that there is someone else out in the world who is working to help him or her find employment. That gives the job-seeker a big energy boost, some extra self-confidence, and of course some free help with improving a resume and building a network of contacts. Second, the person who is doing the helping, gets the tremendous pleasure that’s associated with helping someone else. You all know the great feeling you gain when you give someone else a gift. The feeling you get from helping others with their careers is very similar. And when one of the job-seekers finds a job, you feel almost as happy as they do, even if you only played a small part in the overall job search.
Finally, I try to remember to ask these same people while they are looking for a job and certainly after they find work, to “pay it forward” – help someone else with a job search, a resume, an introduction to a contact or two, or perhaps an introduction to an executive search firm that might be trying to fill a role.
This is a great hobby. Please make it yours, too.
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