Give the job seeker in your life something they will really use.

The festive season is right around the corner, which means that you'd better hurry out and get shopping sharpish. Should you have a job seeker in your life, choosing a gift that will help them land that next big role during the job search is a remarkably thoughtful idea. Here are seven practical gift ideas to give you a little inspiration along the way.  

1. Skill-building courses 

In the current job market, being ahead of the game when it comes to skills and experience is key. Help your loved ones reach their full potential during the holiday season by giving them a course they can undertake at home. There are plenty of sites, such as Udemy, where you can purchase online courses. All you have to do is pick out one that's relevant to the recipient's career or job. Your loved one will have the chance to learn something new and enhance their CV in the process.

You can use these free online resources as a place to learn new skills and gather inspiration.

2. Business cards 

Networking sessions are a prime place to meet professionals in your industry and discover new career prospects. If your loved one is attending these events, they need to ensure that their new connections know how to find them. Gifting some bespoke business cards are the way to go. Many companies, such as Vistaprint, offer package deals when it comes to printing business cards. What's more, you can even design the cards online using their easy tools and templates, allowing you to incorporate your loved one's personal brand while job searching.

3. Career-centric books

Job hunting can be something of a waiting game. While your loved one is holding on to hear back from recruiters, they may have some spare time on their hands. One way to fill these slow periods is with something that will both inspire and educate them, like a career-centric book. Some of the best include Damn Good Advice by George Lois and So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport. Choose a helpful and informative book that's sure to pique their interest. 

4. Interview-worthy clothes

We know that making the right impression during a job interview is essential; research from the Association for Psychological Science suggests that it takes only a tenth of a second to make an impression on someone. Wearing professional attire that fits the bill is one way to ensure that people get this right. Of course, quality interview outfits aren't cheap, and if your loved one is trying to save their pennies, they may not be able to afford a new suit. Giving them the ideal outfit or a gift card to any high street store is a thoughtful idea.

5. Professional bag or briefcase 

Turning up to job interviews in a killer outfit is only one part of the puzzle. If your loved one has a shabby-looking bag or briefcase, their overall look won't scream 'professional' by any stretch of the imagination. Should you want to give them a perfect gift that you're certain they will use time and time again, a high-quality bag or briefcase could be the answer. Knomo, a London-based brand, offers some of the most breathtaking options. Of course, you could also shop around and see what is available online too.

6. Coffee shop gift card

Making professional connections can be a long game. When a job seeker has met a new person at a networking session, it's always a savvy move to follow that up with a phone call or meeting. Organising a quick chat in a coffee shop, in which they can learn more about prospective careers and opportunities, can only strengthen their chances of finding a new role. Gifting your loved one a coffee shop gift certificate or gift card from Starbucks or Costa will help them to subsidise this extra expense. Cheers!

7. Professionally written CV

Recruiters spend between five and seven seconds looking at a CV, according to a report from The Undercover Recruiter. To get a foot in the door, job seekers need to have a CV and cover letter that demands the reader's attention for more than a few fleeting moments. Help your loved one make it past this first crucial stage of the hiring process and land that new job by giving them the professional edge. Gifting them a professionally written CV could be the answer. Check out TopCV's CV-writing services to find the package that's best for the job seeker in your life.

8. Video conferencing tools

It's easy to work remotely in this digital age, and that has translated to hiring practices. It's common for part ‒ if not all ‒ of the interview process to take place via video chat. You can help the job seeker in your life be their best in video interviews by gifting them with the best tools.

8a. External webcam

These days, it's expected that your laptop will come with a webcam. However, built-in webcams have a reputation for being lackluster. Still, in a video job interview, it's important for the interviewer to clearly see things like body language and facial expressions. You can get your loved one an external webcam that will improve the quality of video in their remote interviews, helping them give a more polished impression and land that dream job.

8b. Ring light

In the same vein, lighting can have a significant impact on picture quality during video chats. A job seeker having half of their face overexposed whilst the other half is cloaked in shadow is going to hinder communication with an interviewer. A popular solution to this is a ring light, a circular light that provides brightness without creating shadows. This kind of tool will make any job seeker look their best on camera and is a very thoughtful gift idea.

8c. External microphone

Like webcams, built-in computer microphones often leave a lot to be desired. Whether they pick up too much background noise or are 'fuzzy' with static, low-quality mics prevent people from projecting the clarity and confidence they've practised in their interview preparation. Therefore, a high-quality external microphone is a great gift for any job seeker.

9. Personal website

A personal website is one of the best ways for job hunters to build their online brand. Unfortunately, that doesn't come for free. To help them establish their online presence, you could gift your loved one the fee for maintaining a site on site builders like Squarespace and Wix. Or, if you want to go the extra mile, you can commission a freelance web developer to create the website.

10. LinkedIn Premium subscription

LinkedIn is one of the most popular tools for online networking. Using the site may be free, but the paid LinkedIn Premium option has certain benefits that are advantageous to any job seeker. There are multiple plans to choose from that can give a job seeker the ability to contact recruiters and HR managers directly, see how they compare to other candidates, and receive tailored suggestions for available positions. Gifting a LinkedIn Premium subscription is certain to help any job seeker get ahead.

In the meantime, help their profile be the best it can be. Through TopCV, you can have a professional give their LinkedIn profile a complete makeover.

Wrapping up (with a bow)

Picking out a gift for a job seeker during the holiday season doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. Before you run to the overdone gift basket, candle or scarf, consider how it will benefit them right now. Looking for a new role can be an overwhelming process and costly in various ways, so if you can help to lighten that load, they are certain to be grateful for your gift.

Not all helpful and practical gifts are expensive. TopCV will provide expert career advice and give you a free, objective critique of your CV. Submit for a CV review here!

This article was updated in December 2020 by Lauren Settembrino.

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