What Should You Give Your Laid Off Loved One or Friend?

December 14, 2022 | By | Reply More

Laid off friend loved one

When gifting a person who has been laid off, put yourself in their shoes when considering a gift they’d most appreciate.


When it comes to gift giving this year, indulgences are out, as many job seekers ask for sustainable and useful presents.


This has been one of the toughest years businesses have faced in recent times. Those hit the hardest are the employees who received calls or messages with the news that their companies laid them off.

It has been impossible to visit LinkedIn or any social platform over the past few months and not see messages like these:


Person on LinkedIn announcing he has been laid off

Getting laid off rarely happens when you expect it. (Source: LinkedIn)


Person on LinkedIn announcing they have been laid off

When laid off, career resources, such as resume help, are in high demand. (Source: LinkedIn)


Making matters worse, many laid off professionals are discovering that after years of success in their fields, and despite sending off dozens (or even hundreds!) of resumes, no one is calling them for interviews. It’s demoralizing, and panic sets in as the holidays draw near and the bills keep rolling in.


Person looking for a job.

The right resources, such as a professional resume, can help you find a job faster. (Source: LinkedIn)


Why are laid off professionals having such a difficult time?

From entry level techies to top level executives, the number one culprit behind the inability to land interviews is ineffective resumes. Few people realize until they’re unemployed just how important a good resume is. A resume is the most important document in a person’s career.


Person laid off and needing resume help

Getting professional resume help is key to getting a resume past a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS). (Source: LinkedIn)


As the friend or loved one of that person, it might tempt you to offer help with their resume. But, writes Mita Mallick in Fast Company, that’s not always best; especially if you’re not a trained resume writer. Mallick recalls a time when she was laid off:


“‘Send me your resume, I’ll take a look at it,’ or ‘I can help you with your LinkedIn profile,’ were offers I received from a few friends…These friends also never followed up on their LinkedIn offer, because, frankly, none of them really had the expertise to upskill me (or even themselves) on LinkedIn.”


This leaves many well intentioned people struggling to find the best way to help a laid off friend or loved one. With the holidays once again approaching, the frustration intensifies with not knowing the most appropriate way to help someone who was laid off. What can you do? What should you do?


New trend in gifting giving

One thing is certain: high end fragrances, theater tickets, fuzzy sweaters, or jewelry are gifts that won’t offer much comfort and joy to people whose thoughts are zoned in on finding jobs to pay their mortgages and feed their families.


That’s why many gift givers are turning to more practical items, such as short term relief items like gas and grocery store gift cards, to help loved ones offset the soaring costs of gas and food; or to give more long-term benefit they are giving them resources in the form of crucial career services such as: LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Resume Reviews or Rewrites, Interview practice, and more.


“Given rising food costs, 43% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 said they would prefer to receive a gift card for necessities, such as groceries and gas, rather than an indulgence,“ says Heather Lalley in Winsight Grocery Business.



Gifts that sustain and help carry someone through this time are going to be the most valued—and appreciated—gifts this year. But surprisingly, cash gifts will not always be welcomed. Receiving money from a family member, friend, or colleague can feel like a loan or a handout, instead of a gift. Money gifts also feel similar to financial bandages—barely enough to cover the wound.


“Since you don’t know the laid-off employee’s financial condition or whether she received a severance package, refrain from giving her cash as a gift, as it may seem like a severance bandaid. If she didn’t receive a severance package, chances are the amount of money you can spare won’t be enough to replace lost income,” writes Ruth Mayhew, for the Houston Chronicle.


“Besides,” Mayhew continues, “giving her a cash gift could seem too much like a loan, money that she might feel she must repay. A cash gift can be insulting and patronizing. Also, don’t take up a collection for the laid-off [colleague] because that can make her feel like a charity case.”


The Nest writer Lisa Finn agrees. “This is not the time to take up a collection from the office or solicit money from anyone. Doing so may actually seem condescending to the laid-off employee. Make the gift certificate personal — something either pertaining to her impending job search… Other options include credit at a resume-writing service, a subscription to an industry-specific newsletter or magazine.”


Top gift ideas for someone who is laid off

This holiday, if you want to help, as well as delight your loved one or friend, consider gifts that ensure they will have an edge in their job search. Gift them with tools that will help get them back on their feet quickly, such as certificates to online classes, resume help, or career coaching.  Studies have shown that those most in need of these services are least likely to buy for themselves because they’re focused on immediate needs, like food and bills.


Below are ideal gifts to give someone whose biggest wish is to get back to work. No matter how far away the recipient is, you can send these through email, or print them and include with a card. But if you’re someone who loves having something to wrap, we’ve included some suggestions for gift pairing, too.




Staying up to date on skills and technology is a concern for everyone, but especially to those who are now unemployed. It’s also a big factor in an employer’s hiring decision. Providing subscriptions to online learning platforms where they can select the skills they need to update is a terrific gift choice.


How to wrap it:

Back to school means new school supplies! Consider gifting the learner with a leather-bound notepad, nice ear buds for video classes, a fancy pen, or a couple of frames to display certificates they’ll earn from their online courses.


Career Coaching

Career coaches can be helpful in several ways. While they are not medical professionals, they can assist a laid off person to come to terms with their job loss, and the impact it had on their self-confidence. Gifting a loved one or friend a few sessions also might help if they need to pivot their career in a new direction.


How to wrap it:

Tuck a coaching coupon inside a leather-bound journal, or a book about careers or inspirational career quotes.


LinkedIn Premium

There are benefits to having a LinkedIn premium subscription. Professionals can network in groups that are not available to regular LinkedIn members. It also gives them access to unlimited online learning videos from the LinkedIn library, which may also cover some of the upskilling needs of the person. And, a premium subscription grants them inside information on job postings as well as the recruiters who are hiring. (LinkedIn is also a great way to locate career coaches and other career-related services.)


How to wrap it:

LinkedIn premium will keep someone busy. With all that computer time, include their premium subscription with a wrist guard, or an ergonomic mouse. A nice notebook will help them keep track of job posts and recruiters’ contact information.


Professional Resume

A professionally written resume is a must have for success in anyone’s job pursuits. Upskilling, coaching, and premium memberships cannot make a friend’s or loved one’s resume sell them to a recruiter. Only a resume meeting the right criteria, properly tailored, and meeting the right objectives can do that.


Professional resume writing is a bit of a science: dissecting a person’s entire career, extracting bits of history that are irrelevant, and using formulas to develop the proper strength and mixture of words. Then, tailoring the job seeker’s background to match the needs of the job they are targeting.


How to wrap it:

The right resume lands interviews. Give a resume voucher in an envelope, and include it with a new planner, a new attaché, or book on interviewing.


Wrapping it all together

Still can’t decide? Perhaps one of the best ways to determine what gift your friend or loved one would most appreciate is to put yourself in their shoes. If you were laid off, what gift would provide you the most impactful, sustainable benefit? One that would help you and your family regain security and stability?



“Consider what you know about your former co-worker’s personal life or career goals when you choose a gift,” advises Mayhew. “A useful gift could be a certificate for career counseling or resume-writing service. That’s a modest token that conveys the message that you care about his well-being and prosperity.”


As David Lewis, president and CEO of Operations Inc, told FOX news: “Helping someone focus on their talents and abilities after losing a job is worth more than anything else you can offer.”



Your turn: Are you, or someone you care about, affected by layoffs? In the comments below, tell us what gift will help you or someone get back on their feed sooner?


Want to offer your loved one or friend the gift of getting back on their feet?

Gift them one of our resume packages!


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Category: Holidays, Job Search, LinkedIn, Resumes, Unemployment

About the Author ()

Pamela La Gioia is a resume writer and LinkedIn profile expert. She is also a pioneer in remote work, and has been researching and writing about remote work since the early 1990's. You can follow her on LinkedIn, for resume tips, LinkedIn insight, and general career help.

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