May 12, 2009

Looking for Work? Join a Job Club

I heard a great story last night on my local NPR about job clubs. These networking clubs provide a variety of free (or very low-cost) services to job seekers, from practice interviews to resume-writing clinics to much-needed support.


According to the story I heard, the number of job clubs in my town alone has grown from two to 14 in the past year, and the average number of attendees has increased more than 10-fold.

If you are looking for a job, experts recommend that you join at least two different clubs, because each one will have its own benefits and dynamic. Some job clubs, for example, feature a homogeneous membership — laid off finance workers, for example; others are more broad-reaching, organized through a church, community center or local two-year college.

What are the benefits of a job club?
Whether you share the same career field or not, the members of a job club all have at least one commonality: looking for work in a tough economic climate. So not only will you benefit from practice interview, resume writing and networking tips, you will also enjoy encouragement during your potentially long and at times discouraging job search.

And according to Richard Bolles, author of the ultimate job seeking guide What Color is Your Parachute?, that job club camaraderie can be a huge factor in your job search success rate. Bolles says that using techniques learned from job clubs has an 84% success rate, while trying to do the same thing on your own has only a 15% positive rate.

Job clubs are also a great way to expand your networking circle and to practice your networking techniques. Most clubs bring in guest speakers — experts from various industries and in the field of career planning. Their #1 tip? Print up some personal business cards immediately. (You can get them practically free at online print shops like Vista Print, if you’re watching every penny these days.)

Where can you find a job club near you?
If you want to try your hand at membership in a job club or two, contact your local community centers, colleges and universities, churches or synagogues, Chambers of Commerce, and professional membership organizations. You can also run a Google search for job club plus the name of your town. Some job clubs advertise in the employment section of local newspapers. Or you might even want to start you own job club.

Are you a member of a job club? How did you find out about it? Do you think it has helped you in your job search?


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