You are Not Alone During the Job Search

April 8, 2021 | Teresa L

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Job searching can sometimes feel like a solo journey. Cindy Fruitman, one of our Career Coaches in Residence, shares how to discover your own support team during the job searching process.

Cindy Fruitman
Cindy Fruitman, Toronto Public Library Career Coach in Residence


Sometimes it feels like job search is such a lonely endeavour. Sure, many of us may be in the same boat, but after this past year, it certainly feels like adding in a job search only adds to the isolation we’ve experienced. But whether you’re looking for your first job, seeking guidance on a career move, or are more established and hoping for a promotion, you don’t necessarily have to go it alone. In fact, it’s a far better idea to invite different perspectives and inputs from others when facing critical decisions over the course of your career. 

It’s during these pivotal times that you’ll want to have a small group of key people around that are your “go-tos” when it comes to offering sound advice, insights and accountability. Think of it as having your own Personal Board of Directors - your "P-BOD"™!

In order for your P-BOD to be robust and provide the most value, it should comprise a good mix of the following:

  • professionals who may have industry experience or business knowledge
  • peers or former managers
  • respected people from your network that are farther along the path professionally
  • coaches or mentors
  • and perhaps a trusted friend or family member


(Caveat: There’s a school of thought that believes it’s best to populate your own personal board with people who aren’t emotionally invested in your success. Either way, use your discretion and choose wisely.) The unifying factor? you’re looking for people who believe in your capabilities and your talents. Your goal is to set up a P-BOD that will provide different perspectives, straight talk, offer guidance, and challenge to hold you accountable when it makes sense to do so.

So, who gets on your Advisory Board (P-BOD)? How?

1. Brainstorm to generate potential target lists

Start by either mapping or writing lists and bucket them into categories. For example:

  1. People who know me well (my inner circle)
  2. Professionals who currently advise me (e.g., financial planner, accountant, lawyer, work peer, mentor, etc.)
  3. People I admire professionally
  4. People I respect personally


2. Select

Generate a few variations advisory boards by selecting people from each bucket and combine them to create your ideal board. Keep in mind, you’re looking for a balance of insight, expertise and knowledge of you in order to establish a good cross section of advisors.


3. Invite

Once you have your lists of potential advisory board members:

  • Reach out to your “candidate” and tell them that you’re in the process of assembling your own personal advisory board.
  • Let them know that given your admiration and respect for their experience, sound judgement and/or knowledge, you’d be honoured if they would consider being a key advisor on your personal board of directors.
  • Explain that it would comprise a small number of key advisors that you would contact in the event you are faced with some key strategic decisions to make.
  • Convey with clarity the kind of expertise and insight unique to them that you believe each member of the board could offer.
  • Outline the parameters, that it would be informal in nature, communication could be by phone, virtual chat or email and you would remain mindful of their work and other commitments.


Remember this is an unpaid gig, so be sure to offer to reciprocate in kind.

There’s so much value that comes from putting in effort to create your Personal Board of Directors. It provides a level empowerment that comes from having access to a superhero team that can keep you grounded while promoting your professional growth. As a lifelong learner, the knowledge gained is something tangible that you can pay forward or backward to others who will seek you out for your own talent and expertise. In the meantime, you can continue to steer the ship, benefiting from the wisdom and guidance of others and take the journey together.

Looking for more ways to network? Discover upcoming networking events or watch replays of our previous workshops and panels on Crowdcast:

Networking in a Virtual World

Secure the Bag: Entrepreneurship Panel for Young Adults

For more career and job help resources, visit our Job & Career Help page.


The Career Coaches in Residence program is generously supported by RBC Foundation, and the Friends of the Toronto Public Library, South Chapter. 

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