“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” ~ Mother Teresa
A long-time client I’ll call Gabe, called me recently. This successful Vice President with a major health care organization reached out to me to help someone he knew who was in a job search and struggling financially.
The deal was simple. He would invest in the services. I would consult with—and prepare career marketing collateral for— his friend. He did not want her to pay him back. Her part of the bargain was that when she was back on her feet, she would offer the same career assistance to another job seeker in need.
My client had made this arrangement with me before. That recipient had gone on to open her own business, and to date has helped other job seekers in many ways.
For those not able to help by actually paying for services, there are other ways:
- Pay-it-forward networking. Unlearn the idea that networking is a formal event. It can be anything from a Saturday night gathering to a business meeting or annual conference. If you hear that someone’s in a search and you know someone they could reach out to, forward that information. Better yet, introduce the two people to each other.
- Give an informational interview. Offer to spend 15-30 minutes talking with a job seeker about your career or industry.
- Serve as a reference. The reference check is often a crucial step in the hiring process. If you can speak to someone’s strengths, volunteer to be a reference.
- Contact organizations like professional associations or school alma maters/career services. Offer to participate in a career fair, resume review, mock interview or mentor a job seeker.
- Stay in touch. Looking for a job in a recession can be a discouraging, isolating experience. Call or email a job seeker you know to check in, offer your encouragement or take him/her to lunch.
Do you have other ideas for paying it forward to job seekers who need help? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Here are other ideas on helping those looking for work.
Gabe reached out. He had expectations: “Pass it along as you go.” As we move into this holiday season, it’s a great time to think of this lesson. As Amelia Earhart said,
“No action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”