If you know someone who was recently laid off, it's one thing to feel bad for them. Its another to offer to help.
Not only can you offer to put them in touch with your network, or someone you know is hiring - but if you worked closely with the person, one way you can really help them is to write a LinkedIn recommendation highlighting their strengths to help them get their next role.
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen - especially if you aren't a writer to begin with - this can be intimidating. Here are the steps that I follow, and it does take a little bit of time - but it's worth it. So I'll walk you through it:
1 - Set the stage: how did you work together?
This just provides a bit of context on how you know this person and how you worked together: think of it as an introduction before you dive right into how awesome they are. Did they report to you? How did you work together? Did you collaborate on a specific project? How long did you know them or work together for?
2 - Ask them what you would like them to highlight
It's perfectly valid to ask the person what specifically they'd like you to highlight. If they asked you to write the recommendation, see what they'd like you to focus on...for example, if they had a sales role but want to transition to more of a customer service position, stress their skill in dealing with clients using examples. As part of this, ask if there are 3-5 bullets they'd like you to focus on as something you can reference while writing your recommendation. That way, you have some guidance on what to write, and you know you are writing something that will be helpful to them. Everyone wins :)
3 - Add a personal touch
I like to end each recommendation with a personal note: sometimes it is an opportunity to show potential employers their personality a bit, which is always difficult to understand especially when determining a cultural fit. Something like, "on a personal note, Sam has a great sense of humor and I have really enjoyed working with him every day. He would make a great asset to any organization" This gives them a feel-good compliment while adding a more human layer to their qualifications.
The Bottom Line
It's important to keep your LinkedIn profile updated, and the best thing you can do for a coworker who has lost their job is to offer to write a recommendation for them. It doesn't have to be a book, but should be a thoughtful few sentences to help position them favorably for their next position.
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