Like millions of others across the globe, I was recently laid off and find myself suddenly and unexpectedly on the job search.  I and those in my boat have been met with all kinds of encouragement and well-intentioned offers but they usually sound something like this:

I’m sorry to hear that, but you are great. I’m sure you’ll find something soon.  Let me know how I can help.

While the sentiment is great and genuinely appreciated, this places the burden of effort back on the job seeker who, if like me, is emotionally depleted and pouring all energy into applying, prepping, and interviewing (when we aren’t worrying about healthcare or trying to get through to state unemployment offices).

So what can you do that truly helps?  Like so many results-oriented actions in life, it is about increasing leverage.  What can you do to help that will maximize results (move me closer to landing a job) and minimize effort (does not create additional friction for me)?  There are a ton of things but here are three easy needle-movers:

  1. Write a Linkedin recommendation: This is a small thing that should take less than 5 minutes but it is truly meaningful.  The jury is out on how much it affects the interview process, but if nothing else, it provides a very real psychological boost.  One of the terrible things about being laid off (even when entirely unrelated to performance) is the toll it can take on your self-confidence and this is a low lift way to help.
  2. Ask me what I’m looking for in my next position: There are still plenty of companies hiring but many may not fit with my interests, geographic preferences, or lifestyle.  Just asking the question helps me think about it and realize that, as out of whack as the world feels, I still have some control over my career.  Plus, once you know what I’m looking for, you can help with number 3…
  3. Connect me with recruiters or hiring managers in the companies or industries that I am targeting: The majority of applications will never be responded to.  This is the sad reality of job searching these days but having a personal contact in the company almost always lands a phone screen at minimum.  In an increasingly unbalanced labor market, this is critical to landing a position.

In short, if you want to help me or the millions of others in my situation, a) THANK YOU and b) there are some easy and effective ways you can!

I truly appreciate your willingness to help and I hope this post leads to all of us working together to lift each other up more effectively.