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The Best Gifts for Someone Changing Careers

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S. Davies is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky-clean and drama-free.

Looking sharp while job hunting is a must.

Looking sharp while job hunting is a must.

Switching careers can be an exciting adventure. It can also be incredibly scary to suddenly switch gears and change careers. That's why the best thing to give someone who has decided to quit their job and start over are things that say 'I believe in you!'

Wardrobe Consultation

If your friend or loved one has been doing the same thing for years and years, he or she may be wondering what's appropriate to wear for a job interview. Sometimes a fresh perspective from a wardrobe consultant or hairstylist is all someone needs to update their look so that they are ready to face new employment challenges.

Motivational Books

Books that inspire your friend or loved one to keep on working towards their dreams can help job-seekers and budding entrepreneurs cope with rejection letters. Even a book of simple quotes such as the one featured below can give the job-seeker a motivational boost when they are feeling stressed and uncertain about the future.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

— Calvin Coolidge

Professional Headshots

A good looking profile photo on a networking site, personal business homepage, or job board can create a positive first impression. But getting professional photographs taken can be costly. If you have the means, you could offer to pay for a session with a professional photographer.

Professional head shots are great for LinkedIn profiles, resumes, websites and other materials that a job-seeker needs to promote themselves.

Professional head shots are great for LinkedIn profiles, resumes, websites and other materials that a job-seeker needs to promote themselves.

Gift Certificate for Car Washes and Auto-Detailing Packages

As mentioned earlier, maintaining a professional, polished image at all times is essential to finding a new job or starting a new career. A clean, well-maintained car will not only make a good impression on potential clients, it will help the job-seeker feel calmer and a little less stressed. Driving around in a fresh-smelling, sparkling car is much more fun that driving around in a rust-bucket full of old take-out containers!

Tickets to See an Inspiring Speaker

No matter where someone is on their career path, almost everyone likes to listen to a stirring speech or moving presentation. Getting out of the house for a fun night out is also a great mood booster, especially if the job-seeker has had a recent run of rejection letters. What I really like about this gift idea is that if you take your friend to the show, you’ll get to enjoy the motivational speech too. You might want to extend the invitation to your friend first, decide on a night you are both free, and then buy the tickets.

Gifts that keep job-seekers and people who are changing careers inspired and motivated are the best presents to give!

Gifts that keep job-seekers and people who are changing careers inspired and motivated are the best presents to give!

Coaching Services

These days, even people who are not looking for a new job are hiring life coaches to help them make important changes in their lives. You could offer to pay for a few coaching sessions to help your friend make some important decisions about what they want from the next phase of their career.

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Free Gifts for Job Seekers

As promised at the beginning of this article, here are several ideas that are absolutely free. And guess what? Some of them are priceless, too!

A Letter of Recommendation or Testimonial

If you know the person who is changing careers on a professional level, giving a sincere letter of recommendation is ideal for someone who is looking for a new job. You don’t even have to know the person through work to put in a good word for them. For example, you can still write a character reference for the individual that highlights the individual's strengths, acknowledges community contributions or vouches for the individual’s honesty, integrity, and upstanding values.

If your friend’s career change involves starting a new business, you could offer to write a testimonial that can be included on a website or in promotional materials. Your testimonial doesn’t need to include your full name when it is promoted. For example, your quote could end with just your first name and your home city or job title (i.e., “Chris from Chicago, Illinois” or “Jane, Project Manager”). But just make sure that whatever you do write in your testimonial is honest and sincere.

Introductions to Your Peer Network

Think back to the last time you were looking for a job or were considering a career change. Did you have any help getting to where you are today? Did someone introduce you to someone who was able to boost your career or offer hot job prospects? If so, then you know how valuable peer networks can be to someone who is on the hunt for a new job.


One of the ways that you can offer support to someone who is starting out on a new career path or pounding the pavement looking for a new job is to offer to watch his or her kids for a few hours. Whether your friend has job interviews to go to, night classes to attend or just needs quiet time to make important networking phone calls from home, free babysitting services will always be appreciated.

Coffee Breaks

The final gift on this list of presents for someone changing careers is to invite them out for coffee every so often and let your friend share his or her job search fears and frustrations. Listening openly and offering support and encouragement while someone takes a giant leap into the unknown is a priceless gift!

© 2016 S Davies


Abby Slutsky from America on August 26, 2020:

This is a good list. You did a great job coming up with useful and supportive ideas.

Jasmeet Kaur from India on January 14, 2016:

great ideas..

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