Friday, December 17

Best gifts for job seekers?

Originally I was just going to post a link to an article on about the "Best Gifts for Job Seekers" and make generally nice comments about the idea.

Because really, who doesn't like getting gifts? And if you're searching for a job and feeling unusually stressed/confused/cash-strapped then a thoughtful gift might mean the difference between a total meltdown and a successful interview.

And I am going to still make some generally nice comments about the list, and then offer some comments.

So, I thought it was great that the author thought to include both practical interview and self-care related gift ideas.

After weeks of stressful job hunting, I'm sure a massage would be great.
(I'm also sure a massage would be great at almost anytime, but that's neither here nor there.)
Interview outfit-great idea.
Resume writing service- unique and perhaps helpful.

Overall, I think it's a nice list.
But I do wonder whether it's actually a list of great gifts for job seekers.

It's a list, and I'm sure job seekers would enjoy all the things mentioned (except for a fancy leather portfolio and/or I'm sure 99% of people would prefer you gave them $150 instead of a nice pen), but are the things on the list actually likely to help you get an interview or succeed in getting a job?
Not so sure.

Personal connections are often key, and I'm not sure that a snazzy new pantsuit will get you a job offer when you're competing against someone with insider help/knowledge/support.
Ditto for a new hairdo, or even a massage.
All of those things sound great, but are they really helping with the job hunt?

So my list of "best gifts for job seekers" would have a few additions:
1. Share your personal knowledge/leverage your personal connections. Instead of buying something for the job seeker in your life, help them in a less tangible but perhaps more worthwhile way. Offer to introduce them to people you know, help them set up informational interviews etc. This to me seems like the best gift you can give (extra points if you thrown in $200).

2.  Finance their trip to an upcoming conference or networking event. Conferences are EXPENSIVE, but they are a great place to meet people in the field and make connections. Why would you pay for a fancy career counselor, when the job seeker might be well aware of what they want to do/where they want to do it, but they know they need to make that personal connection first (see #1).

3. Ask them what they need, not what they want. I want on any given day to eat fancy food, and enjoy some serious pampering. When I'm looking for a job, what I need is support, support, and more support. Money is support, some of the self-care items listed in the original article are support, as are items #1 and 2 listed above.