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The New Job Search Accountability Group Rules!

After working in and watching Job Search Accountability Groups form and fold through the years, I have a theory about what makes and sustains an effective Accountability Group. I have created a set of rules that may help those of you who are in groups already and want to create some structure to the group’s interaction or for those of you who are considering forming a new Accountability Group.

Here they are:

Rule #1:  Qualify your members for their social savviness, reputation, attitude and generosity. I understand that you barely know some of these folks in the beginning, but be sensitive to these traits. You want people who “get it”, who are respected in their field of work *, who remain positive, and who will be generous with their ideas and connections.

*  Why is reputation important?  Because they may make an introduction for you and if they are not reputable, the intro may hinder you rather than help you. It happens, so be careful!

Rule #2: Limit the time of commiserating and complaining about the job market and the job search process to 5 minutes a person. Everyone is entitled to do a little bit of complaining, because we all know how hard, frustrating and disappointing this process is, but 5 minutes is the maximum. Period.

Rule #3: Use the time with the group to explore connections, discuss your target list and brain storm creative ways to present yourself to hiring managers and to the companies where you desire to work – even if they are not hiring. Every day, we read a story about a creative, innovative effort of someone who recognized a challenge and did a unique work around to get something done. That person can be you! Your team can help you formulate new ideas.

Rule #4: Don’t join a ton Accountability Groups. Yes, you read this right. During this time, in particular, it is important to be connecting and talking to others, but there is a point of no return on the investment of your time. Recognize when you are spending more time being “accountable” than actually executing on strategy. It is easy to spend an abundance of time in meetings (virtual or otherwise) with others in transition. Executing on job search strategy is tough work, but the payoff is worth it!

Rule #5: This is the golden rule: Once you land, continue the relationships that you formed while out of work. You have formed special bonds and made new friends. Keep them. They can enrich your life as you move forward in your professional pursuits and they can be invaluable to you if you find yourself in job transition again.

Rule #6: Remember, members of your group are not actually Career Transition Experts. What works for one person may not be in alignment with your brand, your appropriate messaging, and actually, their approach may be all wrong – not just for you, but for anyone. Seek professional assistance. Give me a call 949-387-5808.

Susan Howington is CEO of Power Connections Career Services, Inc. an outplacement, executive coaching and HR Consulting firm. When it comes to job search, there isn’t much that Susan has not observed or heard. She and her team take a very thoughtful and strategic approach to each client’s search for new opportunities, while using business networks and connections to help launch their clients into their next job. Susan can be reached at 949-285-9541 or Susan@PowerConnectionsInc.com