“When Will You Find Me a Job?”

angry woman

You can decide if the image best represents an angry client or frustrated employment professional.

How many times have you heard this question from clients? How can you respond in the moment and better prepare clients to avoid the expectation that a job will be found for them?

Your immediate response to this question should always be, “I am not going to find you a job and give it to you like a present. I will help you find a job now and learn the skills and resources you will need to achieve your own longer term goals.”

Your level of energy and activity on behalf of a client should match – never exceed – their own. Clients must take ownership of their own job search in order to master the skills they need.  Doing too much for them can create a sense of dependency and hurt their ability to adjust, integrate and thrive on their own.  This doesn’t mean that you should not spend time helping them.

Develop practical strategies to engage clients in their job search, help them develop work life skills and quantify and evaluate their level of commitment.

Here are some examples targeting clients with very low English language skills.  They, too, can play an active role in their own job search.

  • Explain help wanted signs and assign them the homework of looking for them in their neighborhoods and on bus rides. If they can bring you enough information, you can help them find out more about what they saw.
  • Help them understand the concept of customer service and why it’s important.  Assign them the homework of observing customer service in the course of their day.  You could suggest the bus driver, clerks at the grocery store or servers at a near-by fast food restaurant.
  • Explain that talking to people you already know is a common way to learn about work and job openings in the US.  Help them identify 3 people who speak their language to ask about their jobs and experience working in the US.  In a follow up meeting, find out how it went and coach them about pursuing those leads.

It would be great to hear strategies that have worked from others in the field.  Tell us yours by commenting on this post in our newly added comment feature.

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  1. Work together with client on generic application that will be used as a tool for any job they go to apply
    Assign homework:
    • 2-3 or more applications from different employers and have them fill out until next meeting
    (be sure to tell them not to ask for help from relatives and friends because they will never learn)
    • Give them a resume template to fill out in their own language (they will understand better what is the job market and what you need to do to get a job)
    • I found that many clients have difficulties describing job duties / have them write in their own language/help them translate
    • Give them simple math test
    • Practice and give them homework about American Measurement System specifically if clients are going towards those positions that will need this

    • Lorel Donaghey says:

      Wow! Thanks Aida. These are excellent ideas with very useful detail. (I’m catching up after an extended medical absence and am just reading all of the excellent reader comments on the blog.) You’ll see some of these in a future post unless you tell me otherwise!

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