A job search can be a lonely process. Beyond a reasonable point, your family and friends will tire of hearing your job search woes. If you are feeling discouraged, a job search club can help you cope with the loss of your job and the barriers and struggles of finding a new one. Here are my suggestions on how to get the most out of this strategy.
1. Identify Job Clubs
You may find one in the newspaper and some are sponsored by libraries, universities, house of worships, (workministry.com), chambers of commerce, government or community agencies. Most are free or charge a small fee.
2. Search for Online “Clubs”
Conduct a Google search for job clubs in your area for in-person or virtual ones. Even social networking job club can keep you going when you might otherwise be frustrated, stressed or down about your progress.
3. Know What to Expect
Whether you are exploring your options or are focused on what you want, a club is can be very beneficial. A club is a collaborative effort of 15, 20 perhaps 30 people who help each other facilitate achieving career objectives.
Often held in the evening, meetings typically introduce new participants, review job search efforts, hear a guest lecturer, listen to reports from successful club members, and network in small groups or with the facilitator. Be ready to share your job search story and be prepared to help others. Meetings can last 1 or 2 hours with an inspirational message at the end.
Before you attend, be sure to clarify your goals regarding what you hope to get out of the club. Sometimes the focus of the club DOES NOT incorporate individual career counseling. In addition, clubs might not operate during the summer months.
4. Bring Stuff
Make sure you attend the meeting well armed with resumes, sample cover letters, job listings, references, and any other documents that will help others help you reach your goals. Be sure to take notes on any presentations or discussions.
5. Cultivate Networking Contacts
Networking is a key benefit from the group. Job search club members can share job search tips, leads and advice. Ask the participants if they can recommend three people you can speak with regarding an informational interview.
6. Gain Emotional Support
The main attraction of the club is the emotional support and motivation that members provide to each other. Venting with similar downsized or job seeking professionals can keep your spirits high and is comforting. Between meetings, members may want to contact one another to offer encouragement and ideas. Finding regular mutual support is crucial to mounting a successful job search and getting back on your feet. Don’t do your job search alone!
7. Develop Effective Strategies
Job search clubs can create community and a safe place to share your stories and gain insight into effective job search strategies. Another benefit is the opportunity to brainstorm solutions and bounce ideas off others. Members can give impartial feedback on your career plans, help you sharpen your goals, and broaden your horizons. In addition, they can help generate ideas about Internet job searching or how to answer difficult interview questions.
8. Attend Regularly
Since it is easy to get sidetracked, attending regularly will help you to stay focused and on task. Find out if it meets weekly or monthly. Members can hold each other accountable. Valuable topics can include self-assessment, career exploration, resumes, cover letters, networking opportunities, interviewing and negotiating salary. Updates at meetings can feature success testimonials, or ways to address potential obstacles and difficult interview questions.
9. Get Expert Advice
Turn the experience of losing a job into a learning opportunity to assess your real goals. The counselor will advise you about your next move, job leads, and also have a wealth of information, handouts, and contacts for your benefit.
Most successful participants acknowledge that they appreciated the help members provided and enjoyed helping others. Club “alumni” often stay in touch by posting available openings, welcoming networking calls, or occasionally attending meetings. Be sure to follow-up after your job search is successful and see if you can give back to the club.