Monday, July 6, 2009

Helping Job Seekers

New York Times: Helping the Job Seeker Without Hurting Yourself

I just wrote about how to better network if you're unemployed. You may have noticed that I emphasized to job seekers to network primarily through people who can vouch for them. It is important to network even further out than that, but if you're a person that people try to network through often, you know that you can't help everyone.

I was recently approached by a student from my former university who wanted a recommendation. I didn't know him, but he was apparently under the impression that I'd just recommend him based on our common university background. His resume looked pretty good, though a couple of parts were rather suspicious. I explained that I could only recommend him if one of a list of four professors that I trusted him could recommend him strongly.

As it turned out, he had been attempting to hide some important facts in his resume - and none of the professors were willing to recommend him. If I had recommended him, those facts would have inevitably come out during the interview process, and my recommendations would be less trusted, and I'd be less able to help other job-seekers in the future!

He ended up applying for the job without my recommendation, and was not invited to an interview. I gave him quite a bit of advice about how to improve his career options, and hopefully he'll fix up the things that are holding him back.

The New York Times article above has quite a few more good points about avoiding these types of problems when helping job-seekers.

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