Sure, job search can be an isolating, lonely and frustrating endeavor, I’ll grant you that, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. While the majority of your out-of-work friends are “going it alone,” spending countless hours surfing the web, posting to Monster.com, and sending out a suite of resumes to no one in particular, YOU could take an entirely different, more productive, and less lonely approach, and join a job club. Job clubs have been around forever (forgive the vague timeline), touting far greater statistics and successes than their members have been able to achieve on their own. In his classic book on career transition, What Color is Your Parachute, Richard Nelson Bolles suggests job seekers experience an 84% success rate when job search activities are conducted in groups —15% higher than when they are conducted alone! And, those who have been associated with job clubs report, in fact, their membership is the key factor in their success. For even greater proof, look no further than a recent research study on the topic of executives in career transition, appropriately titled: “Benefits of Job Clubs for Executive Job Seekers: A Tale of Hares and Tortoises,” which qualitatively demonstrated the benefits of job clubs to executives. According to the study, executives associated with a job club spent more time on job search activities, experienced lower job search frustration, and felt a greater sense of camaraderie than unaffiliated executives. While job clubs do not offer placement services per se, what they do offer can be far more meaningful; among the benefits are support, accountability, connection, advice, strategy, affiliation, and yes, even friendship. Job clubs take many forms; they can be free or fee-based, non-sectarian or religious, host to hundreds of members, or simply a few. But, across the board, what nearly all job clubs offer their members is the opportunity to work with other job seekers in a similar boat, to intelligently plan and conduct an effective job search campaign. Convinced? If you are sold on the benefits of participation in a job club, here are a few tips to help you find one!
- Start by looking in your local paper’s business or community calendar section: most events are posted just a week in advance, and some papers list job club meetings in special sections devoted to employment.
- Check in with outplacement organizations: one organization with a long record in getting job seekers back to work is The Five O’Clock Club (FiveOClockClub.com) which holds “insider club” meetings around the country, via phone, and offers weekly topics to structure the learning, break through job search obstacles, share leads and track progress.
- Surf Job-Hunt.org: which has a fantastic list of job clubs (and other brilliant resources) around the country.
- Visit your local library, church or synagogue, Chamber of Commerce, college or university, women’s center, or simply browse the flyers in your local Panera!