If you are feeling alone or isolated in your job search, you may want to consider joining a local job club. Job clubs, also known as job search clubs or networking clubs, are a formal or informal group of job seekers who meet regularly to support and assist each other in the job search process. Job clubs offer a variety of activities aimed at helping job seekers to better plan and execute their job search activities, answering questions or troubleshooting job search challenges that may emerge, and allowing job seekers to share their experiences and provide support for one another.
Research has shown that many successful job seekers join a job club to help boost their job search skills as well as get essential social support. According to executive resume writer Donna Svei (Job Clubs — The Top Habit of Exceptionally Successful Job Seekers), joining a job club can help you overcome the fears and emotional challenges of unemployment that everyone experiences and build the skills you need to find a job.
Many career experts advise that joining a job club can bring you many benefits to support your job search. A post on job search app JibberJobber’s blog (10 Reasons to Frequent Job Clubs) highlights some of the primary reasons to join a job club, including:
Discovering that you are not alone in your job search
Meeting others who are currently out of work and may be struggling in their job search can help you feel less alone and isolated. A Cornell University ILR School study (Formative Evaluation of Job Clubs Operated by Faith- and Community-Based Organizations) highlighted the fact that job clubs can help break the isolation that often accompanies periods of unemployment and counter the discouragement and anxiety that can set in during the job search process. Job clubs have also been shown to reduce the risk of depression (see Job clubs may protect unemployed people from depression). Giving and receiving ideas, information and support can help lift your mood, boost your confidence, and motivate you to keep moving forward.
Learning about opportunities, companies and industries
While the internet is an important tool in your job search, you won’t learn about all the openings and opportunities, companies, industry news, and even other networking events online. Talking to people at a job club can open new possibilities. You can ask others, including people who may be in your profession or industry, or who have the same target companies, about other networking events and opportunities. You’ll be spending time with people who are “in the trenches” and may have valuable information and ideas to share.
Experiencing the satisfaction of supporting and encouraging others
Providing support and encouragement to fellow job seekers can be satisfying and fulfilling. Your current situation may be putting a dent in your self-esteem, but knowing that your ideas, suggestions or words of encouragement are supporting others can help boost your morale and give you a sense of purpose.
Learning from the facilitator and guest speakers
Many job clubs, including the Tri-Valley Career Center’s, are facilitated by experienced job search advisors who can bring valuable information on many aspects of the job search, including resume writing, targeting companies and interviewing. Guest speakers are often invited to present potentially useful information on researching companies and industries, the hiring process or career trends.
Boosting your motivation through a sense of accountability to others
Participating in a job club brings an element of accountability. As a job seeker on your own, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, but the people in your job club get to know you and want to know that you are making progress. Many job clubs set weekly deadlines for members to complete elements of their search, according to job search expert Alison Doyle (How a Job Club Can Help You Get Hired). Knowing that you have a weekly meeting on your calendar, and will likely be asked about your progress, could be just the nudge you need to send out that cover letter or make that informational interview date. As you share your weekly wins and ask for support through your losses, you get encouragement from people who are as focused as you are on your goal of landing your next job.
If you are looking to meet up with other job seekers in the Tri-Valley area, a good place to start is the Tri-Valley Career Center Job Club, which meets every a week, on Thursday mornings. Facilitated by Career Center staff, Job Club attendees receive support, swap leads, offer feedback, and benefit from guest speakers. Members empower themselves and each other to develop smart, savvy solutions to overcome obstacles and celebrate successes in a job hunt.
Other resources for Job Clubs include:
- SING, in Danville is a long-standing networking group that meets Monday evenings.
- CareerOneStop, the US Department of Labor’s job services website (search “job clubs”)
- Meetup, a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests
- Search for Groups on Facebook or Twitter
- Public libraries, community colleges and local universities
Knowing which job club to join depends on your personal situation. You might want to join for support and accountability, or you may need help on specific things, like reformatting your resume or crafting a good explanation of your time out of work. Try out a few clubs, if necessary, until you find one that feels like a good fit for you. Or, join more than one to increase your support and network.
Job clubs provide support during what can be a stressful time. Meeting with people going through a similar experience can help provide much-needed support, encouragement and the boost you need to keep searching until you find your next job.