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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Start a career club today

Start a career club today

February 6th, 2009

Join together to build your career

Career Opportunities podcast logoStart a Career Club today
By Douglas E. Welch

Listen: Start a Career Club today

[audio:http://welchwrite.com/career/audio/2009/career-op-20090206.mp3]

Article after article, both online and in the traditional media recount the story of the thousands of unemployed Americans visiting their local employment office, only to be faced with long lines, long waits and hundreds of people in competition for each listed job. While these services are important and welcome, it strikes me that your local employment office might be one of the worst places to look for a job. While I don’t suggest you stop visiting the office and looking for opportunities, I would also suggest you try some less traditional methods of finding your next job. What I’m suggesting is that you band together with both employed and unemployed neighbors to combine your job-hunting efforts on a regular basis.

At first it might seem odd to encourage you to come together on your own, after all this is basically what the employment office does. Instead, though, I want you to come together for your own specific interests and needs. The jobs listed at the employment office are well publicized, perhaps even largely advertised in newspapers and online. A career club, though, can turn up lesser known opportunities passed by word of mouth. They can turn up opportunities that might not be an actual job today, but could turn into one with a little effort.

A career club can also offer additional advantages. First, it provides a time and place for you to share information, information that can go far beyond job opportunities. It is also a place for you to talk about work and develop some sense of managing your career, rather than simply letting it happen. Speaking with experienced people can offer lessons that would be painful to learn on your own. You can also share skills and training among you.

One of the biggest needs today for most workers is a deeper understanding of computers, how they work and how they are necessary for almost any position. Even though computers are everywhere, many of us have never had the need to learn about them very deeply. Then, during the already stressful time of a layoff, we are confronted with the limitations of our technology education. Every career group needs someone knowledgeable in technology. Find them. Cultivate them. Become one yourself. Then spread this knowledge throughout the entire group. As members of your group gain knowledge, help them to share it with others. Raise everyone to a base level of technology knowledge and you all will surely benefit.

Next, cultivate a base level of business knowledge as well. The sad fact is, you are likely to find many people with deep business knowledge at the employment office. During extreme downturns, layoffs often take the good with the bad, the experienced with the beginner. They cut large swathes across a company with little regard to the quality of their work. For your career group, this can work to your advantage. There is a tremendous amount of talent looking for help and an outlet for their talents. Seek it out. Regardless of the job or career you are seeking, business knowledge is critical.

So, what would a typical meeting your career club look like? First, meet as often as you feel necessary. This might be weekly or monthly, depending on the members of your group. Meet in a public space so that people can grab a coffee or even a meal, but don’t make people feel that they have to spend money to attend.

Understand at the beginning that members might be applying for the same job. Members must understand this and be willing to cooperate in spite of their competition. Everyone benefits when a member gets a position. They become an important resource within a given company and become even more valuable to their fellow members. Celebrate them, rather than falling victim to envy.

Finally, consider an online resource for your local career group. This allows you to stay in contact regardless of your differing schedules. It also allows you to quickly share information so you can act on it immediately. If you would like to set up an online presence, the Career Opportunities Community site provides a “Groups” area where you can have your own community within the larger one. Email me at career@welchwrite.com if you would like to set up a free online group for your career club.

The size of your city or your career club matters little. In fact, in smaller towns, your career club could become a significant resource where other employment assistance is limited. The best possibility is that your work in your local career group might directly lead to a job for you or your members. Wouldn’t that be an amazing result?

A career club is one way you can participate in our “Year of Leadership” as I outlined in the first column of 2009. Leadership starts locally and cultivates a pattern of leadership upwards. Take the reins of your own career, share your skills and leadership with others. Help those around you to succeed and you will succeed as well. This is a natural way to build the career that you deserve.


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