10 Best Christmas Gifts for Jobseekers

Q: “I have a friend who is jobless since she graduated last April. Lately, she seems depressed. What do you suggest I give her to cheer her up?” (email from Marie of Zambales)

Honestly, the only best thing a jobseeker would wish for underneath his / her Christmas tree is a “JOB OFFER”. Sadly, we cannot buy a “job” and wrap it for our unemployed relative or friend.
We totally understand why most jobseekers feel gloomy during this season. While most are busy spending their Christmas bonuses, the unemployed are feeling left out as they cannot afford to join in the merriment. Even if invited, some would not even attend Christmas parties, as they do not have the resources to buy gifts for their family and friends.
You may buy any gift, but it is best to give a present that will help the jobseeker increase his / her chances of employment. Here are some suggestions, and let us hope that this would make our unemployed loved ones more successful in their job hunt.
1. Business Cards. Most hiring managers will be impressed if the jobseeker has a neatly designed calling card. This gift is not really expensive, but is useful and practical to all job applicants.
2. Portfolio bag. This will help organize a jobseeker’s application letters, pen, and business cards.
3. Daily Planner. This will assist in organizing interview schedules and follow-ups. A daily planner will help a jobseeker not miss any appointment.
4. Self-improvement and motivational books. One of the best ways to spend time is to read books that will add knowledge and improve skills. I also include motivational books but make sure it is not one of those books that will promote unrealistic expectations.
5. Prepaid cell loads. Communication tools are a necessity not only for conversing with friends, but will also enable a jobseeker to receive calls or text messages from a prospective employer.
6. Prepaid MRT/LRT cards. If your friend is likely to use either the MRT or LRT then giving prepaid MRT / LRT cards is one of the most useful gifts in job hunting.
7. Gift or grocery certificates. Having no income for several months may leave your friend short on so many things. It will be impossible for you to predict what the most needed item is. Giving a gift certificate instead will allow your friend to buy the critical stuffs.
8. Clothing or make up kit. You may buy a necktie for males, or a make-up kit for females. This would make him / her look smarter, and more business-like. Depending on your finances, you may also opt to buy the jobseeker business attire. This helps enhance his/her personal image, and may help a lot during job application.
9. Make-Over. If you find this expensive, you may ask other friends or family members to chip-in with you. You may pool your resources, so you can send your loved one to a beauty make-over. This will enhance the jobseeker’s self-esteem and improve the chances during the interview.
10. Training Programs. Again, this is not cheap but you may enrol your friend in a seminar or workshop that will help boost his / her credentials. The certification will look good in the resume, and the new skill learned will increase the chances of getting employment. The following programs are highly recommended: Basic Leadership Training, Personality Development, Speech class, Business Etiquette, or Computer Skills Training. You may also consider other related professional programs.
There are so many other gift suggestions, but you must also evaluate the needs of the unemployed. It is not only what you give but in the tactful manner you offer it that may make the gift appreciated.
Finally, the best thing to give the unemployed is free (although it takes more patience). Give them encouragement, love, support, and understanding. You can do this by giving a little more of your time. Saying that you are too busy to talk too long is like reminding them that they are unemployed. This season is not jolly for most jobseekers, but you can find plenty of ways to cheer them up.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.

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