Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer
Pretty much everyone has been a job seeker at some point in their lives. But if you’re blissfully employed (or at least employed), you might have some amnesia around what it’s like to be in a job search – and the frustrations that come with it.
So, if your friend/family member/significant other is currently unemployed and on the hunt, try to be sensitive to their situation, and avoid these seven questions or phrases that they’re simply tired of hearing:
- Any updates? With a job search, there are going to be times when things are quiet and slow. So, it can be really annoying if you’re constantly asking your job seeker friends whether they have any updates/leads/interviews, etc. If they’re hitting a brick wall, it can be stressful and embarrassing to have nothing to report back. Or, they may feel like they have to come up with some sort of excuse for why they’re not making any traction. It’s OK to check in occasionally, but don’t overdo it.
- You haven’t found a job yet? This is along the same lines as the above question – but way worse. There is no specific timeframe that is considered “normal” for finding a job. Some people are lucky and get hired right away, while others may endure a job search that takes several months, or even years. And you don’t always know all the circumstances surrounding someone’s unemployment – so asking this question can come across as just plain insensitive.
- Must be nice to have so much free time! This is basically like telling someone on maternity leave they’re on a “baby vacation.” Job searching is a full-time job, so while they may not be going into an office every day, they’re still hard at work. And often any “free” time they have isn’t that enjoyable, because they’re stressed out or concerned about finding a job – and having a consistent income.
- Are you really sure you’re qualified for that job? When someone has been job searching for a while, their confidence might already be shaky. So if they’re excited about a certain job opportunity, even if it’s not exactly in line with their qualifications, don’t rain on their parade. Sure, it’s definitely an advantage to have the exact qualifications and skills as the job opportunity requires, but transferable skills matter too – as do soft skills. So, while on paper they may not seem 100 per cent qualified, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t win the employer over in person.
- Don’t you have any connections that can hook you up with a job? It can certainly make things easier to have a connection to leverage, but not everyone does. And, even if someone does have an “in” at a company or within a certain field, that doesn’t mean they’re automatically guaranteed a job and don’t have to do any of the hard work or pavement pounding that comes with a standard job search.
- You should really be look into being a [completely unrelated job to what you’re applying for]. Yes, health care jobs are hot right now, but your creative artist sister is likely not interested in going back to school to become a registered nurse. So, stop trying to pressure her into pursuing a job she’s not passionate about, even if the ones she is aren’t the highest-paying or in the fastest-growing industry.
- I’m sure you’ll find something …eventually. This is one of those phrases you say when you don’t know what else to say to someone. And you mean well when you say it, but it can often come across as condescending (along the same lines as “hang in there!” and “it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen!”).
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do for someone you know and love is to be there for them if they need to vent, serve as resume proof-reader and interview preparation helper, and just in general, provide support for them when they ask for it.