Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Accountability Can Help Your Job Search

Job searching is a solitary pursuit. Most job hunters sit at a computer, hammer out a resume, and then apply for openings. After a while, when you don’t hear back from employers, you may slow your search, apply for fewer jobs, and go through the motions. After all, who really knows what you are doing?
Being accountable to someone can help your job search [Career Action Blog]
Being accountable to someone
can help your job search.
If you are receiving unemployment insurance, you most likely need to report your job-search activities. But no one is checking up on you for the most part. Job searching can become so passive that you almost forget its urgency.

You may get sympathy, encouragement, and expressions of concern during your employment search. People may be willing to listen to your job-search saga and nod understandingly. Such support is important and can help you feel less alone. This is especially true because you are a shy or introverted job seeker.

But if you are having difficulty maintaining a strong level of enthusiasm and activity in your job hunt, you may need to become accountable to someone. Accountability works in other situations. For example, people lose weight in programs like Weight Watchers. Being accountable to a boss keeps many workers performing at a high level. So accountability can help you become a better job seeker.

Here’s how it works: You find someone to talk with regularly to review your job-search activities and progress. Ideally this person listens and gives support but also offers feedback and questions such as these: Did you follow up with Employer X? How many hours did you put into your job search this week? Did you make a networking contact for Employer Y? Did you apply for a job with the new company in town? Did you call the company that interests you? Knowing you need to report your progress to someone puts the onus for action on you; your accountability partner may not need to ask you many questions in the end.

So how do you find a person to be accountable to in your job hunt? Think about someone who knows you fairly well and who is not afraid to speak the truth. Perhaps this is a friend, a relative, or a past co-worker or boss. Ask this person if he or she could help you in your job search by regularly listening to your job-search updates and offering you feedback. Make it clear that you want to be challenged to do your best in your job hunt. You do not want the other person simply to agree with your difficulties. You want him or her to keep you on your toes about your job-search progress.

Offer to buy this person coffee once a week for a month as you kick your job search into high gear. To respect the time of a busy person, make it clear you need just 15 or 20 minutes and could do the update by phone if needed. Also give the accountability relationship a time limit of one month to make it easier for the other person to agree. If things go well, you will get hired within those 30 days. Offer to help the person in some way in the future.

By being accountable to someone in your employment search, you are more likely to be proactive and make progress. Let me know how it goes.

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