Success Teams – The Way People are Getting Hired in the East Bay

March 13, 2010

Those in transition know how difficult it is right now trying to land the next job. It’s even harder trying to do it alone. Sitting in front of your computer, gazing at the same old job postings on scores of job boards is depressing. Worse, those positions you absolutely know you are the perfect fit for, that you’ve crafted the perfect cover letter, tuned your resume to match it, got on their site and spent 30 minutes applying, then… nothing! So what do you do? Repeat the process.

Here’s a better idea, and one that has been working among those who attend Job Connections on Saturday mornings at Danville’s Community Presbyterian Church: Success Teams.

Success teams are groups of 4-7 people who meet regularly each week at a Starbuck’s, library, someone’s home or any designated place. They are usually formed by industry group, age, level, geography or just about any other way people meet.

There are C-Level teams, sales & marketing teams, finance teams, IT teams, Danville (or any other town where members can conveniently meet) teams, or people of a certain age.
It doesn’t really matter what the name of the team is – what does matter is that the people who meet are the ones who get jobs.

Why? There are probably several reasons, but here are a few: The people who get up from their computers and go out and meet others have just raised the odds for themselves. 70% of the jobs offered today are to people who found out about them from someone else, not a job board (that’s the N word – Networking).
Meeting your colleagues on the success team regularly means you are sharing your networks, supporting each other’s searches, and holding each other accountable.

Just like having a work out buddy, you don’t want to let them down, so you show up and keep pushing, sparring and encouraging each other.
In Keith Ferrazzi’s latest book, Who’s Got Your Back, he talks about creating informal networks of people will not let you fail. This is exactly what a success team looks like…these people can become lifelong friends from this shared experience who will be watching your back.

Are you on a success team now? If so, is it one that is positive, supportive and energizing? If not, charge it up yourself. If that doesn’t work, go find another team, or better yet – start your own and handpick the members you want.
Either way, the results speak for themselves: they work.
For information on success teams and where to find them, go to or better, attend a Saturday session at 9:00 AM at Community Presbyterian Church, 222 W. El Pintado, Danville, CA. 94526.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile
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Jump Start Your Job Search Event a Success

October 28, 2009

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One measure of a successful event is the number of people who stay after it’s over and how long they stay to talk, network, and ask questions of the panelists and speakers. Yesterday’s event – Jump Start Your Job Search – hosted by St. Mary’s College Graduate School of Business Alumni and MassMutual had over 100 people attend the 4 hour event.

15 minutes after the event, all of the speakers were there and about 2/3 of the attendees. 30 minutes after the event, all of the speakers were still there and about 25 people remained. The feedback was very strong – even from veterans who had seen many of the speakers at other events – but the value, as reported by some, was having all of them together and the questions by Susan Dittmann, moderator of the first workshop along with questions from the audience, really uncovered new ideas and tactics.

Especially relevant was the first panel of Kim Litton, Lee Hecht Harrison Senior Career Coach and Career Management Professional, Tom Loarie, Co-Founder of St. Isidore’s Networking Group and Chairman & CEO of Mercator, a medical device company, and Dean Tracy, co-founder and Executive Director of CPC Job Connections.
Susan asked each of them several questions that generated many more questions from the group. Each brought a bit different perspective from their experience answering questions, but the overall effect was powerful. The questions could have continued far longer, but had to be cut short due to time.

Jud Walsh from the SF Business Times went through how to use the paper to generate business leads. As a research tool, he demonstrated page by page how to identify companies and business owners or leaders to contact for jobs (and hidden jobs) – a very creative approach.

Finally, Dennis Thompson, Executive Recruiter and Career Management Coach, in a very interactive and lively session, showed how to get an interview with the Queen of England… OK, if not the Queen, then at least Barack Obama, by being able to offer them something of value and using the 6 degrees of separation technique. He then translated this into working groups of 6, following a simple, yet powerful script to identify people others know at a target company, or people who may know people at that target company.
While the event ended at noon, several groups continued to stay together and share information. A very powerful close to the event. I mentioned that of the past two events at SMC targeting those in transition, virtually every speaker emphasized – in different, yet emphatic ways – the need to network to stand out from the millions of others who are unemployed. Susan Dittmann said that to be successful in your job search, you must do two things each week that are uncomfortable and one thing that terrifies you. This was also echoed by many of the speakers.

Thanks to each of the speakers for volunteering their time and experience in helping those in attendance!