Before you agree to help your friends with their job search and applications, it's important to know your boundaries. You don't want to set yourself up for a huge commitment (you are not a professional career counselor), but you do want to be a supportive and helpful friend. Too much dependence on you could make you resentful, and too much criticism could upset your jobless friend. Avoid nasty situations from arising by following these tips.
- Give advice based on your skills – Perhaps you are a great communicator and networker but terrible at grammar. Only help your friend in areas where you feel strong and confident. Otherwise, you may make a glaring oversight that could compromise their application process.
- Respond promptly – You have a busy schedule too, but it's important that if you agree to help them, respond to their emails or phone calls in a timely manner. Otherwise, you are wasting their time by your flakiness, which could cause them to lose the opportunity.
- Make small edits to cover letters and resumés – Do check for grammatical errors and clarity, but don't tear apart their work and make elaborate changes. After all, their work must showcase and maintain their voice.
- Offer a list of informative websites – If you don't want to spend a lot of time going over all the gritty formalities of the job application process, recommend a few websites that cover the basics of how to build a resumé and prepare for the interview.
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- Always be supportive and constructive – Job searches can be tough on the morale and confidence, and many people become hypersensitive during this time. Find ways to be uplifting and encouraging to your friend, and be constructive in your criticism.
- Recommend your friends, only if appropriate – If your friend shows interest in working for your company, only recommend them to your manager if you could see them thriving at your workplace. As their friend, you know how they communicate, work, and respond to stress.
- Conduct a mock interview – Without interruptions, play the role as the hiring manager, and ask your friend questions that they will anticipate for the real interview. Listen to their answers carefully, jot down good and bad observations, and go over your suggestions afterward.
- Leave details to the experts – While there are some universal rules for the application process, don't assume that you know their industry. Answer general questions, but suggest that they turn to another friend for details or a trustworthy perspective.