How to Find a Job Club

job clubDuring the first few weeks of my job search, I was very busy putting together what I thought was a good job search. This including creating a résumé, figuring out job boards, and developing my strategy and schedule. I was also figuring out my finances and learning the ins an -outs of unemployment insurance.

I had heard that networking was a significant part of job search success, but I didn't know anyone and wasn't sure how to begin. Eventually, though, I learned of some local job search clubs and started going. This changed the direction of my job search completely. I learned that I wasn't alone, and that other people who were more qualified than I was had also lost their jobs and were experiencing the same things I was. Until then, I had felt like a colossal failure, thinking I was unique in my situation.

I also learned, from my job seeking peers, that I was doing all the wrong things in a job search. I learned the best strategies and tactics, and even better wording on questions or statements.

I was nervous going to the first job club meeting, and it took a while to figure out how to get value out of it; but I'm completely sold that this is a place job seekers should go. Here are some ideas on how to find a meeting near you:


1. Ask other job seekers

You will undoubtedly come across other job seekers. Ask them if they know of any job clubs or networking events for job seekers. You want to know what clubs they actually go to. You'll hear about networking events for employed and unemployed people. Don't discount either, of course; but make sure you go to the events for unemployed people.


2. Google

Google seems to be the answer for everything, doesn't it? Here are some search terms:

  • [your city] "job club"
  • [your state] networking
  • [your state] network transition
  • [your state] network unemployed
  • [your state] network "job ministry"

You can play around with various phrases; each city or state will produce different results. As I've traveled I've been really impressed with some of the longstanding clubs and opportunities in some places, and wished other places had something similar. A note about "job ministry": Most good-sized cities I visit have job ministries that are sponsored by a church -- and sometimes these are the biggest and best networking opportunities available. It doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are; you'll find people from many different faiths at the job ministries.


3. Job-Hunt.org

Susan Joyce, the owner of Job-Hunt.org, has done a great job building a list of local networking opportunities for job seekers, broken down by state. Go to your state and see what they have. If something you know of is not listed you can e-mail her team and they'll check it out.


4. Ask people who are still working

Maybe in the last few years your friends who have a job have had to find some of these resources on their own. Once they go through a bad job search they tend to have a soft spot in their hearts for those in transition, and they are eager to help. I remember getting lots of help and relevant advice from people I thought had great careers only to hear their own job search stories. They were a gold mine of information.


5. Ask workforce services

State workforce services should know about local networking events you could go to. Some of them will sponsor their own events. If you can network your way into someone at the state office who understands what you do for a living and has helped others with your background, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Do you know of other ways to find job clubs? Have you found value from attending the job clubs? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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muhammad Imran

I recently had an experience with an e-mail interview for an article, in which the respondent's answers to my questions were all written in lowercase. This meant extra work for me, as I had to go through all of the text to correct it before it could be posted online. There were also several emoticons and a couple of misspellings, making me wonder if perhaps this person had written his answers out while texting (and probably driving).

Then I got to wondering if people also fill out job applications like that. And if they do, is it "wrong"? After all, protocol does change and morph with the advent of new technologies and social mores. To answer my question I called upon an expert in the world of Human Resources, Brian Phillips of Harvis.org, and this is what he said (via e-mail, naturally) after I initially contacted him.

staci :)

i really like your idea :)

ide be glad to till you abut the HR nightmares involving writing.

tks! cya!

Okay... Did I cover the spelling typos, case errors and emoticons in enough depth? You're right in that these issues are prevalent, however there is no room for it in a professional résumé or letter -- even an e-mail. Friend-to-friend communication is spilling into professional communication. PDAs, e-mail letter formats and even how we address people in e-mail has changed from the formal style.

Q. How has the application process changed over the years, going from having a job-seeker have to physically come in and fill out a paper application, to applying online?

A. Brian Philips: The process I set up for public access to applications is multi-faceted. The applicant may complete an interactive .pdf application from the web, or print it; then complete it in pen to submit by fax or by dropping it off in person. Regardless of the approach, I am always surprised at the way applicants will omit information or fail to follow directions on the application. To this end, the electronic applications I design for clients enable me to set up required fields that must be completed before the system will allow the application to be forwarded by e-mail. This in itself can be considered a screening tool if a candidate gives up before completing an application.

Q. What do you think about applications in which you see mistakes, poor spelling, or difficult handwriting?

A. The hiring manager wants to know the basics on each applicant to quickly decide if the submitted application meets the minimum requirements for consideration -- it is a simple pass-or-fail approach. There's no reason why anything submitted electronically should be misspelled. Run the spell checker before submitting electronic applications.

In terms of paper applications, they are still very common in most businesses where technology hasn't been introduced to streamline their applicant screening process. The employee should do their best to fill out the application completely and truthfully while printing clearly within the areas specified. Many people write today in a mix of capital and lower case longhand and printed letters. I'm also guilty of that, but it makes sense to try to write deliberately and clearly when filling out an application.

Sloppy, illegible writing isn't worth decoding. The hiring manager immediately sees the future with benefit applications being returned from the carrier because the data entry people can't read them, work orders being illegible, and inter-company communications like unreadable timesheets causing corrections to be made later.

Employees who tend to write in micro-print should write in a normal size that can be read by people with bad eyes. Live on the edge, and fill the space provided with your words of expertise. The larger print shows confidence and can help make your point.

August 04 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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