Best gifts for job seekers

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Chances are you probably know quite a few people who are smack in the middle of a job search, and if any of them are on your holiday gift list this year, you may want to pay a little extra attention to what you stuff their stockings with.

Today’s job search is pretty stressful and the right gift can go a long way in restoring a job seeker’s positivity, giving them much-needed peace of mind or even improving their chances of landing their dream job. So before you wrap up another pair of socks or popcorn tin, check out the gifts below for something your favorite job hunter will really appreciate.

1. Interview outfit: Most people only have one or two outfits in their closet that they consider interview-worthy, and even the snazziest pantsuit can get boring or drab if it’s worn to half-a-dozen job interviews. If a friend or family member has been pounding the pavement, give him or her the confidence boost that the right outfit can bestow. A new interview outfit will be especially appreciated by those who haven’t conducted a job search in a while, since their clothing options may be outdated. Don’t feel comfortable picking out an outfit? A gift card to a department store is another good option.

2. Résumé writing service: Writing a killer résumé is the first step to a rewarding job search, but successfully taking that step is easier said than done. Many people struggle with questions like: “How long should my résumé be?” “Should I list my employment history chronologically or functionally?” and “If I wasn’t in a sales role, how do I quantify my achievements at my last job?”

A professional résumé writer can answer all of these questions, and make sure that the document is formatted properly and grammatically sound to boot. For professional résumé writing, check out CBRésumé or the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches.

3. Massage: Massage is almost unbeatable when it comes to stress-relief. Studies have shown that benefits of massage can include decreased anxiety, higher energy levels and better sleep quality, all of which will be greatly appreciated by anyone in the middle of a job search. Visit the website for the American Massage Therapy Association to find a practitioner near you.

4. Career coach: If you’re going all out for the job seeker on your list this year, it doesn’t get much better than a personal career coach. Career coaches are a one-stop shop for everything from interview preparation, to cover letter and résumé writing, to helping job seekers choose the career path that best-matches their skills and interests. Career coaches also serve as a source of motivation and support throughout the job hunt.  An Internet search for career coaches in your area should turn up options in a variety of price points and specialties.

5. Salon gift certificates: The gift of pampering is both fun and practical. Guys can get a new ‘do for the new year, and ladies can put their best hands forward with a pre-interview manicure.

6. Interview “extras”: If the job-seeker on your list is currently unemployed, give him the job search extras he probably won’t splurge on for himself. A leather portfolio, a nice pen or a personalized set of business cards all make great gifts.

7. Coffee shop gift card: Job searching from home day in and day out — especially in the winter — can cause a case of cabin-fever in even the most enthusiastic homebodies. Find a local coffee house (preferably one with free Wi-Fi) and get a gift certificate that will cover a few lattes. It’s an inexpensive gift, but the change of scenery included will be priceless.

Do you have any other great gift ideas for job seekers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

Still struggling with what to wear to holiday party or what to get your co-workers? These posts will simplify your holiday season:

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50 Comments
  1. I recommend that anyone looking for a job buy the book “Job Hunting 101″, by Matt Gordon. Not only is it suprisingly enjoyable to read, it is packed with amazing advice. It covers every aspect of your job search. In my opinion, if you read and follow the advice in this book you will end up with a job you actually love.

    • Well.. they also are going to need to cut back on the expenses.. and that means.. cooking for themselves and not eating out or ordering in. So I would recommend a great and hilarious, politically incorrect cookbook called.. well I won’t tell you the name of it here cause some of you will freak out on me, but if you google “whipped and beaten culinary works”, you can find it.. but seriously.. make sure they have a good sense of humor and don’t get offended if you get it for them!

  2. Job seekers can pick up great ideas and search for job openings on the Staffmark website or go to their facebook page and become a Fan and their tips will appear on your wall each day! As an added bonus, they are giving $1.00 to Big Brothers/Big Sisters,Habitat for Humanity or Boy and Girls Clubs of America for each new Facebook Fan they get through Dec 17, 2010, So, help out your friends and a great charity at the same time. Good Luck!

    • As the adage goes, “give a person a fish and you give them a meal. Teach them to fish and you give them a life.” I strongly suggest giving “Job Hunting 101″ by Matt Gordon.

    • Wouldn’t it be counterproductive to give a gift card to the same corporations who are responsible for all the outsourcing of millions of American jobs ,and for the fact that every other piece of junk on your list says ‘made in china’??? give a gift card to a local family owned business instead, it is more envir. correct, and shows you have a conscience….unless you want to be working at walmart in which case you will still basically be on the ‘public option’ of health insurance.

  3. I agree with thunky and Gayle – and as thunky thought, there MAY be immediate needs that need attention like food, toilet paper, and soap! And yes Gayle, one’s friendship can help double as a career coach to whatever degree you can.

    • the biggest gift for the country would be to boot out all GOP who insist on bailing out billionaires, and blackmailing working class…Billions of $$$ to already super-rich could have instead been used to help unemployed and poor in this country…it is always somebody else until it isn’t. vote with your conscience and your brain and not based on hate or all of this job seeking baloney is moot….

    • what a very smart idea, do both…its hard when ur worrying about getting a job and believe me money is tight…so a gift card for grocery store, target or walmart seems to be perfect gift.

  4. wHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A POTENTIAL COMPANY REQUIRES A BIRTHDATE?
    iI THOUGHT THAT WAS ILLEGAL AND THEIR REPLY THAT THEY MUST CHECK YOUR CITIZENSHIP WITH SS. I HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND CAN PROVE MY AGE BUT THEY ARE USING AGE TO TOSS MY APPS THAT I SPEND HOURS COMPLETING (60 YEARS WORK EXPERIENCE) AND THEN MY APP GETS TOSSED BECAUSE THEY ARE SURE I’M TOO OLD.

    • TELL THEM YOUR LIKE A FINE WINE YOU BECOME BETTER WITH AGE!!! THEY WILL UNDERSTAND ONE!!! AND WISDOM & KNOWLEDGE WILL KEEP THEM FROM HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT MISTAKES SOME NEWBY WOULD MAKE!

      • hey attention ATTENTION TO 4gotten_American:
        If you don’t know the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE…….
        YOU SHOULD NOT BE GIVING ADVICE TO ANYONE!!!!!

        BESIDES THE QUESTION OF AGE DISCRIMINATION IS ALIVE AND WELL IS A REALITY!!!! Are you honestly serious telling a prospective employer “oh yea I’m like a fine wine” how ridiculous!!!!!!!! I have been discriminated against over and over and over again!!! My recourse??? I could tape the interview, oh that’ll get me the job won’t it??? NOT!!!
        Besides I do not have the resources to sue these idiot companies!!
        My feeling is I am so happy NOT TO HAVE TO WORK FOR THESE JERKS!!!!! But we OVER 50 babyboomers, have resources, like AARP, listing companies who value and understand the value of EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE! I just came away from one of those companies, yes it’s through a TEMP agency, but I know for a fact I will be HIRED eventually, WHY? because I AM THAT GOOD!

    • maybe it is not your age, but your stinky attitude and presentation…this comment section was geared toward helping your unemployed friends by giving them a “great” gift for Christmas, not for you to complain! Seriously, check your attitude before you start screaming discrimination!

  5. THIS ARTICLE FORGOT TO MENTION AS THUNKY SAID -FOOD OR A GAS CARD OR A BUS PASS FOR SOME MONTHS TO GET TO THE INTERVIEWS!! IF YOU HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED FOR MONTHS, YOU WILL NOT BE THINKING OF A MASSAGE AND CLOTHES AND FACIALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU WILL BE THINKING WHERE IS MY NEXT MEAL COMING FROM OR WILL I BE HOMELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. @ thunky I want to say you’re so right-give a gift card or pay a bill! Only a person who is struggling or has been through the struggle understand your message.

    @ Gayle-girl if someone gave me a book and I’m struggling to feed my family, or to keep my utilities on, or a roof over our head I would truly be upset at them and wonder if they are disturbed! You could give them a connection for a job (not a book on Job Hunting)! I’m sure by now that whomever they are giving the book to most likely can right a book on searching for a job & it’s struggles of not being employed…. I’m cracking up on here with these gift idea you all are suggesting. I do like the give a interview outfit- yes that’s surely needed since ppl can’t buy a new one w/o money from a job or w/o unemployment. Wow I pray for America as whole because we truly have become outrageous and greedy! How heartless and non-caring we have become-oh congress shame on you all! Anyways, all this stuff was here before Obama became President & we all know that Presidents can only do so much w/o approval from other areas-so our best bet in this country is to keep praying for improvement! God Bless!

  7. To help the unemployed I (1) make copies of craigslist job posting and post them in places people hang out at, (3) pay or help pay for utilities for people I see advertise for help on craigslist(I send funds directly to company, not to the person) (4) buy a bus/train pass, and (5) use part of my earning from selling Avon to fund these help projects. You can help me help by ordering Avon from me @www.youravon.com/djohnson5458. Please be advised I don’t do certified checks.

    We all need to help each other out in these times.

  8. I think they forgot to mention two very important things (or maybe I missed it while I was speed reading): Money and a job. Two of the greatest gifts a job seeker needs and wants.

  9. one should donate a lot to causes I believe in for poor and for environment…muslims give ten percent of all earnings to poor, it is part of their religion….

    The next generation is still inheriting another couple trillion because our govt. doesn’t have balls to stop our fiscal train wreck….and give to your neighbor who doesn’t care about island nations disappearing underwater due to global warming, entirely man-made or not….

    Why are we policing the world when we have no $$$?

    We can’t even go to a truth exposing site telling us what the rest of the world is already aware of: that our own corrupt govt. would sell us out in a second and makes shady back door deals….and tries to split every other country on the planet for our own short term gain…

    How about actually having a progressive movement to take back our country ???

    How can ANY goper run for president legally since they are all paid consultants to fox and saying people need to pick themselves up AFTER they’ve already gotten theirs????

  10. If your budget will allow:

    - a short term gift certificate to a gym. It gives the job seeker someplace to go besides the help wanted office. The exercise will help the mental health of the job seeker. Losing a few extra pounds will help the job seeker look his/her best at the interview. If a gym membership is a bit much, perhaps a session or two with a personal trainer to design exercise programs that the job hunter can do at home.

    - help covering repairs/maintenance on the car.

    - some grocery stores also have gift cards (in addition to Target/WalMart).

    - a time-out from job hunting, i.e. tickets to a movie or a play. To some this would seem frivolous. But the change of pace can help the job hunter’s state of mind so that s/he goes into the job interview giving off positive vibes instead of desperation.

    - gift certificate for a training class. Many employers want to see that a candidate is committed to continuous learning/education. A class – even a short one – will be a resume booster.

    - Management related/professional development book. Some employers still ask (or you can name drop during the interview) what you are reading. See above about continuous learning. The job hunter can reference the book and some of the concepts outlined.

  11. The best gift ideas show love and support so I think if after spending most of my time enduring separation, rejection and insecurity while trying to obtain employment, someone handed me what boils down to the idiot’s guide to employment (for Christmas) I’d have to rethink our friendship; that isn’t being supportive but critical of my methods without necessarily knowing what they are and quite impersonal (hurtful even) for such a wonderful celebratory holiday.

    Most of us need socialization and connection which is often diminished during unemployment. The ideas mentioned here in the article and replies that suggest ways to enable them to get out of the house and their own head space are excellent! Outside of the framework of the holiday, meet them for lunch or happy hour, invite them over for dinner or make time to go out for a cup of coffee (it’s a very meaningful and supportive way to show you care and that they are worth someone’s time and interest).

    Having basic needs met are important and a great relief but keep in mind that you like to be shown you are thought of in a special way, and supported so give them a break from the stress; we all like being spoiled in our own way. Why not give them something that reinforces the good things you see and appreciate about them? The gift card for a new suit, salon/spa or career coach is taking care of one of their basic needs, recognizes their efforts and supports your belief in their capabilities.

  12. The best gift for a jobseeker is money ya jackwagon or a job. WWhats all that other crapgonna help. I massage so the therapist can hold there hand out for a tip ya right. resume writing is free and ayone without a job should already have clothes for an interview. Personally I am unemployed nd if anyone went out and bought me a 3 piece suit i believe i would bring it baCK AND GET THE MONEY

  13. I have been looking for a job for a long time. A friend of mine has given me the gift of time. She has helped me tweak my resume, tweak my LinkedIn profile, driven me to door knock for jobs at local establishments, and given me hope. As a long time job-hunter, you get stuck in ruts and sometimes the ruts aren’t productive. My friend has helped push me out of the stuck ruts (Sometimes out of my comfort zone) and kept me going.

    I agree the book would be useful but could be taken the wrong way. I get really depressed when friends tell me to get a job. Don’t they realize that I would be much happier if I had a job and that I’ve been trying to find one?

    I’m not unemployed by choice…

    P.S. I’ll second the value of the gym membership; It really does improve attitude and promotes a feeling of well being. I know it sounds silly to have a gym membership when you are unemployed but it is money well spent if you consider the alternatives like therapy. (one session of therapy costs more than a couple of months of a basic gym membership)

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  15. Times are really tough right now for job seekers, many are not even getting an opportunity to interview for positions that are “vacant”. I definitely like the idea of getting a job coach or perhaps an interview coach.

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