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May 6, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

10 Ways You May Be Unknowingly Hindering a Friend’s Job Hunt

Whether a recent college graduate or someone looking for a better opportunity, when friends or family members announce they are looking for a job, your immediate reaction is to help. A support network of caring individuals is important anytime someone is looking for a new job, but often what people do to help can actually hinder the process. Are you making these 10 mistakes when assisting a loved one in a job search?

1. Don’t offer unsolicited advice
Giving too much advice can be overwhelming, and if you aren’t in the same industry, it could actually be incorrect. What is considered a normal resume, cover letter and interview etiquette can vary from field to field, so don’t let your experience lead him or her down the wrong path.

2. Don’t ask for constant updates
Finding a job takes a lot of time and effort. It can be frustrating and embarrassing to always be asked about progress when none has been made. When there is a worthwhile update, trust your friend will share it with you.

3. Don’t send too many job postings
If you see a few amazing open positions, by all means pass them along to your friend. But you shouldn’t be emailing posts every day. It’s your friend’s duty to job hunt, it’s your duty to listen and be supportive.

4. Don’t take it personally 
Strategies that work for you may not work for others, so don’t be too pushy with your friends who are looking for new jobs. They may have already tried your suggestion or just think it’s not the right fit – it’s nothing against you personally.

5. Don’t ignore your network
One of the ways you can be most valuable to your friend is to offer to connect him or her with your network of professional contacts. These contacts can open doors of opportunity hidden from other job seekers, so don’t forget this valuable way to help.

6. Don’t make it all electronic
Emails are quick and easy, but where you can really show support is in person. For example, networking is a key part of finding a new job, but going alone can be intimidating. Offer to be a wingman (or woman!) to industry events and other professional gatherings.

7. Don’t focus on the free time
For a friend out of work, it can be tempting to try to make him or her feel better by talking about free time. Statements like “It must be nice to sleep in,” or “You have so much time to get errands done,” may be well intentioned, but often come off as condescending.

8. Don’t unknowingly gloat
Do you love your job? Did it only take you four months to find another position when you got laid off? Did you love interviewing? Sharing thoughts and experiences like these might seem like idle chatter, but they can really feel like gloating to a friend who is struggling to find a new job.

9. Don’t just talk about the job search
Your friend is likely spending most of the day looking for a job, networking, responding to emails and learning about industry updates. Your relationship should go beyond the job hunt – so why not meet for lunch or a night out sans job talk?

10. Don’t share your friend’s information without permission
You might think you know exactly what your friend is looking for in a job, but sharing personal information with a contact or company is an extreme violation of privacy and trust. Tell your friend about the opportunity first, and then offer to make the connection once they have given the OK.