Let’s face it, searching for a job can be a lonely, isolating experience, filled with self-doubt, fear and in some cases depression. Who likes to troll the online job boards, sending out resume after resume, to get no response? Will I get the call back, won’t I??.. it’s an exercise in torture, and the longer it goes on, the worse it can be to one psyche. Believe me…been there done that!!
It’s for that reason that I so I found my recent experience at a local Job Club, to be so refreshing. Here was a group of people, many of whom did not know each other before, who were coming together once a week to share their experience, gain insight/advice, learn about new opportunities, build their skills and network amongst themselves. More importantly though is the (positive) collective energy that comes from knowing your are not alone and having people there who are willing to share their own war stories, and encourage you to keep up the fight. Even clap when they hear that you have a third interview, which was the case on Monday.
Given the lackluster economy, Job Clubs are going in popularity, and are most often organized either around a location (Library, Community Center, Workforce Development Center) or Interest Group (50+, Mom’s, Freelancer). The trick with any of these groups is to have a strong leader, who either has worked in HR, and is well versed in the art of the job search, or is willing to bring in local experts, who can speak on topics that are of particular interest to the group. 60 Minutes recently ran a great segment on the topic and a group out of Connecticut called “Platform for Employment” run by Joseph Carbone, which is a more structured training program, but works much like a Job Club. Watch It Here.
Where can you find a local Job Club?
Start by asking your local library. Libraries, with their free computer access, often serve as remote work centers for people looking for work, and community center. Community Colleges are also great resources, as are any Community or local Development Center. If all else fails, check out your local newspaper/website, just be aware that Job Clubs should be FREE or only carry a nominal fee to cover basic expenses.
Nothing available around you? Start Your Own! Better than a book club, you can recruit members from your circle of Friends, local Community (via Bulletin Board, Patch.com, or Meetup.com) or by even placing an ad near the help-wanted section of your local newspaper. Trick is to get out of the house (& your PJ’s) and give/get some fresh perspective.