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Searching for a New Job? New Study Says Talking to Friends and Family Boosts Chances of Success

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Professor da Motta Veiga looks into the motivation behind searching for a new job.
If you're a job seeker driving your friends and family crazy with job search conversations, a new study finds you're doing something right.

New research co-authored by Serge da Motta Veiga, an assistant professor of management in the American University Kogod School of Business, found that people who talk about their job search with family and friends were more likely to stick to it.

"Should we talk? Co-rumination and conversation avoidance in job search," co-authored with Missouri State professors Dana L. Haggard and Melody W. LaPreze, and published in Career Development International, surveyed 196 graduating students preparing to enter the labor market. The researchers found that job seekers who engaged in repeated and excessive talk about job search issues with friends and family were more likely to engage in job search activities including revising resumes, applying for jobs and seeking job leads from their network.

Survey participants who avoided talking about their job searches were more likely to procrastinate.

"Our findings suggest that some positive behaviors might result from an increased amount of sharing and talking about one's job search," the researchers write. "It might be that any sense of urgency created by the repetitive discussions is overridden by the focus on understanding all about the job search and, as a result, potentially generating new ideas about the types of job search activities to be executed."

For da Motta Veiga, the findings illustrate that talking about a job search with close friends and family has a way of keeping the job seeker accountable.

"It is important to understand that searching for a job, albeit an individual process, can benefit from some level of experience sharing with one another," he said. "Indeed, simply talking about one's job search experiences seems to help maintain a level of intensity in job search activities."

He also recommends career counselors take notice of the study to help job seekers reach career goals.

"Career centers, at universities and elsewhere, could put together some job search mentoring or peer group programs to help job seekers navigate the ups and downs that come with the territory of searching for a job."