In our line of work, underemployed and unemployed friends and relatives seek out our advice.  Usually a resume rewrite, LinkedIn account, and updated resume on a job board will get them further in a hour than 6 months of blindly applying for jobs. For my two nephews, this helped them land in 3 weeks in a down market.  "Uncle Bert, people were calling me the next day." Way to go Patrick and Aaron!


I have a friend who wanted to transition to an HR employee relations role. I looked at his resume and gave him a dose of tough love. "Brent, I would fire the guy who brought me your resume because you have NO transferable skills."  He understood, we reworked his online profile, and in two weeks leveraged his old agency experience to land a corporate recruiting gig.  His foot is in the door, and I'm now teaching him how to speak with and schmooze corporate HR people to get some cross functional HR experience. Way to go Brent!


Now there is my underemployed childhood friend.  I refreshed (by refreshed, I mean spent 3 hours trying to fix the mess he created) his resume and he still used his old one because it was "better." I showed him how LinkedIn works, but he still has no account.  I asked him to repost his resume, but the last time I checked the job boards, it was 10 months old. (Deleted Friend Name) get with the program!


I'm done (Deleted Friend Name).  How do you deal with this situation?

Views: 158

Comment by Amber on May 20, 2011 at 2:23pm

It IS great when you can feel like you really made a positive impact for someone, especially someone you know. I agree the other outcome is hard to understand and deal with - when it's a friend or a RELATIVE it's really difficult to deal with. The only thing I've done in this situation is offer the best advice I have, any resources or assistance I can, and then let it go if they don't seem interested in following any plan I suggested. Or if they take 2 weeks to send me their resume/information, etc., I basically at that point know that any time or effort I choose to invest will likely be wasted.

You know you have done what you can, just wish your friend luck (in your head), and try to talk about other topics when you see him!


Comment by Keith Plesha on May 20, 2011 at 4:08pm
It's frustrating because you want to see those that you associate with succeed.  Whether you are genuinely interested in their career well being or you're just sick of buying them drinks at the bar and listening to them complain about their job or lack thereof.  Honestly, I think you did what you could.  If your friend wants to take your advice, he will need to figure that out on his own.  It's sad because you know what will help their situation, you have given them the tools to make the changes, and they simply don't have the drive or motivation to take the time to do it.  I also think there is general disdain toward those in the recruiting/HR fields.  It's like we're looked down upon because people think the ideas you suggest only pertain to your specific field of hiring.  There are many tangible aspects...such as resume content and format or networking...that easily transfers from industry to industry.  Focus on those that truly want your help as a professional and hopefully those that don't want your help will come around and eventually take your advice to heart.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 20, 2011 at 6:41pm

I have a candidate who has been out of the job market for a vaild reason for since 2005.  He refuses to put up a linked in profile.  Refuses to consider less than 85K since he was making 100K in 2005.  I have talked and suggested until i have decided that the only thing to do is let him vegitate.  I can only put it out there i can't control what he is willing to do.


You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think.

Comment by Reb Blanchard on May 23, 2011 at 2:32pm

An early and great mentor I had the priviledge of working with when I got my first management job in a chem plant taught me a lesson I have used countless times in my work and personal life more times than I can count. Simply put, after watching me almost burn out over trying to motivate a couple of people in the failing department I was thrown into and listening to me lament over the lack of positive results I had been able to affect, he said the following:

"Reb, I like you because you seem to genuinely care about your job and better yet about people around you but you're destined to live a frustrated life unless you learn this fact. You can not motivate anyone on the planet. The best you can do is provide an environment where people can motivate themselves and then keep accurate score of the results and act fairly on them."

Thanks Gene for saving me.

Comment by James Corona on May 23, 2011 at 2:41pm

If you can't change with the times you will die!

Some people prefer to die!

Comment by Mark Bregman on May 23, 2011 at 2:42pm

I keep a sample resume and cover letter on file, plus a document on how to network to get a job, and send it all to folks I know who are in need.  Also give them the 3 minute talk on how to optimize LinkedIN.  I also do offer to look at their resume, but they usually don't expect me to do a rewrite (I'm a retained search guy, up on that pedestal, after all), but I will take 5 minutes, and write them back a critique. 

For clients, or execs terminated by clients, where the relationship has huge future economic value, I do invest time - I will even do a resume re-write for a company exec, and have lunch to counsel them on their job hunt.  Pay it forward; what goes around comes around; good karma!

Comment by Lauren McCabe on May 23, 2011 at 6:05pm

At the end of the day, every mentor/mentee relationship is a give and take. As a mentor you give, and part of that relationship expects that the mentee gives their own time and effort, too. Once they don't, that's when I usually back off.


I think you need to give your friend room to do their own thing. If they're not following your advice, why help?


However, so

Comment by Tony Palm on May 24, 2011 at 4:42pm

Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change."

Comment by Ashley Ryall on May 25, 2011 at 11:52am
Great post, Bert. I encounter this problem with my friends who are recent college grads and could really hit the ground running with their job search if they did all these things that you and your fellow recruiters have posted. Sometimes it means hand holding. I told one of my friends he's GOT TO GET on LinkedIn, and suggested some groups he can join to reach those niche audiences. The truth is, we can provide all the tools in the world (until we're red in the face), but they've got to have the motivation. It's got to be on them. Thanks for posting!


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