Help Yourself By Helping Get Your Friends Jobs First

Because giving is the best way to receive.

Friend job search cartoon

This is a guest post by Stephan Wiedner. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

If you really want to get a job, consider focusing all your efforts on finding someone else a job first. I know, it sounds crazy and counter-intuitive but it works.

Here's why.

4 Reasons Why You Should Help Your Friends Find a Job

1. Understand yourself better

“By helping someone else discover their greatness, you will discover yours,” says Kathy Fleming, a Master Certified Coach and one of the most experienced career coaches on Noomii.com. “By being a skilled listener, you can reflect the greatness in the other individual and perhaps rekindle and remember your own greatness.”

2. Improve your own job search skills

It gets you out of your own head and into the position of the employer. Trying to play the role of an employer gives you insight into what people are looking for when hiring. This is invaluable information when finding a job for yourself.

3. Grow your network

“It creates a network of individuals that will want to help you find a job,” adds Doris Helge, Ph.D., author of “Joy on the Job”. “Some of my clients have also discovered entirely new careers and a wealth of contacts when they helped friends.”

4. Build your self-confidence

It will make you feel good about yourself.

Research in the field of positive psychology, led by Sonya Lyubomirsky, dispels the belief that good work performance leads to happiness. Instead, it is the other way around: happy people tend to have more career and job success. In other words, people with high levels of positivity tend to be the best employees and get the best jobs.

What does positivity have to do with helping someone else find a job? I’m glad you asked. Eastern philosophers have known for centuries and modern day psychologists are confirming that one of the most direct ways to make you more happy is to be helpful to others.

Searching for a job can be emotionally challenging, especially if you have been trying to get a job for a long time. You may be feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and even desperate. When negative feelings enter our brains, we tend to focus on them more and more and we enter a downward spiral that can be hard to get out of.

One sure-fire way to hijack the perpetuating negative thoughts is to focus on other people. It shifts your thinking from “woe is me” to “we is me”.

Alright, now let’s move onto the practical aspect of helping your friend find a job.

How to Help a Friend Tweak their Resumé

Crafting a great resumé is a tough skill to master and there is one way to get better at it- help someone else with theirs.

You’re probably wondering how you are supposed to help someone else when you don’t know how to do it yourself. Well, even if you are struggling to make your resumé shine, there is always someone that can benefit from your independent perspective.

Resumé writing is challenging because it requires an objective assessment of our own strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. We tend to be our own biggest critics. We are blind to our strengths and magnify our weaknesses.

It's way easier to be objective about someone else’s work experience and career objectives. Therefore, find a friend, be their objective reviewer, and help them polish up their resumé.

Here's how to do it:

1. Find out what kind of job your friend is looking for.

2. Put yourself in the position of their potential employer. The first rule of resumé writing is that you – and your friend – need to tailor the resumé for each job individually.

3. Sit down with your friend, grab their resumé, and before you do anything, try to wipe away any preconceived notions you have of this person. Pretend that you are looking at the resumé of a stranger. Now, review their resumé, top to bottom, in under 60 seconds. Then put it away.

4. Turn to your friend and describe your impression – based solely on the resumé – of who they are. Don't just recite facts. Focus on creating an image of this person. You might say things like “I can tell from your resumé that you are very organized and systematic but you like to have fun. You're a work-hard, play-hard kind of person.”

5. Now ask your friend to tell you, in their opinion, how accurate you were. Get them to list the impressions that were correct, wrong, and missing.

6. Now it's your turn. You get to make a list of impressions that you thought were correct, wrong, and missing based on your previous knowledge and experience. Remember, your friend is likely blind to their greatest strengths, the qualities their resumé aught to emphasize.

7. Brainstorm possible edits and corrections that your friend can make to improve their resumé. Be creative and have fun.

When you're done, go home and take a look at your own resumé. I guarantee that you will find at least a couple tweaks that you can immediately use.

And who knows, maybe your friend will return the favor and review your resumé for you.

How to be an Employer and Interview a Friend

After busting your butt to qualify yourself for potential jobs, the last thing you want to do is choke during the interview. Neither does anybody else. So help at least one person by interviewing them and giving them some practice.

The beauty is that by helping your friend, you will be helping yourself gain valuable insight into what an employer experiences, thus better equipping yourself to ace the interview the next time you get one.

Here’s how to interview your friend:

1. Make a list of appropriate interview questions. Better yet, ask your friend what kind of questions they expect to get from their prospective interviewer. If you do a Google search for interview questions, you will find hundreds of potential questions.

2. Find a venue to conduct the interview that resembles the real thing. For example, if your friend is looking for a corporate job, try to find a business office setting to conduct the interview. If your friend expects to do a phone or video chat interview, then do that.

3. Dress the part and adopt the persona of the interviewer. If you are going to interview your friend for a banking job, put on a suit and try to be the CEO or VP.

4. Now comes the hard part. Ask the tough interview questions and listen to your friend's answers from the perspective of the employer. Notice the answers that sound the most convincing, authentic, and engaging. You may want to take some notes while your friend is talking but stay in your role until the interview is done.

5. After you’re done, take a quick breather and then debrief the interview. Tell your friend the top 5 things they did well and how they were most engaging. Stay positive, focus on what your friend did well, and encourage more of the good stuff.

When you’re done, go home and think about how can you be more engaging and what can you do to ace your next interview?

I guarantee that you will come up with at least a couple great ideas.

How to Forward Job Postings to People in Your Network

If you haven’t already, you'll probably be spending a lot of time scouring the Internet for job postings and visiting local employment offices. For every job that is ideal for you, there are hundreds of jobs that are ideal for someone you know.

It’s not tough to send these opportunities to your friends – it’s just a matter of sending an email or tweet – but it can be tough to maintain an “other-focused” state of mind. So why not block out a little time to help a friend.

Here’s how:

1. Make a list of people you know that are looking for a job. This will help you keep them at the top of your mind. Also add people that could benefit from a new job, even if they are not looking for a job.

2. Block off some time – maybe 5 minutes – to find at least one job that you can send along to someone else. Ideally you will do this every day until it becomes a habit.

3. Look for jobs that appear to be really great but are not quite the right fit for you. You don’t want to send along crappy jobs.

4. Revisit your list of names to determine who, in your network, would be a good fit for the job opportunity.

5. Send your friend the link.

As an employer, I can tell you how important it is to find good people. By sending job postings along to others, you are helping the company as well as the people in your network.

Before you know it, thanks to the power of reciprocity, other people will be happily looking out for you, sending you amazing job opportunities. Not only that, they may even put in a good word for you to get your foot in the door with some of the biggest and best employers around.

Helping Others Helps You

It takes a little bit of time and effort to help your friend(s) find their dream job but the effort is well worth it. By helping your friend improve their resumé, practice interviewing, and learn about job postings you find, you will be helping yourself. You’ll learn what employers are looking for, gain a network of people who will help you, and feel better doing it.

Question of the article

Have I missed anything? How else can you help a friend find a job?

What did you do that had the biggest impact on a friend's job search?

Please leave your comments and suggestions below.

About the Author

Stephan Wiedner is the co-founder of Noomii.com, the Professional Coach Directory. The ultimate goal of Noomii is to increase global well-being. We want you to thrive and live a meaningful, engaging, and joyful life, and we think life coaching is the best tool to make that happen. Follow Noomii on Twitter and on Facebook.

If you liked this article, you'll also enjoy What To Do When An Overqualified Friend Gets Laid Off.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more tips on improving your job search and your friends'.

4 Comments

  1. Jacob Share Cheryl November 9, 2011
  2. Jacob Share Stephan November 17, 2011
  3. Jacob Share Kate September 27, 2013
  4. Jacob Share Kate October 1, 2013
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