Practical Gift Ideas for the Unemployed

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Being unemployed is incredibly difficult. With current unemployment rates, there’s probably someone close to you that’s either looking for a new job or looking for a better one.

Giving them a thoughtful, practical gift could really go a long way. Think about what sort of things they need or that would help them out the most, depending on their situation.

Here are some practical gift ideas for the unemployed person you know get you started:

Gift Ideas To Help Your Job Search

What Color Is Your Parachute?

This is one of the highest recommended books when it comes to job hunting and career advice. Back when my dream job turned into a nightmare, I used an earlier version of this book for advice, encouragement and to help figure out what was next for me, career-wise.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

Another go-to for job hunters, this updated adaptation is full of practical advice for succeeding in your personal and professional life. It’s a great resource to improve your communication, leadership and efficiency skills.

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

There are literally thousands of books that can benefit someone looking for a job, exploring their career options, or upgrading their skills. Rather than picking just one or two that you think would help your loved one, why not give them access to them all? Enjoy 6 months of Kindle Unlimited for FREE with your purchase (terms and conditions apply, of course), get FREE access with an Amazon Prime membership or through your library, or browse through those thousand titles that cost only a few dollars each.

Portfolio Binder

This zippered portfolio binder is the perfect companion to any interview. Keep your documents in order, your resume looking pristine, and business cards handy – with a notepad to write down anything important.

Leather Briefcase/Laptop Bag

Keep your portfolio, laptop and all your other job search related items together and ready to go with a professional, high-quality (but not bulky) briefcase.

5-Piece Desk Accessories Set

Staying organized while job searching is crucial, but can be tough. A good accessory set can help keep your desk and all your important paperwork in order, so nothing gets misplaced.

Office Supply Bundle Pack

Keep all your office supplies handy with this box set. Including an at-a-glance calendar, colorful sticky notes, note paper, paperclips, a mini stapler, highlighter, pen, pencil sharpener and eraser.

Assorted Clips and Rubber Bands

Job hunting can require a lot of paperwork, especially if you’re applying in multiple fields or to multiple locations. Step up your organization game even more with assorted elastics, paperclips and binder clips.

Classic Black Blazer

It’s important to look professional when dropping off resumes, attending networking events, and for interviews. A classic blazer is a quick, easy and affordable way to take your current wardrobe pieces up a notch. Check out a similar look for men.

Wool Pea Coat

For the days that a blazer won’t cut it, a quality pea coat is the perfect way to stay warm and looking professional at the same time.

Mini Sewing Kit

Help avoid any interview wardrobe malfunctions with a 52 piece travel-sized sewing kit. Mend a fallen hem, pin shut a loose button, or quickly address any other potential issue.

A Good Umbrella

Having a good umbrella on hand will help keep you dry, clean and professional looking on those dreary days. With a lifetime guarantee and a vented double canopy, this umbrella won’t flip or break, and is small enough to fit into your bag or leave in your car.

Thank You Cards

Another important part of job hunting is sending a nice thank you card after an interview or other important networking event. Sure you could simply send an email, but why not stand out instead?

Business Card Holder Case

Speaking of networking events, having a place to store business cards might come in handy. Yes, they still matter, even in this digital age. The holder can also be used to store your loyalty and points cards.

A Day Planner

Keep all those application deadlines, interviews, and other priorities in one place. With this planner, you can also record your goals and things you’re grateful for, too. Doing so has been said to help improve your well-being and self esteem, and reduce stress.

Printer Ink

Actively looking for jobs requires a lot of printing between your resumes, cover letters, and applications. Even though many companies have moved the application process online, bringing a printed copy of your resume to your interview is highly recommended. Having printer ink at home is so much easier than having to go to the library or print shops all the time. Just be sure you get the right brand and cartridge type for the printer they have.

Grammarly Premium

Improve your prospects by making sure your resume, cover letter, and email correspondence are all error free. The premium version of Grammarly offers the same features of the free version, but takes it further. It’s more advanced features include plagiarism checking, genre-specific styles, and vocabulary enhancement suggestions.

A Portfolio Website

Web Hosting

A professional portfolio website is a great way to impress potential new employers and share all of your accomplishments beyond what can fit on a resume. With affordable monthly hosting and a domain name registration, there are many free and paid resources available to spruce up the design or enhance your content to really stand out of the crowd.

Gift Ideas To Help You Take Care of Yourself

Journal or Notebook

Being between jobs can be a very stressful time. You need a healthy outlet to express your emotions. Journaling for even as little as 5 minutes a day can clear your mind, improve your memory, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Aromatherapy Spa Gift Basket

This gift set includes everything you need to relax with a little spa treatment at home. This kit contains 20 different items including bubble bath, body butter, an aromatherapy candle, a bath pillow and essential oils. Perfect to help you unwind after a long day of pounding the pavement, or to stay calm the night before an important interview.

Deep Kneading Massager

Going to a massage therapist can get expensive, quick. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. This heated massager has an ergonomic design and flexible strap to reach your shoulders, neck, back, legs and feet.

Blackout Curtains

These are the exact curtains we recently got for our living room (this color, too). They really do blackout the light, and also help reduce noise and insulate around the window. Hang them in your bedroom to help improve your sleep.

White Noise Sound Machine

Another way to get a better nights sleep is to drown out those nagging thoughts with a white noise sound machine. This one has numerous sounds to choose from, and lets you control the volume level, too.

Sunrise Alarm Clock

On the flip side, you don’t want to end up sleeping through important events. Rather than checking your phone all night to make sure your alarm is set, only to be to woken up by a buzzer or ringtone, why not wake up in a more natural way?

Casual Pants

As tempting as it can be to stay in your pyjamas all day, the simple act of getting dressed can do wonders for your productivity. But at the same time, putting on a full suit or a nice dress just to wear around the house is a bit much. Comfortable, casual clothes are the perfect in-between.

Loose Pullover Casual Top

On that same note, a nice pull-over top paired with yoga pants or leggings and a tank-top can make you feel more put-together, but still comfortable.

Check out my Self Care Gift Guide for even more self care gift ideas and suggestions. Including gift ideas to help you sleep better, relax, improve your health and well-being, spruce up your workspace and more.

There are over 50 ideas all for under $50 each!

50 Self Care Gift Ideas For Under $50 - My Life, I Guess

Gift Ideas to Help You Learn and Grow

Taking courses while between jobs is a great way to spruce up any resume, brush up your skill set, or learn something new!

Some you can do from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule, while others will get you out of the house and interacting with other people.

Annual memberships make great gifts, or sign-up for a class together!

Find local events and classes, both free and paid, to increase your knowledge, network, or enjoy a night out without spending too much.

Lynda or LinkedIn Learning

Offering a free month trial and free access with many library cards, earn certificates from over 6,000 courses.


Get a free month trial, followed by unlimited access for less than $12 a month to all of their 24,000+ courses.


With courses starting at $12.99 each, you can get lifetime access to any of their over 80,000 courses.

Your Community Resources

Between your local library, community centers, employment centers, arts and non-profit organizations, health units, counselling centers, credit and debt counsellors, schools and upgrading programs, there are numerous courses and supports available to you. Many for free or at affordable rates.

Gift Ideas To Help Your Household

Mindful Budgeting Planner

If you’re between jobs, you need to keep your finances on track. Creating – and sticking to – a budget is one of the best ways to do so. Cait Flanders makes one of the best financial tools out there with this budget, planner and spending tracker in one.

Budgeting Software and Apps

If you’re anything like me, you’re super picky about what you need from your budgeting software or apps. Since there’s not a specific one I have in mind to recommend, here’s a bunch of options – many of which are FREE – to try out until you find one that works for you.

Cash Budgeting Envelopes

One of the easiest ways to stay on budget is to ditch those debit and credit cards and use cash instead. A set of 5 different colored magnetic reusable cash envelopes fits perfectly inside most wallets. It’ll keep your cash safe and your spending in check.

Portable Charger

Never miss an important phone call or email due to a dead battery again. With a portable charger, you can charge your phone, tablet, E-Reader or laptop while on the go.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is a good way to keep your bills low and stay on budget. The Nest Thermostat learns your habits and automatically adjusts the temperature, saving you money.

Garment Fabric Steamer

Keep your interview and business attire looking crisp and wrinkle-free without relying on the dry cleaners with a good fabric steamer.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

There’s a lot you can do with an Echo and Alexa to help keep your life in order. Set alarms, listen to music or audiobooks, make hand-free calls or send messages, or check the weather, traffic, your calendar and more.

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

Don’t let car troubles be the reason you miss out on a job interview. Packed with over 40 items, including a first-aid kit, be prepared for all sorts of emergencies.

Desk with File Drawer

If there isn’t a designated office or workspace at home, making one can be as simple as getting a nice desk. This is the desk that I have and love! It’s small and compact enough to fit just about anywhere, but has a large tabletop to spread your work out, and 3 drawers to keep yourself and your paperwork in order – and off the kitchen table.

Gift Card Ideas

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a gift card. It’s probably one of the best gifts you can give to someone that’s unemployed so that they can decide what they need most.

Gift Cards for Pretty Much Anything:

Gift Cards for Clothes and Personal Care:

Gift Cards for Entertainment:

Gift Cards for the Household:

  • AAA or CAA Roadside Assistance
  • Bus or Transit Passes
  • Gas Station
  • Grocery Store
  • Pet Store (if they have pets)
  • Pharmacy
  • Safeway
  • Subway (my favourite!)
  • Whole Foods

Gift Ideas to Help That Don’t Cost A Thing

The best gift you can give to someone that’s unemployed would be to get them a good job. If only it were that easy, right?

But there is a lot you can do or give that isn’t a physical gift at all. Just be sure to always respect their boundaries. You want to support them, not add to their stress.

The Gift of Your Knowledge

Share any job leads that would be suitable for them. Especially if you have a personal connection and you can put in a good word for them with the employer.

Introduce them to anyone that can enhance their professional network or that could make a great mentor.

If you’re tech savvy and they aren’t, offer to spruce up their resume with a template, help them develop a personal portfolio website, or create an easy-to-fill-out job searching spreadsheet for them to use.

Attend classes, courses or events in your area together. It’s so much easier to attend these sorts of things with a friendly face by your side.

Let them know about any programs or community supports that are available to them.

The Gift of Your Time

Spend quality time with them.

Get them out of the house. Attend a class or networking event together.

Babysit. Drive them somewhere. Invite them over for dinner.

Review and edit their resume and cover letter. Practice interview questions with them.

Give them the pep-talk they need. Remind them of all the talents, skills and abilities they have.

Listen to their frustrations and struggles. Check in with them regularly.

Just be there for them.

Knowing that they have you’re support can mean more than anything else.

YOUR TURN: What would you add to the list of practical gift ideas for job seekers? 

Photo by from Pexels

Gift Ideas for Job Seekers - My Life, I Guess

Do you have a loved one on your gift giving list that\'s currently unemployed or out of work? Here are many thoughtful, yet Practical Gift Ideas for the Unemployed - My Life, I Guess #giftguide #giftideas #unemployed #laidoff #jobseeker #jobhunt

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More about Amanda

Amanda is the owner and creator of My Life, I Guess... a personal finance and lifestyle blog that started back in 2013. She strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes and making the most of it.

One thought on “Practical Gift Ideas for the Unemployed

  1. Avatar
    Zar Santos

    My bestfriend is currently unemployed right now and I’m thinking of giving her a shirt, but all these items are so interesting! I think it would also be great to give her desk accessories, or maybe organizers? Ugh, it’s so hard to choose.


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