Don’t be alone in your job search – find local job search groups so you don’t feel so alone.
Dear Interview Doc,
I understand there are groups out there that help job seekers learn how to find jobs. What’s the deal? How do I find one of those groups in Orlando FL?
Feeling blind in Orlando
Job search is tough. Being alone in your job search just makes it tougher. Job search support groups bring job seekers together to exchange information, share best practices and have someone else to talk to. I can’t underestimate the value of having a place to go periodically just to get out of the house!
In northeast Ohio, where I am based, there are some very fine job search support groups. Most are staffed by volunteers, some meet in local libraries or churches and some are sponsored by executive search firms. Many of these groups have LinkedIn Groups and websites. The trick is finding them.
Here are some great ideas to find the job search support group in your area:
- Google “Job search groups YOUR TOWN”. When I typed in “job search groups Cleveland” I found all the groups I am familiar with in Northeast Ohio. They each have websites that include contact information.
- LinkedIn Search. In the big white search box in the upper left hand corner I typed, “job search groups Cleveland” and up popped a bunch of names of people affiliated with northeast Ohio job search groups. If you click on those people, you will see their affiliation with job seekers groups. You can reach out to connect with those people and with the job seekers groups they represent.
- Execunet is a national networking group affiliated with recruiters. The group in northeast Ohio is sponsored by Ratliff & Taylor, a large regional executive search firm that also offers outplacement services. Two groups meet monthly, one for folks making about $100k or more and another group for very senior executives making $200k or more. There is a small fee to attend the twice monthly meetings. They usually have a speaker, someone like me who specializes in some aspect of job search, but the bulk of the meeting is networking. Execunet has similar groups around the country. Some are more active than others. It is a wonderful way to meet people. Google Execunet associated with the major city near you to see if you have a local group near you. Then reach out to the organizer to get invited to the next meeting.
- LinkedIn Groups. Everyone, particularly job seekers, should participate in LinkedIn Groups to network with people who can help. Many job search support groups have LinkedIn Groups. You can find the group in your geography by searching inside LinkedIn for “Job search Cleveland” or similar words until you find groups that sound like they are job seekers groups.
- Meetup is a great place to find job search or career networking groups. Each of these groups has meetings. Each group is trying to find more people to attend so it makes sense they post their meetings on Meetup. I went to meetup.com and selected “50 miles” of “Orlando FL” for a client of mine in Orlando. Then in the search box I typed in career. I found many different networking opportunities for folks interested in improving their careers. Other keywords you can enter are “job search”, “career”, or “business networking”. Be creative. Check out the individual meetings to see which ones make sense for you. Inside each event you can find contact information about the organizers and even the people who plan to attend. Plus, if you get bored you can get a giggle over the strange and weird groups you find!
- Facebook. You can search Facebook events to find events posted by groups focused on networking and job search. Connect with the organizers to see if this groups can be helpful.
- Libraries. Many libraries view helping constituents with job search and careers as part of their mission so they often sponsor job seekers groups. You can ask the reference librarian at your local library if he or she knows about groups or meetings you can attend.
A final bit of advice. Job search is a numbers game. You need to meet lots of people to conduct an effective job search. Those people often gather at networking meetings. When you attend a networking meeting, ask the people you meet about other groups they know about that you might find useful.