SolveYourProblem Article Series: Careers and Jobs
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How Can I Help Someone Who Is Unemployed?

As long-term unemployment grows, many people want to know what they can do to help others who are struggling without a job. There are certainly some effective ways to support your friends and family, as well as people you may not even know personally.

Helping Your Friends and Family Through Long-Term Unemployment:

1. Offer emotional support. Economic downturns can be devastating. Encourage your loved ones to think positively and maintain healthy activities including regular physical exercise and a nutritious diet. Propose enjoyable social activities that can help them reduce stress and feelings of isolation.

2. Find sensitive and creative ways to help financially. Some people may feel uncomfortable accepting money directly. You can still be a good friend by sharing money saving tips such as recipes for inexpensive meals or starting a vegetable garden. Offer to exchange services like babysitting or home repairs to enable them to feel productive and reduce expenses.

3. Assist with their job search. Keep your eyes open for promising leads and offer to make introductions and provide references, if appropriate. You can also volunteer to rehearse for interviews or proofread their resume.

4. Encourage spiritual solutions. Many people find refuge in spiritual and religious practices. If you share the same faith background, ensure they have a ride to church. If you have different beliefs, rejoice in any benefits they receive from their own traditions.

Doing Your Part to Reduce Long-Term Unemployment:

1. Keep informed about the policy issues. Stay up to date on the economic and social conditions in your area and around the nation. By educating yourself, you'll be better prepared to take constructive action.

2. As a citizen, advocate for policies that help people who are out of work. Governments around the world are trying to come up with more options than just extending unemployment benefits.

  • Support investments in retraining programs and efforts to promote self-employment.

3. As an employer, seek ways to hire the long-term unemployed. Evaluate old policies that may no longer make sense. Gaps in employment and bad credit need not disqualify job candidates if they are the consequence of the current economic downturn, rather than indications of irresponsible conduct.

  • Take a fresh look at hiring older workers or allowing work share arrangements suitable for your business needs.

4. As a consumer, look for opportunities to help people make some supplemental income. From garage sales to paid blogging, people are doing all kinds of things to raise some quick cash.

  • Browse around Craigslist and Etsy. Chances are you can combine buying the stuff you need anyway with providing additional business for these worthy ventures.

5. Volunteer in your community and online. Put your individual skills to use in your own neighborhood or on the Internet. Community non-profits are struggling to meet increased demands so volunteer at your local food bank or community garden.

  • Ask your church to host a job fair.
  • Post articles online about frugal living or how to find employment in your industry.

6. Practice kindness and patience. More than ever, you may not know what financial difficulties the stranger next to you is facing. Treat everyone with a bit more kindness and patience.

Long-term unemployment has climbed in recent years, but there are many opportunities to help others get through these difficult times. Look for ways to support the people you love and promote a society where everyone can meet their needs.

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