When I got laid off from my job as an underwriter about a year in a half ago, I was at my local library, where I saw a sign titled “Join the Leominster Job Seekers.” I had heard of job clubs, but could not really understand how one would benefit me. I thought it would be a bunch of complaining unemployed people. Why would I want to network with them? How could they help me find a job? So, I did not attend these meetings for the first couple of months of my unemployment.
A year ago, this month, I attended my first “Leominster Job Seekers” meeting. We sat around a conference room table, some 14 of us, and a few more sat on chairs around the table. We started the meeting with elevator speeches, introducing ourselves, our background, our value statements and/or skills and our job search radius. After each introduction, the other members asked questions, gave suggestion and offered leads. I left that first meeting feeling better than when I had arrived. The meeting not only gave me ideas and leads, it offered me support in what was looking like a long job search.
Within a month, I volunteered to lead this group, and have been working hard to grow our attendance, offer quality programming, invite valuable speakers and advertise our group via social and print media in an attempt to help more job seekers. Our numbers were dropping, which, for a job club, is a good sign, as that means people are getting jobs. However, I know that more people are being laid off each day, and therefore there are more people we can help. I meet with local agencies, other job seekers groups and alumni associations, in an attempt to gain support for our group, as well as advertised on Facebook. I also meet with the library staff to seek their support and sponsorship. The result is that our group is now growing in attendance, we have speakers for the next few months, we have been covered in the local news paper and the library has agreed to sponsor us.
Here are 10 reasons to join a job club:
- Support: Going to a job club will provide you with the support you need in a long job search. I meet job seekers who have been searching for months to years, many very talented, educated and experienced people, who have been displaced due to reorganization or jobs that have been relocated overseas, or to another part of the country. These fellow job seekers are in the same position as you, and understand what you are going through best. They understand what it is like to have someone ask “How is your job search going?” They can help you stay positive or become positive again.
- Energize your Job Search: I meet many job seekers who have been looking from six months to 2 years. They come to my meetings feeling down, after search for such a long time with little results. But at the meeting they learn new ideas, get support from other job seekers, and gain new skills, helping them to jump start their job search with new vigor.
- Networking: Every job seeker you meet potentially knows someone who has the power to hire you, or someone who knows someone else who has the power to hire you. Attend these events with networking cards, link up with fellow job seekers online, and set up one-on-one meetings to learn more of how you can help each other.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Job clubs can offer you a chance to volunteer and improve your speaking abilities by becoming a facilitator. You can also learn about other volunteer opportunities from the job seekers. Volunteering while being a job seeker offers you a chance to network, helps build your resume, and makes you more appealing to potential employers, who like to see that you are keeping up with your skills and not staying idle.
- Social: In addition to networking, you will also make some lifelong friends. These events are also actually fun, and a great way to get out of the house and away from the computer.
- Offer and Receive Leads: Job clubs offer you a way to not only receive leads and ideas from fellow job seekers, but a way to give back and help others, which can help you feel very good about yourself.
- Speakers: Job clubs have many speakers and presenters who offer workshops on such topics as:
- Resume Writing
- How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview
- How to Stay Positive in a Long Job Search
- Networking with LinkedIn.
You will learn more job search skills and have a chance to network with the speakers. These workshops are free, and will get help you prepare for a successful job search.
8. Personal and Developmental Growth: Through activities such as mock interviews, to relaxation exercised and many more, you will find ways to improve your personal growth, while improving your skills as well as your self esteem.
9. Counts as a Job Search Activity: In some states, attending a “job club” meeting counts as one of your job search activities for your unemployment requirements. Check with your local department of unemployment.
10. Land a Job: According to Richard Bolles, in his latest book, What Color is Your Parachute, if you take part in a job club, your chance of landing a job has a 70% success rate. By comparison, if you search for a job online only, your success rate is 4 to 10%, so for every 100 people who only look for a job online, only 4 to 10 will ever find one, while for every 100 people who attend job clubs, 70 people will find them. Now, attending a job club should definitely be in your job search tool box.
I encourage my job seekers to spend at least 60% of their time in networking activities, and also encourage them to go to more than one job club. In our area there are about half a dozen within a 30 mile radius, offering job seekers different networking opportunities throughout the week.
Attend a job club and your chances of landing a job will increase immensely. Find local clubs by asking your local unemployment/One Stop Career Center, your local library or Google “Job Club” or “Job Seeker Group” and your city or state to find locations.
Please share with me your stories and experiences from your job clubs.