There is no question that networking can—and should—play an important part in one’s job search strategy. But in our work with individuals who are engaged in a job search, how much networking is enough?
The key to networking is being focused. Let me explain. Many individuals simply talk to friends or “network” with anything that breathes—but not with purpose. A job search support group can provide just this solution. It can provide the education, emotional support and accountability that job seekers need to be successful. Such groups, if organized and managed effectively, can help lead a person to that perfect opportunity.
I’m seeing many of these groups starting to pop-up from coast to coast. Some are basic, home-grown meetings, while others are dynamically structured organizations. What they do have in common is their core mission—to help those in transition find suitable employment.
I’d like to highlight one that has really made an impact in this regard. The Scioto Ridge Job Networking Group (SRJNG) in Columbus, Ohio leverages the effective combination of a repeatable business model with the energy of talented people in transition to keep the group growing and delivering for the central Ohio community. It was “birthed” from a vision of a single person, Ken Lazar, who, with the support of Pastor Wade Giffin, launched the Job Networking Group at the Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church in 2006. As membership grew steadily from 8 initial members to more than 1000 members today, the mission of the SRJNG has remained steadfast: to help mid-career professionals find good jobs.
The key to the group’s success is a laser focus on effective networking and a shared belief that each member of the SRJNG has the responsibility to assist other members in their job search. That focus has resulted in celebrating “job landings” at each meeting over the last three years.
Some other key points:
- SRJNG is a faith-based organization, ministering to the local community.
- Each chapter meeting of SRJNG is hosted by a local church.
- SRJNG will soon have 8 chapters, each meeting bi-monthly—all in the metro Columbus area.
- Each meeting is purposefully structured and includes networking, a guest speaker and break out groups where each person can share, learn and practice in a safe environment.
- Currently there are over 1,000 individuals with paid memberships.
- Another “level” of membership is Sponsors who help subsidize the organization and provide additional resources. Sponsors are Corporate Human Resources, Professional Staffing Agencies, Career Coaches, Life Coaches, Benefit Providers and more.
- SRJNG features an interactive web site with job postings, job search tools, an event calendar featuring all metro area networking events, member resumes, sponsor profiles and links to additional job search resources.
Since this group meets in a church setting, it lends itself to a different spin than most networking or support groups. Participants are willing to share more from a personal and holistic perspective. After all, the career is only part of a person’s life! Effective business networking is often sparked by a casual conversation about a common interest or acquaintance.
In this day and age, job seeker’s support groups, in their various forms, are found in many communities at many levels. They meet at libraries, career centers and even at churches—and they can work! Our knowledge of what local groups are available or even being involved with is another way to give your clients a resource to help them in their search. Being able to assist your clients to zero in on a job seekers’ group in their area that fits their specific needs compliments the guidance and resources that you continue to provide for them. But remember, job seeker groups are only one part of the big picture of networking
As a nationally Credentialed Career Manager, Coach Kevin Tucker has been partnering with individuals like you for the last 25 years. Through the military, as a minister, a human resources executive, and finally as a career and life transition coach; he has continually been able to help motivated individuals find their calling in life! Check out more at www.CoachKevinTucker.com.