Job searching is a tricky task, no matter how prepared you are. You may have a polished online presence, a killer resume and tons of experience, but it won't necessarily translate to employers climbing over themselves to snag you as an employee. Sometimes, we're still left with no leads to speak of and our networking contacts all spoken for. While all hope may seem lost, this is exactly the time job seekers and friends must help each other.
A sense of service to others is the true key to career success, according to Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton Business School and the University of Pennsylvania who champions research on organizational psychology, or the study of workplace dynamics. His research is truly astounding -- he's found helping others boosts professional motivation, leading to better relationships, increased creativity, and more productivity overall.
If you're stuck in your job search or know a friend or fellow job seeker who is also struggling, why not lend a hand? Helping others to find work can boost your sense of self-worth, giving you the motivation to barrel on in your own hunt. After all, there have been plenty of companies and entrepreneurs that have failed several times before finding success.
Here are a few ways to get started helping others in the job search:
Connect through social media. Reach out to other job seekers and professionals looking for new work or projects. You may already be a staunch user of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for personal or professional efforts, but it's never too late to seek out new groups or community pages to meet others in a similar situation. Seek out groups related to your career goals and interests, your college alumni, or look for job seeker communities in general.
Share job search stories and advice. Once you've connected with other job seekers, start sharing your job search stories -- positive or negative. Gleaning information from others in a similar situation can be a great way to determine what works and what doesn't when trying to snag an "in" with your dream company or connect with an industry professional you admire.
Brainstorm creative job search practices. There are likely tons of unique ways to get hiring managers to notice you -- you just haven't thought of them yet. Why not ask other job seekers for techniques they've tried, and share some of your own? Some job seekers turn to video resumes or colorful personal websites to stand out from the crowd, others may craft their cover letter after a favorite TV theme song. Help other job seekers determine what may work for them, and learn what might work for you.
Offer motivation. Job seeking is stressful, and it can be easy to get down on yourself when you're on that sixth month of unemployment. Sometimes all the experience and motivation in the world won't get you an offer the second you need it. Remember, there are other people out there who are struggling, too. Remind other job seekers or your friends of their worth, and motivate them when they're feeling down. Just offering a kind word can do wonders for your own sense of professional value.
Start a local group for job seekers. A community group can be a great way for friends and job seekers to come together to share experiences and work on job search strategies. Post fliers in your community and plan to meet at a local library or coffee shop -- you never know what opportunities will arise. Once you've established a group, you can even plan time for fun outings to get your mind off the daily grind of job searching, which is often full-time work in itself.
Helping others can give you a sense of self-worth that can often be hard to come by on the job search. Help a friend or fellow job seeker first, and see how your luck turns around.
Follow Patrick Richard on Twitter: www.twitter.com/shinyneedle