Tag Archives: Job Search Circle


What is a job search work team?  Those were my thoughts several months into my job search.  People would talk about them but not really explain why they joined, or why I should too.

Job Search Circle (JSC) had a training session about the time I decided my job search wasn’t working too well and I needed to make changes.  I contacted Shelley Reiger for information on the training session.  I am VERY glad I made that call.

Here is what I learned, and why I decided to join the JSC job search work teams.

Process to the job search.   The job search can be very long and lonely.  There will be hours spent on the computer searching the job boards, finding former co-workers on LinkedIn and just trying to figure out the best place to try to find a job.

But are these the best uses of my time?   That’s what a job search work team helps you figure out.  There is a “process” to the job search that will have you focus on the most productive ways to spend your time…and it may surprise you that the computer may not be your best friend in job search!

I was all about learning how to do the job search more effectively.  That’s the primary reason I joined!

Commitment.  The job search work team will help me stay committed to the search.  There will be anywhere from 5-10 people that “have your back”.  They can be on the lookout for interesting jobs/job boards or help you get contacts within your target companies.

Most groups will ask a few things in return.  Come to the meeting on time, or let them know you will not be there. Most people only cancel for family or job interviews.  Privacy and openness….what you discuss in the group, stays in the group.

The group becomes your support group.  I know my family and friends mean well, but they usually don’t get the new job search methods.   I know that my job search work team gets it and will help me when I need it!

Land a job faster.  It is a proven, well documented fact that people who join a job search work team will land a job faster than those that go it alone.   The group really wants you to succeed.  They work with you to overcome weak areas in your job search.  And, they help you celebrate when land.

 Idea Generator.   A  job search work team calls this the “parking lot”. The parking lot is a list of questions, comments, problems that came up during the week that I need help getting answers to.

Chances are that if I am having a problem with an issue, there are others in the group that struggle with the issue too.  The topics range from easy (“what events are coming up for networking” ),  to hard (“should I go back to school?).

Again, the group decides the topics each week.  Some of them may come up often, others may be once and done.  These discussions are meant to help the members move forward in their job search.   I have found the different perspectives within the group to be very valuable.  The group has helped me with interviewing, the best way to reach an unknown contact and examples of writing a great cover letter.

Re-enforcement.  The job search can be long and lonely.  I know that the group is there to re-enforce the strengths I have already developed and tell me that I am not my job search!   I have a lot to give any organization that hires me.  It’s a question of finding the right opportunity.  It’s just one more place I can go to for support.

While there may be many reasons to join a job search work team, these were my reasons!  Consider joining a JSC job search work team today!  Check out the website for specific days and times, or call Shelley Reiger to find a team near you.


Janet Harlow is an active member of JSC and belongs to the Arlington Heights Friday morning JSWT.   She has been a co-leader for 3 months.

Realizing Your Job Search Potential

By Cynthia Sutherland

You’ve been screened on your job skills and experience prior to an in-person interview. What’s left is to convince the organization you’re the right person, i.e., to realize your job search potential. How do you get the job?

by Hephaestas, GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain

Slinky Toy, by Hephaestas, GFDL, from Wikimedia Commons (in the public domain)

As I was about to write this post, I asked my Job Search Circle human resources group (all experienced HR leaders): “What do you view as the biggest key to a successful job search?” Their advice wasn’t about job search tactics and techniques. They advised candidates to be positive and resilient, because being positive affects every aspect of your life.

The interviewing part of the job search process involves stages of dialogue and relationship-building. The recruiter, often an internal HR person, is your partner. That person’s role is to find and recommend the candidate who “fits” the job profile the best.

What helps this partnership flourish is being a candidate who stands out by projecting a positive outlook during all steps in the process. Why not let that winning candidate be you?

When my HR friends have interviewed people, they can tell how confident, adaptable, purposeful, i.e., how positive you are. What you’re thinking and feeling is as important as what you say. The recruiter picks up on whether someone is lower or higher in positive energy. That’s because your energy level translates into projecting how interested and capable you may be for the job. It’s an instant calibration of your fit in that moment.

My HR friends have some very practical suggestions taken from how they shift to a more positive stance in their own searches:

Join groups that make you feel more positive, not just those that offer job search information.
Reach out when you need a boost: know where you can go in advance – friends and family members, groups, exercise, classes, a place, or a coach.
Try little behavioral tricks: practice a victory pose or power stance (in private) prior to an interview. Hold your arms up in a “V” for victory pose. Small things really do shift your energy.
Use laugh therapy: watch a funny movie, remember a funny story/event, or listen to a comedian you enjoy, and laugh. People often use this to regain their health and wellness. Continue reading →

Job Search Attitude

Attitude involves the way you think and feel and how you portray yourself to others. A positive attitude is especially important during your job search process – in the search, at home and in the world.

Picture I took at a Chicago Navy Pier garden show several years ago.

Picture I took at a Chicago garden show several years ago.

Do you have a positive attitude? Employers look for a positive attitude to assess whether you may be a good fit for their job. In the end, your attitude shows a prospective employer that you’re a fit, or not.

Yet many of us spend much less time perfecting our attitude than honing and displaying our perfect job search techniques. I know. I’m in human resources, and I’m also searching for a job.

How can you get to a positive attitude? Remember that the job search process is a curve, and that it too shall pass. You will get the job you want. You will maintain your career even if there are detours. You may even change your career direction. And it’s all OK.

For me, the key to maintaining my positive attitude is to recall significant people, places and events and how they shaped my life. Then I try to act and “be” from the inspiration I feel. Thinking about these moments fuels me, including in job search.

What inspires you? I am inspired by people who have pushed through obstacles and persevere to focus on their dreams, e.g., Martin Luther King (that led to my diversity career), or my job search work team (my partners in job search accountability).

One of those special people in my life was a good friend who persevered through several bouts of breast cancer. She wanted to be well so that she could care for her family, and to just have more fun moments in her life. She ended her life’s journey a few years ago, but she continues to inspire me. She made the most of life’s small victories each day.

Sometimes my friend enjoyed just being silly even when she didn’t feel well. She taught me to look for yellow cars (or yellow anything) while you’re driving. Now, whenever I see a yellow car on the road, and yellow sunflowers, it’s as if my friend is there with me, laughing at life, and making me laugh, too. Since starting, I play this game with others. It’s a touchstone.

I am also inspired by people who attain their life goals. Recently, Diana Nyad, a 64-year old long -distance swimmer, successfully swam from Cuba to Florida after five attempts. This 103-mile journey was a goal she pursued on and off for 35 years. She said this was going to be her last attempt, and that it’s never too late to chase your dream. She made it this time. How inspiring!

Those of us in job search need to tap into whatever inspires us. Then set job search goals. That’s how we convey our value.

Cynthia Sutherland is a senior human resources professional, focusing primarily on diversity and inclusion and work-life.

© 2013 Blog to Work/Blogging your way to a job, All rights reserved


Become a Conscious Competent Job Searcher

by John Buckley

September 5, 2013

I am a sales guy who searches out opportunities for a living. I’m pretty good at it in spite of my current circumstances. So, it surprises me to see people (not all but too many) working hard but aimlessly in their search for a new job. They are classic examples of Unconscious Incompetents. (This isn’t as harsh as it sounds; bear with me.) They don’t understand why they aren’t progressing in their search. They don’t know what they are doing is ineffective.  It can be frustrating.  It can be frightening. But it can be better.


First, it’s not their fault; they don’t know what they don’t know. That’s kind of the definition of an Unconscious Incompetent. They need to discover that there is a better way. If the above sounds at all like you, you have hopefully just been enlightened! You’ve just taken the first step; you are now a Conscious Incompetent.  Ouch! This is supposed to be better??

Well, yes. Now you know what needs fixing. You just need to move through the learning process. Next stop:  Conscious Competent! Ok, fine, you say, but how?

We’re not pioneers. People have been searching for work since leaving the farm. Smart people have observed what works and what doesn’t. They wrote their conclusions in books. Read them, do what they say. (The doing is the important part!)

In one very good book, Orville Pierson has written the The Unwritten Rules of Highly Effective Job Search.  In it, he describes and highly recommends Job Search Work Teams. Some people call them accountability groups. This is where you can find people who have walked the learning path to become Conscious Competent job searchers. They’ve developed a good polish on the job search skills taught by Pierson. Part of what they learned is to share what they learned. They will help you move along the path to being a Conscious Competent job searcher.

If you are in the Chicago area, the Job Search Circle (JSC) is a high energy networking group based largely on Pierson’s methodologies led by the charmingly powerful Rosemary Monahan. JSC sponsors about a dozen different Job Search Work Teams. Find one near you, join it, do what they say. If you do, you will become the Conscious Competent Job Searcher. As a result, you will find the right job for you, sooner.

Do you know of a great networking group in your area? Other thoughts? Leave a comment below.