December 11, 2020


By Alex Harrington, Executive Director

There is no doubt that this national pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of American lives, particularly those ‒ like you ‒ in the workforce who have either been laid off, downsized, forced to take early retirement, or let go permanently. And for some of you, your line of work, along with many others, may not be coming back.

In fact, Michelle Miller-Adams, a senior researcher at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, asserted that the unpredictability of the course of the "public health crisis makes it difficult to predict when and how the nation will reopen for business," and emphasized the certitude that "some of the jobs lost as a result of the virus will not return." Miller-Adams also added, "when the economy does eventually recover, new skills and industries may play a part."

Even through these challenging times that have significantly disrupted America’s workforce, businesses, and many occupations, it is still imperative for job seekers…such as yourself…to carry out a comprehensive job search campaign. So what is your key to navigating these new waters? I truly believe the best way to improve your job search is to take on an accountability partner or join a group to help galvanize your pursuit to find gainful employment.

Accountability Partners

The primary benefit of having someone as your accountability partner is that they “help you throughout your job search or career.” This relationship could help take you to the next level with daily...weekly...or even monthly check-ins. In this dyadic setting, you both have the freedom to determine the amount of time and what type of communications to use, such as email, phone calls, or webcam.

Do you feel introverted at times or hesitate to speak up in group settings? An accountability partner may be just the right fit for you to help keep you on track and ready for what lies before you!

Job Search Accountability Groups

On the other hand, perhaps you love a group setting. If so, you may benefit more in a group accountability setting where individuals help each other in their respective job searches. According to Careermetis, "Some individuals flourish and grow when they are in a group." A group setting could also provide more structure and guidance than having one accountability partner.

And networking?! Why yes!  By meeting others, learning, and growing through this journey together, you will not only learn something new, but you’ll gain a resource and reference who can vouch for your character and diligence in finding your dream job!

While you'll certainly benefit from the members in the group as they help you search for jobs, provide structure and guidance, and expand and facilitate your networking, I would also add that you will feel encouraged after each meeting. A job search accountability group not only helps negates discouragement but places an emotional floor under its members so they do not take interview rejections or other job search-related letdowns as symptomatic of their worth.

Benefits of Accountability

By taking on an accountability partner or joining a group, you will amplify the focus of your job search, as well as hold yourself accountable: allowing you to "walk the talk," "do what you say," and "say what you do."

Similarly, these quasi mentors will hold you to task on your job search productivity and established goals; essentially helping you take on an ownership mindset for your job search instead of becoming a victim and complaining or blaming others for your current situation.

How to Approach Accountability

Regardless of what route you take, choose your "team" wisely. Remember that to achieve success all parties have to be intentional in the accountability process.

  • Plan and set achievable SMART goals, then meet to discuss the status of these goals.
  • Agree to be accountable for your job search efforts to your partner or group.
  • Be accountable to your job search productivity (e.g., how many resumes were sent out, networking engagements, etc.).
  • Share information and job-related sources, so that everyone gets smarter about the job market.
  • Commit to meet regularly to discuss individual job search progress.
  • Give and receive support, encouragement, and focus.

Owning Self-Responsibility in Accountability

Author and speaker Vishwas Chavan wrote, "Accountability and self-responsibility are critical to our success in personal, professional and public life. However, we often look for those character traits in others, rather than inculcating them in ourselves." I couldn’t agree more!

The only way for accountability to work is that it's predicated on you being honest with yourself, along with what you share with your accountability partner or group. One must be open to supportive critical observation from others so that to identify any potential hindrances to your job search. And this growth can only be achieved through self-responsibility in accountability.

Bottom line: Don't let one year (even though it has been an incredibly tough one) significantly disrupt your goals or plans.  

At Federal Career Connection, we believe we succeed far greater together than alone, and when we come together with open and honest hearts and minds, we achieve so much more than ever imagined.

Helpful Resources

While this national pandemic has significantly disrupted your job situation, you can better navigate the workforce terrain with an accountability partner or group. Learn more about how accountability can benefit your job search at the following online resources:

Please follow us on Twitter @FedCareer and join our Federal Career Connection LinkedIn Group or find us on Meetup at

Alex Harrington
Chair & Founder
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