The Do’s & Don’ts Of Dealing With An Unemployed Friend


Do you know someone who is struggling with their job search? Do you wonder if you’re saying or doing the right things to help them? Well, don’t worry. We all know how tough it is out here to find employment and I have a few tips for you to help show your support. 

DO: Help them look.
Start by asking them what they’re looking for and what their experience level is. Once you find that out and see job postings in their field, send them on! I’ve had a lot of well-meaning friends send me job posts, but there have been some that require much more experience than I currently have, such as “8 years working in an agency” as and when I clearly haven’t been working that long. You can also offer to edit their resume and cover letters. Another pair of eyes to catch mistakes is definitely a nice to thing to have.

DON’T: Tell them they’re doing something wrong.
Don’t tell them they’re looking in the wrong city. There may be a reason they’re only looking in Memphis or Chicago for a job. And even if they’re open to applying anywhere, there’s a better way to say things. Try saying something like “Have you heard about the engineering field in Dallas? I heard it’s booming.” Or “I saw this job in DC and thought of you.” It just seems more helpful.

DO: Reach out to people in your network.
Is your friend in engineering? Do you know someone (or a friend of a friend) in the field? Offer to send their resume out to people in your network or recommend them to people. However, think about if you can vouch for your friend’s professionalism. Don’t just blindly send their info out if you don’t know much about what they can do. Feel free to ask questions about their abilities.

DON’T: Say things that may come off condescending.
Saying things like “It must be nice to have some time off” doesn’t help. Unemployment is NOT a vacation. Yes, you may be at home during the day to catch some episodes of “Maury”, but not having money isn’t very fun.

DO: Network together.
Is your friend nervous about attending a networking event or a job fair? Offer to tag along. This will ease their nerves and show how supportive you are. And who knows? You might also meet someone or get some information that benefits you too.

DON’T: Constantly ask for updates.
It’s okay to ask about the job search every now and then, but it can be annoying and embarrassing for your friend to be asked about it every time you two have a conversation. Sometimes I just want people to ask how I’m doing in general before they launch into several questions about the job hunt. Ask them if they’ve seen the latest episode of “Mad Men” or if they have anything in particular going on. This leads me to my next point.

DO: Occasionally take their mind off things.
Take your friend out to a movie or dinner. Invite them over to hang out and bake or make drinks. Blowing off some steam would be good for the both of you.

DON’T: Take things personally.
Don’t be upset if your friend doesn’t take your advice. Some people have to do what’s best for them. If your friend snaps on you, it’s completely understandable for you to be upset with them. Just remember they’re stressed out. While it’s not okay to take things out on others, think about if you were in their shoes. You would probably be on edge worrying about money.

Just continue to support your friend the best way you can. They’ll appreciate it.

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