Have you ever been approached by someone to help him find a job? For most people, it is not an easy thing to do — to reach out to their contacts for help in finding employment.

Finding a job is not as straightforward any more. There are things we can all do to help someone out. It will take a bit of time and energy but wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you if you were in his shoes? Here are some suggestions:

Make time

Even if it is for a quick coffee, if it is someone you know and care about, make it a point to reach out to him regularly. I called a friend every day when she lost her job. Sometimes, that is all that is needed — just letting them know you care and you are interested. It also helps to boost their confidence.

Someone I didn’t know very well came to see me one day and she was in tears because she had been retrenched. She spoke about her pain and how she didn’t make time to heal when she suffered a serious illness and went back to work after her surgery — only to be let go a few years later.

I knew she was vulnerable and needed time to heal. As I was due to travel the next day, I invited her to travel with me. One of the trips I had to make was to a small orphanage in a village where I had donated some money. The children sang and welcomed us, and we were moved to tears just to see them so happy, even though they had very little.

This experience changed my friend, and when we returned to Singapore, she picked herself up and found herself an overseas posting. She has never looked back and is doing well. 

Positive state of mind

Sometimes, when people are out of work, they tend to look at what is not working. It is only natural to find reasons why they are in the current position.

Don’t let them sink into a complaining mindset or buy into stories about job losses and bad markets. As long as there are businesses out there making money, there are jobs. Get them to read something inspiring and try to get them to keep active by doing some charity or volunteer work. 


If you know a recruiter, contact the recruiter and ask him to help your friend. Reach out to people you know within companies that  are hiring. This is so important. Make time to go through your contact list to see who may be able to assist, and call or send an e-mail  message to open the door.

We get so caught up with our own work that we forget to think about how someone who is out of work must be feeling. This simple gesture can sometimes go a long way. I know many cases where a “friend of a friend of a friend“ found someone the right opportunity. 

Testimonials and references

If you have worked before with the person who is looking for a job, offer to write a letter of reference. Endorse him in LinkedIn if he has a profile there. 

Invitations to events and conferences

Invite your friend to events and conferences, especially ones where he may get to meet prospective employers. People don’t get invited to the same events when they stop working, so if you have an opportunity to bring a guest, do so. 

Career coach

Sometimes, getting professional support is useful; your friend may not hear what you have to say but may listen to what the coach has to say. If your friend can afford it, direct him to an expert who can help.

Project work

If you know of any openings for project work or if you have some deadlines to meet within your company and can employ some extra help, think about people you know who may be out of work and if they can do the task for a small fee. It is not about the money — many people I know who are looking for work just appreciate the opportunity to be occupied and to contribute. 


We sometimes underestimate the power of encouragement. When you have an urge to contact your friend, do so. Think of the times when you felt down and a friend called. Every now and then, send him a video clip, a nice quote or a card — he will appreciate the gesture and be touched by your kindness. Every little bit helps to get someone on the road to employment again.


Article by Laletha Nithiyanandan, an entrepreneur with more than 30 years’ experience in talent acquisition and management. Besides founding companies like Business Trends and the Behavioural Consulting Group, a management consulting firm specialising in utilising Behavioural Science principles, her latest venture is Talent Design Potential (TDP-Asia), which specialises in executive search. Follow her in her LinkedIn group — Positive Leadership Impact — or read her blog at www.everydaytransformations.com