While talking to a connection and promoting one of my former staff who was recently laid off, the connection suggested the person A) join the professional organization B) attend an expensive networking event.
I paused and reminded her that this person has no reliable stream of income other than unemployment and spending money for an organization or event is a good long term investment but a short term stressor. I have experienced unemployment and every day can be a struggle, someone suggesting you grab lunch can leave you wondering how you can pay for your portion. Having the gas money or train fare to get to an event can be taking money from your bill payments.
If you are helping someone find a job who is out of work keep in mind the following .
1. If you invite them to coffee or lunch, pick up the tab
2. If you invite them to a networking event and there is a fee, check with the organizer for a "talent in transition" rate. Many groups will offer free attendance to those out of work.
3. Offer to help them if they express any concerns about purchasing interview attire, do you have any female friends that could loan a suit or jacket?
4. If they need a resume reboot, feel free to suggest a fee based program but also have some free options such as a local library group or college alumni office. You can also offer to help review their resume/cv if you feel comfortable.
5. Don't forget about them. Often there is a flury of help when the person first becomes unemployed and as things go on, people forget about them. Check in weekly, let them know about any opportunities you hear of, just give them a 'thinking of you' note over text.