Your Support Circle — Part 1: A Personal Board of Advisers


What is a personal board of advisers?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online1 defines “adviser” (also “advisor”) as someone who: gives advice to (councils); cautions, warns; recommends; gives information or notice to (inform); and [one who] to takes counsel (consults).

These definitions above sum up nicely the goal for creating a personal board of advisers to help you in manage and succeed in your job search. Some important functions of a Board of Advisers are to give job search support, be a sounding board for ideas, and give counsel and advice. Your job search will be more successful as a team enterprise than as a “solo” effort.

For example, if you seriously desire to pursue a personal interest such as playing a musical instrument, how might you approach it? You could read all you can about it, go to a music store to learn about the instrument, visit a performing group to get a taste of the types of music you could play, take classes to learn the skills, search for clubs/groups with your same interest, and even join a performing group. It would begin with you—solo—and end involving many others who become your support circle as you continue pursuing your musical interest. Your job search is a similar endeavor.

Having an enthusiastic support team on your side offers several tangible benefits:

  • A safety net to help you avoid costly mistakes
  • Unbiased listeners and objective feedback
  • A center of knowledge and a sphere of influence

According to Susan Whitcomb, author of 30-Day Job Promotion, “A personal board of advisors takes the mentor concept a step further. Here you gather a small group of individuals who have agreed to invest time in your career success. Depending on your needs and the availability of board members, meetings might be monthly or bimonthly, in person or by telephone conference.”3

Who would be wise choices for your Board of Advisers?

  • Professionals you trust, who have your best interests at heart unconditionally…with “no strings attached.” You’ll be sharing your personal struggles with them in your journey.
  • People who have the wisdom gained from experience, both inside and outside your industry, whose “diversity will give you a wealth of broad perspective and ideas”. 3
  • Savvy community connectors2 who have a circle of influence and are willing to introduce you to important people they know.
  • Experts who have strengths complementary to your “gaps” 4 so you can maximize your strengths.
  • Colleagues or former co-workers knowledgeable about your industry. If you don’t have any, tap into a professional association where you can make new connections.
  • Businessmen with an active pulse in the community who can point you in the right direction.

What to share when you meet with your personal board of advisers:

  • Your successes. Your board needs to hear about your wins. This creates forward momentum.3
  • Challenges and roadblocks.3 Together with your Board, you can brainstorm ways to either work around or go through roadblocks successfully, and minimize stress with a focused plan you develop.
  • Insights.3 Share what you learned from efforts or situations that did not work out. Invite your board reflect what they hear you say, and listen to their fresh perspectives.
  • Offer something that would help them.3 Make it a two-way, mutual exchange. The members of your board are not “tools”; they are busy professionals extending to you the courtesy of their resources, time, and energy to help you succeed.


A personal board of advisers, in addition to (or alongside) a career or job search coach, can mean the difference between succeeding and propelling your job search faster than you could on your own—or  a stalled job search. They give you a competitive edge over those who don’t. It’s worth the time and effort to create and nurture one!

What are your thoughts about creating a personal Board of Advisors?

This is about the professional side of your support circle. The next post will focus on the personal side…the value of companions and friends in your job search.

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