Most of us think of job hunting as a very personal activity. But do you really mean we have to go it alone?
Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?, gave this great advice for job seekers during a discussion with Tim Brown, CEO of design firm IDEO: do your job hunting in groups.
I was talking to someone looking for a job and asked, ‘WHY are you doing your job hunt alone?’ I never understand why people don’t work together and help each other….
Bolles was talking about first-time job seekers, but it is good advice for those of all ages. Sure, you can’t bring a group of supporters on an interview to cheer you on or feed you answers to tough questions. But as most job searches take months, and have plenty of ups and downs along the way, having a group of like-minded and supportive people to share your experience can be a great help.
Getting together once a week in a local coffee shop, library, networking space, or restaurant might be a fun and easy way to boost your search. Entrepreneurs do this all the time. They form mastermind groups or meet regularly with their peers over breakfast or coffee.
Participating in a group does take time. But it may be worth investing an hour or so a week for a few months to help you stay focused on your goals and keep moving toward them.
You might find an existing group in your area on Meetup or through a school, library or business networking group. Or start your own. If you are currently working, you likely won’t want to let people know you are looking for a new position, but tell your extended family, friends and neighbors and ask them to spread the word. Be open to people in all stages of the process as well. Here are some benefits:
5 Benefits of Starting a Job Search Group
- You’ll get support. A group that meets regularly can keep you on track. If you are currently employed and just looking for a new and better job, you can easily get sidetracked by your daily tasks and lose momentum. You’ll also appreciate the support when you feel frustrated or disappointed during your search. In a group, you can vent your feelings to people in similar situations.
- You’ll get feedback. Want to practice your elevator pitch or your answers to some of the common interview questions? While a career coach is always a good idea, your group can also act as a sounding board. And the more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will be during the interview process.
- You’ll get ideas. Job seekers often suffer from a sort of tunnel vision. It is easy to get so focused on one type of job, company or even location that you may miss opportunities that are just as good–or better. Your group can alert you to types of jobs you may not have thought were a match to your skills, strengths you might not have noticed in yourself, or companies you may not have heard about, such as start-ups.
- You’ll get a larger network. Everyone in the group has former colleagues, friends, neighbors and social networks, which will multiply your network–and your potential to get a referral that will lead to your next job.
- You’ll get a confidence boost. A job search can get lonely, and can also make even talented executives feel a little off their game. Joining a group with the intent to help others in their quests, not just get help for yourself, can help you stay feeling good about yourself. First, you’ll be reminded of the skills, energy and experience that make you valuable to employers by being of value to others. And plenty of research shows that giving to others makes people happier.