It’d be great if you could go out and buy a job at Walmart for someone you love but, unless you know something I don’t, retailers aren’t stocking their shelves with job requisitions (yet).

The closest you can come to giving someone a job, is giving them someone that can give them a job. We all have great people in our personal and professional network and, while they’re not for sale, they could certainly serve as an invaluable gift to an unemployed family member or friend.

Instead of taking an afternoon to browse the mall, take a minute to browse your mind for people you know that are in a position to help the people you love and care for. Remember, this goes beyond thinking of hiring managers and HR people. Consider any of the following open-minded people as job-search resources:

  • People who hold (or have held) the target job function (e.g. Marketing Manager, Financial Analyst)
  • People with knowledge of, or experience in, the target industry (e.g. Healthcare, IT, Alternative Energy)
  • People who have serviced organizations in the target industry such as vendors, resellers, business partners, consultants, subcontractors, and clients/customers.
  • People in Academia who have taught or done research related to the target job function or industry
  • People you trust who would enjoy making a new connection.

If you’ve ever been unemployed for any length of time, you may remember how overwhelmed and isolated you felt, watching the rest of the world go on with their working lives while you ponder existential, emotional, and financial dilemmas. You may also remember how great it was to meet someone who could inform your job search, even for just a few minutes. It’s these serendipitous connections, these accidental yet meaningful encounters that inspire us to keep searching.

So until you can go to a wholesale grocery store like Costco and buy your friend a promotion with full benefits alongside your gallon of milk and lift ticket to Tahoe, consider giving the gift of connection. It’s cheap, easy to ship, and could turn into a treasured keepsake.

Job Market, Networking