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Finding Your Exit Buddy

Anyone who is in the midst of a job search knows that it can be a lonely and frustrating venture. The one thing that I am surprised at is that I don’t see more pairing up of job seekers to support, coach and keep each other motivated ( and honest) during a job search. Nothing formal; maybe a weekly coffee or phone call to develop a plan, share ideas and being held accountable to someone else for your progress. Many times I hear of job seekers who sit in the “home office” which is usually the converted garage or a room in the basement. This can be pretty depressing and not really a way to stay motivated or positive during a job search.

All too many times during a job search the only outside interaction is with strangers at a networking event, job fair or an interview. The majority of the time is spent alone- thinking, planning and over processing of the job search. This leads to frustration and depression which can then show up in other ways in your job search such as during an interview or meeting with a hiring manager where you may appear a bit anxious.


Finding a job is a stressful time that pulls on many skills, talents and energies. It has been acquainted with many other major stressful times in your life – having a family, marriage, death. This is especially true now with unemployment so high. Yet so many folks take the venture so lightly –what I mean by lightly is that I rarely see anyone taking the time to truly plan out their job search, find the resources necessary to support them, nor take advantage of a fellow job seeker to help them along.

I frequently make this suggestion in the Military and Government Agency Transition classes that I teach because this is a perfect opportunity to find an Exit Buddy. These class participants are facing even bigger challenges with developing a career search that encompasses a few more hurdles than those moving between jobs in the private sector.

Again, these meetings are along the lines of progress reports, keeping you honest, listening and supporting each other and to give you fresh ideas when you are stumped.

Dory and Marlin had very different skills sets and views on life. They each had life experiences that they shared with each other and provided necessary inspiration to overcome obstacles. Your exit buddy can dothat for you.

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Bill Brantley

Great advice! When I was first looking for work in the DC area back in 1995, I had a job hunting buddy who was also looking. We both made the commitment to call each other on alternate days at 8:30 AM to make sure both of us were out of bed and working that day. We also had lunch every Wednesday to keep our spirits up and a Saturday lunch to debrief each other and brainstorm our job hunting efforts.

I recommend The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the Worlds Leading Career Services Company by Orville Pierson. I used this as part of a course for graduating communication majors and this greatly helped many of my students. There is not much new advice in the book but it lays out a great strategy for the job hunt and includes performance measures so that you can objectively see your progress in finding a job. There is a chapter in turning the strategy into a group project so this is perfect with Exit Buddies.

Kathleen Smith

Bill – thanks! it is good to know that some people have put this into practice. I think it is important to find others to work with you on this and any project. Collaboration in a job search will help perfect your skills in collaboration in the workplace.
Thanks for your comment!

Sylvonia Poole

Great advice. I just posted a sign for a free Jobs Club near my local library. I was just thinking of the same idea yesterday. It is good to have someone cheering you on while searching.

thanks for this post-and keep them coming.