The 2010 Ten Best Gifts for Jobhunters

You want to do something useful/practical/social/spiritual for that special someone who is  currently unemployed.  Here it is: my third annual gift list for the 2010 holiday season.  Yes, you will find a few repeat items scattered in with the new.  Great books and companionship never go out of style.

1. A consultation with a specialist to evaluate and enhance your online reputation.  If you are worried about your friend’s silly, juvenile, formerly-hilarious online photos and postings,  you might offer to fund a consultation with someone who can find those unprofessional items and remove or minimize them.  There is a special skill in cleaning up one’s social profile, enhancing work experience on LinkedIn, posting a book or product review, or using a website as a display of one’s accomplishments. We all want to be seen as serious candidates, right?

2. A great career book.  These are the books I keep close at hand and recommend often to clients.  I have listed them with authors in alphabetical order:

  • Anderson, Maureen, The Career Clinic: 8 Simple Rules for Finding Work You Love (American Management Association, 2009).
  • Baber, Anne, and Waymon, Lynne, Make your Contacts Count (2nd edition) (American Management Association, 2007).
  • Bolles, Richard N., What Color is your Parachute (2011 edition), (Ten Speed Press, 1970 – 2011).
  • Krumboltz, John D. and Levin, A. S., Luck is no Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in your Life and Career (Impact Publishers, 2004).
  • Pink, Daniel, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need (Riverhead Books, 2008).
  • Reeves, Ellen Gordon, Can I Wear my Nose Ring to the Interview? (Workman, 2009).
  • Sher, Barbara, Refuse to Choose! (Rodale, 2006).
  • Taylor, Karol, and Ruck, Janet, Guide to America’s Federal Jobs (4th edition) (Jist, 2009).

3. An electronic gadget.  When I tried to find some specific recommendations, I realized how hopelessly out of date I am.  I now know that there are blogs about blogs, and I recommend this article to begin your exploration:  Twelve great gadget blogs for the smart holiday shopper.  Each blog takes you into another list, so plan to spend a little time here. No, I can’t be more specific.  You’ll have to figure this out on your own.

4. A contact who might be useful for the job seeker. You have the opportunity to share a bit of your network with the person who is seeking work.  How about a brunch, a lunch, a drink, or supper?  You bring the two together, keep the conversation moving along, and get out of the way if/when appropriate.  You are in a position to give a unique gift – someone you know.

5. An impressive piece of jewelry – at least impressive-looking.  Plain, just slightly noticeable, something that could bring luck in an interview.

6. Your friendship and willingness to listen.  This is in a format that makes sense to the donor and the recipient.  It might be walking twice a week.  Eating better together.  Upholding your friend in prayer.  Painting the porch.  Proofing the resume.  Taking a great photograph for the person’s LinkedIn profile.  Offering a design for a business card. You know what is needed.

7. A grocery store gift card.  Food is a basic need, and this small or not-so-small gift is bound to be reassuring. Perhaps it could be discreetly tucked into a holiday bowl of fruit.

8. Career assessment.  Most career specialists offer a variety of tests to determine appropriate career directions.  Ask a few people for what they offer, what the cost is, and exactly what to expect in results.  There’s a world of difference among personality, interests, values, and aptitudes.  If you don’t know any career counselors or coaches, you could contact your local community college career center for this service. (A personal aside: I find that many clients are applying to a very narrow field of opportunity, when their skills could also be used in other arenas. Assessment can open one’s eyes to possibilities.)

9. Tickets to a movie, concert, play, lecture, or sporting event.  Choose something that the recipient is known to enjoy.  If a person has been unemployed for a time, this is an area that has been cut from the budget.  A couple of hours of fun will help you stay positive throughout the jobhunting process.

10. Skype skills. Did you know that some screening interviews are being conducted via Skype?  The software is free and relatively easy to master.  But you should not wait until you get a call scheduling this interview for tomorrow morning.  Offer your services as a tutor to get the person up and running.

I hope this list is helpful to you.  Tomorrow I’m releasing a parallel Top 10 list for new graduates.  Stay tuned!

One Response to “The 2010 Ten Best Gifts for Jobhunters”

  1. Maureen Anderson Says:

    I’m happy to make this list again, Anne.


    I’m also happy to have married someone whose last name begins with A.

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