Over the past decade, nearly every American has felt the effects of our economy’s Great Recession. For some, this meant downsizing, more debt, extra shifts, and increased stress. For others, the Great Recession caused layoffs and business closures — often without warning. These people soon faced home foreclosures, overdue bills, and the daunting reality of unemployment.
In August 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9, the lowest it’s been in a generation. This is great news, but it doesn’t mean that unemployment has ceased to be an issue that needs to be addressed.
Unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, can be financially, emotionally, and spiritually devastating for job seekers, families, and friends. If you know someone who is unemployed, the good news is there are ways you can help.
Read through our list of four ways you can help your friends find employment below.
When dealing with unemployment, it’s easy to focus too much on the negatives. As a friend, the best way to combat this depression, doubt, and discouragement is to offer encouragement and positivity. Have a coffee date or dinner and offer a safe space to talk about their struggles, feeling, and worries. These topics are often withheld for fear of causing stress on loved ones, so be sure to let your friend know that you want to know how life is really going. Research has found that the longer someone is unemployed, the harder it is to find a job. Most employers will question the gaps between jobs, which can damage confidence and the motivation to find new work. To battle these feelings, encourage them to act by updating resumes, submitting applications and attending job fairs. Remind your friend of their talents, skills, and accomplishments to raise self-esteem and provide compelling resume material.
Most importantly, if your friend is battling depression, help them find professional help. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking directly about it, enlist the help of a close loved one.
Many people find jobs through personal or second-hand connections. Be on the lookout for potential opportunities within your network and ask around for job openings. If you know someone who has worked in the same field or works with career coaching, refer them to your friend. You never know what could help.
The best way to find work is to be proactive. Help your friend set weekly goals and keep them accountable. When each goal is met, celebrate the victory before setting a new goal. Help them create healthy, helpful habits and encourage action without nagging or becoming overbearing.
There is never a situation that can’t be helped with prayer. Whether you are meeting with your friend to pray over them directly or including them in your daily prayers, you can make a difference by placing the situation in God’s hands. Encourage your friend to pair prayer with action and see what amazing things can happen!