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Helping People in the Job Market

Helping People in the Job Market

The job market is a tough place.

Did you need help when you entered the job market? Maybe you are in the market right now. When I started my career after graduating from college, the job market was a tough place to be. Our country was in a recession and it was tough out there. Mom or dad didn’t have connections. Close relatives didn’t have connections. My college’s placement office was overwhelmed and understaffed.

HR people were rude.

When starting my career, job applicants read the newspaper and sent resumes by snail mail. I sent countless resumes and cover letters. Rarely, I mean rarely, did I hear back from them. I would call the human resource department but they wouldn’t return my call or provide any details about the status of the search. In most cases, HR department employees were quite rude.

It was a discouraging time.

Since that time early in my career, I made a firm commitment as a human resource professional to treat job applicants with dignity and respect. As much as possible, I would be open and honest with them over the phone and in-person. I also made a personal commitment to help friends, acquaintances and fellow HR professionals who were in the job market. When helping someone, I may not magically find them a job but I can provide advice and moral support.

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Hard times provide good lessons and crystal clear perspective.

My experience as a 22-year-old college graduate floundering in the job market with no help made me sympathetic to the plight of those seeking employment. When I was the leader of a large company’s HR function, I made an unwavering commitment to communicate with people who applied for positions. When we received resumes via email, online or snail mail, we acknowledged them; a very rare occurrence in the HR world. When we filled the job, we notified those who applied. After filling the job, we made personal phone calls to those who interviewed for the job; an even rarer occurrence.

When you help people it makes you feel good. You are also making the dog-eat-dog employment world a friendlier place. You also never know the position of authority the one you helped will rise to. Regardless, it’s the right thing to do.

Who can you help?

Do you know anyone in the job market who could use a helping hand? Maybe they need help networking. Maybe they need a professional recommendation. Maybe they just need someone to meet them for coffee and talk about life in general or their job search experience. Or maybe they need someone to encourage them and provide hope for the future.

Young people starting their careers need advice about their job search. Those who have reached the mid-life barrier especially need help as companies today are enamored with recruits who have youth and good looks.

You likely have been there.

Whatever you can do, do it. I suspect you have been in their shoes. You have walked that lonely road of seeking employment. With all the layoffs our country has experienced, it is highly probable you have been there and done that.

If you have never been laid-off or been in the job market since you graduated, just keep that to yourself. No reason to get high and mighty and crush people who have not been as fortunate.

Serve those who need serving.

Give yourself to others. Lift someone up. And hopefully they will pass it on when it’s their turn.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees’ desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.

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