When we dare to change up our life priorities and make new plans, we can develop both fans and foes. Even, or should I say especially, among our nearest and dearests, who may take awhile to fully appreciate and support your New You. Therefore we recommend that all women returning to or pivoting their careers recruit an accountability team of energized like-minded colleagues who are willing to dream with them and provide a kindly kick in the arse when needed.
You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down. – Unknown
To mark the close of Women’s History Month 2018, we pause to recognize some remarkable ReBoot Accel women who are helping themselves while helping others, and were willing to share some how to’s and lessons learned regarding starting and sustaining effective accountability groups for job seekers and career pivoters.
Why did you first join an accountability group? The prime-age job search experience can be lonely, intimidating, and paralyzing. Particularly following a career pause or lay-off. Joining an accountability group gets us out of the house, into a professional look and mindset, connects us with new people, energy, resources, and ideas; and provides a structured judgment-free setting to try on and refine our evolving career stories and personal pitches out loud.
It pushes me into areas I’m not comfortable with. We only know what we know.
How did you recruit your members? At first we welcomed all, and that is certainly one strategy, however, we found it works best when 6-8 members are at the same career reentry stage. Our group has moved beyond the discernment phase into the active job search phase, we all want to land jobs as quickly as possible, so our meeting content is more narrowly focused on sharing contacts and networking, debriefing and preparing for interviews, and other best practices for motivated job seekers.
How do you run your meetings? We have a designated group leader who opens our meetings, on time, with a timed member check-in and review of our agenda. All of those elements: leader/timer/agenda keep our meetings on track and productive for all. If someone has a big issue to address one week, we’ll flex to groupthink that challenge, but we try to stay on task, give everyone their time, and meet expectations.
I was tired of joining job seeker groups that I dreaded attending and eventually divorced. This group is reliable, dependable, professional, and focuses on purposeful content and results-oriented ACTION.
What else are you getting from your group? In between meetings, we might send a resume out via Google docs, for inspiration and feedback. If we find a great example or template for cover letters we share that too. And we lend emotional support and smart tips before a member goes online for a video interview, or to an important meeting.
Our group mantra is YES YOU CAN BE BOLD. We want to hear about what you did!
Other best practices? Environment matters. Some accountability groups meet in coffee shops, others in wine bars, and this one was adamant about meeting in a professional environment. There are psychological benefits to ‘walking the talk’ and arriving at an office to work with others and collaborate on career strategies and solutions.
When women support each other, incredible things can happen. – Viola Davis
Any success stories you’d like to share? Yes! A new member with global HR experience shared her story and need for a part-time role ASAP. Another member had connections to the owner of a consulting company who specializes in HR solutions for small companies. She acted as the new member’s sponsor and presented her resume and LinkedIn URL to the owner which got her in the door as a candidate. Two weeks later this sponsoring member received a thank you from the other. She had landed a job!
Any other advice? The best accountability groups are honest, active, and foster a “what’s said here, stays here” bond of mutual trust and confidence. People get vulnerable and will experience failures on the way to success. We also understand that life happens and deliverables may get deferred a week, but we don’t enable a pattern of slippage because that doesn’t serve anyone well. We prefer to expect greatness from all.
Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. – Unknown
What else are we reading this week?
- What You Need to Know to Create an Accountability Group That Works
- How to Set up an Accountability Group and Get Serious Results
- How Not to Sabotage Your Career Reentry
- The Comforting and Catalyzing Power of Community
Are you a job seeker returning to or pivoting your career? What’s next for you?
Check out ReBoot Talent JOBS. We work with companies across the USA that are seeking skilled, mature talent returning to their careers. This is continually updated, so check back frequently.
Subscribe to ReBoot Kickstart, our new and FREE online training program with over 20 lessons, worksheets, and videos to help job seekers successfully return to and pivot their careers.
Connect with us!
- For support and advice from like-minded women, join the ReBoot Accel Discussion Group on Facebook
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- For real stories from real returners, visit our testimonial page
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