We’ve talked in the past about the importance of finding yourself a buddy during the job search. Having someone on your side throughout the process can turn a grueling and lonely job search into an efficient, well-oiled machine.
A job search buddy can help you get past the unhappiness and negative emotions of rejection. They can help you stay on task and keep you accountable to your goals. And they can celebrate your success with you when you finally land the job.
If you have a positive experience with a job search buddy, you might want to return the favor. On the other hand, you may just have a friend or family member that you want to help out. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you can do to be a great job search buddy.
Here’s how you can have a positive impact on someone else’s next career move.
The best way to start off a job search buddy relationship with a friend or family member is to sit down together to set out goals for the job hunt. These goals can be specific or general depending on what the job seeker is most comfortable with. Some sample goals include “spend 30 minutes searching for new opportunities every day” or “attend 3 networking events each week.”
Goals can be flexible but should always aim to drive the job seeker to exceed their own perceived limits. If a goal seems too easy, revise it so that it becomes a bit more challenging. If it’s too hard, revise down to make it more achievable. This will allow you both to feel a sense of growth and progress in their job search.
As goals are achieved each week, be sure to check in and keep track on their progress. For an added layer of functionality, you can even gamify the goals with a points system and a set of levels. Set out rewards, and as each level is achieved, make sure the job seeker actually gets the reward they are due. This will drive them to push harder and be more effective in their search.
Job seeking is not an easy task. It often requires what feels like repetitive motions, and results don’t come as quickly as the job seeker might want. The end result can be getting off task and avoiding applying, researching companies, or going to events. It can also be falling into a few silly yet common traps in the job hunt.
When the job seeker loses their focus and goes off course in their search, they will start to make mistakes. Those mistakes can be anything as simple as sending a post-interview thank you note a day too late, or as embarrassing as addressing a cover letter to the wrong company. It can lead to habitual errors like neglecting to cater their resumes and cover letters to the specific company and role they’re applying to. All of these combine to create a sloppy, ineffective, and prolonged job search.
As job search buddy, it’s your responsibility to help the job seeker stay on task. An easy way to become a great taskmaster is to collaborate with your job seeking friend or family member on JobHero. Share a single account where you can track their progress in the job search and where they can stay organized throughout the process.
Check in regularly to see how they are doing, as this will give you a strong indication of whether they’re still on task. Their JobHero dashboard can be your best tool for becoming an effective taskmaster.
Provide emotional support
Humans don’t cope with rejection too well. It’s just not an emotional state that we deal with very effectively, especially not alone. Unfortunately, rejection is a big part of any job search. That feeling of rejection can become paralyzing for the job seeker. It can lead them to feelings of desperation or futility. It can end in them stalling their own job search because they have a tough time coping with the emotion.
As a job search buddy, emotional support will be the hardest responsibility on your shoulders. Helping your friend or family member through tough emotional times can take its toll on you as well, because the process can become frustrating and illogical. Just aim to keep them going, even going as far as to set an easy routine that they can follow just to continue their job hunt.
All that it will take is one or two calls for interviews and they’ll be right back on their feet. By themselves, this might take a lot of time, especially if they slow down to deal with the negative emotions. With you around, they can get over that hump faster and constantly progress in their search.
Chastise when necessary
Sure, it’s not your job search so it’s not your responsibility, but when you enter a job search buddy relationship, you do have the power to chastise the job seeker when they truly deserve it. If you see a chronic problem that isn’t being resolved in a job search, such as the aforementioned failure to cater resumes and cover letters for each role, you have the power to put your foot down.
The reality is, the job seeker needs your help, and the possibility of your assistance disappearing because they can’t stick to good habits will kick their butts into gear. So don’t be afraid to say it like it is, be a bit harsh in your judgment, and keep them accountable. It’s for their own good, and at the end of the day, it will lead to a faster job search outcome.
When the job seeker lands a new gig, it’s time to celebrate! If you’ve invested yourself in the process and made the effort to be a good job search buddy, you’ll feel elated alongside them. So go ahead and celebrate the moment. Enjoy the fruits of your mutual labor.