The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

May 17, 2013

Career Coach: Put Together a Team for Your Job Search

— Although much of your job search is done alone, evidence suggests that the chore can be easier when you do it as part of a team. As in sports, surrounding yourself with great people can enhance your ability to win. Likewise, in sales, a lot of people say the best hunting is done in packs.

In fact, professional outplacement and search firms such as Lee Hecht Harrison advocate building "job search work teams." According to job-hunting expert, author and former Lee Hecht Harrison director Orville Pierson, such teams are not therapy or support groups. Rather, they represent a group of people committed to helping each other. This includes keeping members focused on key tasks, such as brainstorming, information sharing, networking, discussing common challenges and developing action items. In addition to helping job seekers strategize, teams also ensure that members stay focused and hold each other accountable for their job search goals.

At the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, we have helped students form job search teams and have seen them celebrate each other's successes. We are finding the team approach is leading to more confidence among job seekers, better search strategies, increased networking, more collaboration and a lot more resilience. The team atmosphere is helping students uncover search tactics that they would have never thought of on their own. And the team helps keep everyone motivated, like having "workout buddies" helps with fitness goals.

Here are a few tips for building a winning job search team:

Try to assemble about five to eight people. If your team gets too big, you may find it challenging to keep up with everyone's needs and progress.

Consider having a niche focus on the types of jobs members are seeking. Build your team by desired industry or job role, but be careful not to replicate one another's career goals exactly. Doing so may end up cannibalizing each other's opportunities.

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