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How To Help Significant Other

Dear Career Tips:
How To Help Significant Other

From Career Tips, 2018 Volume 4, April 2018

My significant other is in the midst of an extended job search. He refuses to join LinkedIn and has hundreds of friends on Facebook. He’s only starting to talk to his connections more recently.

He seems to appreciate when I send him job leads. I try to be supportive without overdoing it. Once in a while I send him articles I read that may be of interest/help. Months go by without my bringing up the subject in conversation. When he brings it up, that’s when I say, “have you thought about…?”

He’s not considering contract jobs. He hasn’t let me review his resume, despite frequent offers. When he told me he’s applied, I asked him which companies and gave him 2 good contacts I had. He waited weeks before reaching out to them and doesn’t think they can do anything for him, because they don’t work in his department.

He doesn’t understand/believe how referrals work, even when I told him of my own experience and explained that the idea was for them to send his resume directly to the hiring manager or to give him the contact info of the hiring manager. When we talk on the phone and I ask what he’s doing, lately he tells me he’s on the computer looking for work.

He has years of experience at several different companies and thinks his age is a problem. I don’t know how to approach the subject of his job search any more. I’m looking for advice for myself, not him. What can I do to help, encourage or nudge him into better practices that yield interviews?

Dear Nudging:
It sounds like he’s stuck, and not really very responsive to advice.
 Perhaps if he got out to some other career networking groups, and started hearing from people there what has been successful for them. And then instead of suggesting what he should be doing, you could ask him what others in his situation are finding is working.

A key is that somehow he needs to realize that he needs to change what he’s doing, and take ownership for the changes. The more you can simply ask questions that get him thinking, rather than making the suggestions yourself, the more chance there is that he actually does something. Basically, this is about coaching – a great book on the topic that is an easy read and can provide a roadmap for that is Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore.

He can find an exhaustive list of career networking groups in NJ and surrounding areas on Alex Freund’s website. If he’s unlikely to go on his own, perhaps you could find ones that sound interesting and then ask him to come with you to check them out.

Given the extended search, I wonder if he’s also feeling depressed. That by itself can make the search extremely difficult – many are hesitant to hire the depressed. The best candidates are upbeat, confident, and positive influences on the rest of the team, and project that. He might need to work on that, to get himself to the right frame of mind.

I can think of 2 candidates in particular I worked with who had been out of work for 2 years. In both cases, the key to turning things around was getting them back to believing they had a lot of great results to present, and how to present those confidently. We dove deep into their resume and background to pull those out and get then fully in touch with them, and how they would present them. Within a few months, they each landed in exactly the job they wanted, and had a long track record of success from there.

Has he ever read What Color Is Your Parachute? It’s a really good primer on the entire job search process, and might help him assess and ‘reset’ his approach.