‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is a phrase commonly heard when an individual is looking for a job. However, the networks that are needed for someone to get ‘a foot in the door’ of a particular job are not always accessible; here is one solution: Job Clubs. A job club, sometimes known as a networking club, has been described as ‘a group of individuals who get together on a regular basis to support each other through the job hunting process’. Not only does this allow an individual to expand their existing social networks, but the group also provides a form of support group through encouragement and empathy, which can be particularly uplifting in times of an economic recession. The exchange of job leads, business cards, resumes, ideas, and information that occurs in a job or networking club can also motivate members and teach everyone valuable career strategies and techniques.
Is is successful?
The Job Club has been widely researched, and its positive effects have been replicated across numerous settings and populations, including handicapped individuals, college students and graduates, welfare recipients, white and blue collar unemployed individuals. Many studies have found that individuals who participant in a Job Club are far more successful at finding employment than those who participate in other programmes. Some studies have also found a relationship between job clubs and higher start salaries, higher self-efficacy, lower depression, greater advancement and higher job satisfaction.
The Expert Opinion
Experts recommend that a job club should consist of between 2 and 30 members, and should meet on a regular basis (weekly or every fortnight). The psychologist, Azrin, states that job club efforts will be more successful if job seekers have a specific goal, have considerable knowledge of the employers they wish to approach, are well acquainted with their own skills, and follow a particular pattern in the way they conduct their research.
Where to start looking?
So, where can you find a job club? You can start by looking in your local newspapers or contacting your local council. Your local library may have more information, or an internet search may reveal job clubs in an area near you. If you can’t find one, why not set up your own? Job Clubs UK provide free tips and advice on setting up the job club and will help promote and recruit individuals as well!
Below are some ideas on how to keep the Job Club fresh and interesting:
• Expert speakers could be drafted in, from JobCentre for example, to give presentations on CV writing, application forms and interview techniques.
• Job Club and Book-Club could be blended together. Each member could read a book about an aspect of job-hunting and share the best ideas from the book with the group. Members can also pass out helpful articles about job hunting.
• Members can bring resumes, both so you can critique each others' and so you can exchange them and distribute members' resumes when opportunities present themselves. • Club members could take field trips to tour companies of mutual interest. Informational interviews in small groups may even be possible.
• Part of the meeting could be spent conducting employer research, especially if laptops or other computers with Internet access are available.
- Kirsty Russell
Picture: Individuals meeting around a coffee table, with thanks to Mybloodyself for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons licience some rights reserved.
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