I enjoy giving, especially at this time of year. What follows are my gift recommendations for all of the job seekers on your list. There are lots of items that will come in handy during the job search and some will even assist the recipient in promoting his or her personal brand. So, if you have a friend or family member looking for a job, check out these gifts- they will surely brighten any job seeker’s day.
For the Trendy Young Woman
Compact sophistication: A business card case is a great gift for a graduating senior in the midst of her first job search. It’s nice to have a professional holder for collecting business cards at networking events. I like the very reasonably priced Baekgaard leather mini card case, available in fourteen colors. They are priced at $10.50 each online, but I found one at T.J. Maxx for $3.99! A higher end find, the floral patent leather Fiore card case by Lodis, sells for $35.
For the Easy-Going Guy
Not your father’s necktie: My husband’s favorite neckties are by Tommy Bahama. The palm tree patterns on his light blue silk Smudder Tie remind him of our island getaways. An interviewer could be subliminally influenced by the breezy pastels and island patterns, especially at this time of year. Get him a tie case by Baekgaard.
For the Organizer
Cool office supplies: I love Post-it notes, and they make for a great stocking stuffer. They come in all sorts of colors and sizes, and post-it flags make it fun to point out reminders in your daily planner. You can find a coupon for $1 off post-it flag products on the 3M site right now. Never underestimate the happiness provided by a new stack of post-it notes!
For the helper type
Stationery with a message: Stationery may seem a bit foreign to Gen Yers, who rely heavily on email. Promote your brand after an interview with a nice, hand-written thank you note. If your personal brand is service-oriented, UNICEF, Save the Children and Girls, Inc. make great note cards. Giving thank you notes is a small gesture or gift of thanks that goes a long way!
For the Environmental Brand
Promote a sustainable brand: The VY and ELLE Padfolio Notepad Holder is made from recycled billboards and is a great alternative to the black leather portfolio. A graduate student introduced me to this great product. According to BareGreen.com, ”These recycled billboard products represent the blending of urban hip with a strong social awareness of the environment. By refashioning giant images produced by a disposable culture into smaller individual works of art, these products make a strong personal statement of style for their owners, and a stronger voice about sustainability.”
For the Conscientious Brand
Shoes are a big part of the first impression: A shoe polish set may seem a bit archaic, but scuffed up footwear says something about your attention to detail and the importance- or lack thereof- that you place on presentation and style. My dad always kept a shoe polish kit in a green tupperware container under the kitchen sink. Try the Woodlore Traditional Shoe Care Kit at Zappos.com.
For the Bookworm
Motivation and encouragement: When it comes to books, my favorites are always biographies and memoirs- and they often provide a great career story. One of my all time favorite job search stories is The Cliff Walk: A Memoir of a Job Lost and a Life Found by Don J. Snyder. I recommend this book for anyone who has been laid off and out of work for a while. Although this biography doesn’t seem ideal for new graduates, it definitely provides perspective for young people early on in their careers. I also loved Tough Decisions: A Memoir by former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, which provides an interesting perspective on women and leadership in business.
So, there it is- my gift suggestions for all of the job seekers on your list. Happy Holidays!
Nicole Anderson is an Assistant Director/Career Counselor for Tufts University Career Services. With fourteen years of experience in college career services, Nicole’s expertise includes career counseling undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni from liberal arts, science, engineering, business, and education.