Job search support groups used to be a staple of job seekers when looking for a new job. They’re still around, but maybe not as easy to find as they used to be. On the other hand, I’ve just learned about a different kind of group that isn’t only for job seekers but could serve as a valuable resource in your next job search.
Such groups have been referred to as “X helping X” groups. In a recent blog post by Nick Corcodillos of Ask The Headhunter (“Recruiting: How to get your hands dirty and hire“), an individual wrote a comment about these groups, which could include such designations as “lawyers helping lawyers” or “accountants helping accountants.” The idea is that members of these groups need help from others who understand the types of challenges they might be facing.
Here’s a quote from the Corcodillos blog (part of his response to the original comment):
“Employers get so stuck thinking about hiring the traditional way that it never occurs to them to make it personal. That means having managers stop and think about social, professional, and community settings where potential job candidates congregate. You’ve hit on a particularly interesting one, where you’re not only getting what you want, but helping the kinds of people who make great employees.”
Finding a group of individuals with a similar background to yours can give you a boost in several ways during your job search. For one thing, those people probably have a good idea of what you’ve been going through, both on the job and in your job search. That increases the odds that you’ll be able to tap into knowledge and experience directly relevant to your situation.
It’s not an unusual concept. If I talk to friends or relatives about what I do in my resume-writing/career coaching business, they might have a vague idea of what I do, but that’s it. They haven’t been “in the trenches” with me as I strive to make good decisions in challenging circumstances and help clients who are struggling with their job search.
On the other hand, when I network with colleagues–at an annual conference or one-on-one–they “get it.” They’re either in a similar situation or they’ve been in one in the past. Plus, I know that the colleagues I’ve come to know well over the years will give me good advice and candid opinions on what I’m doing or thinking about doing. That’s like gold!
Of course, you also want to make sure you’re prepared to participate in a group in a way that benefits others besides yourself. That’s critical.
If you’ve researched extensively and can’t find a “people helping people” group for members of your profession or functional area, you could try to start one. However, a simpler path might be to investigate whether any associations in your profession or industry offer or are open to offering such a benefit for their members. If they haven’t considered it, you could encourage them to do so.
At the very least, you could benefit if you seek out people you know who do what you do and work to establish a stronger connection with them, based on the idea that both of you could gain from a closer, more supportive relationship.
As with many things, there’s probably more than one way to the job search support goal. Find the one that works best for you.