Looking for work is a stressful process. And if you’ve been out of the job for a long time, you might be dreading another day of responding to listings and setting up interviews. You might even be on the brink of despair, either putting off sending out resumes, or frantically shooting them to each and every contact in your network.
If any of that rings true to you, you really need a job search buddy – a friend, colleague or acquaintance who will motivate you throughout the process. And if it’s someone who’s unemployed as well, you can help them in a similar manner.
But what exactly does that entail?
It’s much easier to look for a job if you know you’re not alone doing it. Your buddy will understand what you’re going through and help you get out of an emotional rut if things don’t go well.
Resource and information sharing
A buddy will be on the lookout for interesting opportunities for you. They’ll let you know if they hear of a vacancy that might suit you, or find a job fair or a networking event for specialists in your field. They will also forward you links to professional development courses and articles with industry news if they come across any.
Feedback and practice
The importance of proofreading job search documents can’t be stressed enough. Aside from doing that, your buddy can give you valuable feedback as to the content of your resumes and cover letters. Plus, they are someone you can do practice interviews with.
The mere prospect of going out there and introducing (and selling!) yourself to strangers is a nightmare for many people. Attending networking events with a buddy, however, is beneficial in several ways. First of all, you’re reassured that you’re not alone and there’s someone experiencing the same emotional turmoil. Secondly, you know your buddy’s got your back should anything go wrong. Finally, your buddy will make sure that you actually approach other people and talk to them, rather than arrive, hide out in the corner all night, and leave having accomplished nothing.
If your job search doesn’t go as well as planned, having a buddy will ensure that you don’t become discouraged and slack off. The best thing to do is to communicate regularly – talk on the phone, video chat or meet for lunch. When you get in touch, let each other know what you have done (i.e. how many resumes you’ve sent out, or how many interviews you’ve been to), what you’ve learnt from your experiences, and what your next steps will be. Making a public promise like that is an excellent motivator.
A couple of tips for getting the most out of this cooperation. First of all, be careful when selecting a buddy. You don’t want a whiner or someone who will constantly get you down – you’re looking for a cheerleader to encourage you (and give you an occasional kick in the butt). Also, make sure that this person takes the arrangement seriously, so that you don’t waste your time together by goofing around.
Secondly, remember that having a buddy is a two-way street. You have to be committed to working together to help each other get a job. So make sure you provide as much assistance and support to your job search partner as they do to you.
Have you ever had a job search buddy? Maybe a support group? Or are you a lone wolf when it comes to hunting for a job? Feel free to share your experiences and let us know which approach works best for you in the comments section.