Build Your Team

In this day of mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and layoffs, most people know someone who is looking for work. How many people do you personally know who are looking for work? Five? Ten?

If you are unemployed, team up with someone else you know who is job searching and work together. The ‘team concept’ is something that is rarely applied to job search. Sure, there are many networking events out there – layoff lounges, job clubs, job fairs – but teaming up with a friend to share resources is a technique most people don’t think of using. Job searching is supposed to be a competitive environment, right? Wrong!

Let me give you a sample scenario of team job searching. Joe and David are both programmers and both have been laid off from the same employer. David has about 4 years seniority on Joe and has some project management experience under his belt. Joe is a young pup with only 2 years experience. Joe and David are friends because they’ve worked on the same projects for the past 2 years and have shared a cubicle for that entire time. Now they are both looking for jobs.

At first glance, you would think that with similar backgrounds and skills they would be competitors for the same openings. It wouldn’t make sense for them to be sharing information concerning job leads. However, the two men have differences in levels of experience and in the parameters of the jobs they are willing to accept. David has a family and really wants to stay in the local area, but Joe is single and is willing to relocate. David’s salary requirements are higher than Joe’s and he really wants a job that leans more toward project management than straight coding. The reality is that David and Joe make a great job search team.

As David is researching positions and companies, he will uncover leads that fit more with Joe’s needs than his own and he can pass those along. The same applies to Joe’s job search. He may interview for a position only to realize that the company is seeking more of a project manager than a developer and he can make a recommendation on the spot for David. He can even pass along David’s resume directly to the decision-maker. David may find a lead for a job that would suit either of them as developers but a relocation across the country would be required plus a bit of a salary cut for him. He would pass that lead along to Joe.

By working together, they expand their ranges of opportunities, supercharge their efforts, and provide an immediate support structure to each other. Team job search works best when two or more individuals with similar qualifications work together but it can also work with two or more individuals with different skill sets and experience. Whatever the composition of the team, it’s important that everyone be aware of each person’s individual job search goals and qualifications. Here are a few guidelines to follow for effective job search teaming:

— Be very clear with your team members on the parameters of your job search. Everyone should know what salary level you are seeking, if you are willing to relocate, if you are seeking a position with a large company or small company, etc. Conversely, you should know this information about your team members.

–Know what each team member has to offer an employer that is unique.

–Make sure all team members have extra copies of your resume and you have theirs.

–Stay in touch with each other to communicate about your job searches, trends that you see occurring, feedback that you are receiving from hiring managers, and information that you have learned about companies.

–Utilize each other’s networks of contacts to expand your own.

–Utilize each other as a sounding board for job search issues.

–Leverage any feelings of competition that may emerge to channel into aggressive job search actions.

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