Launching an effective job search requires a lot of careful planning. With the plethora of information and myriad ways to pursue opportunities, it can be a daunting experience. Besides the obvious use of networking and applying for jobs both online and to directly to hiring companies you can and should join a business or networking group related to your area of interest.
These groups might be directly related to the business you work in or want to work in; they could be Special Interest Groups (SIGs) around a particular area of technology; around a non-professional interest such as sports, biking or mountain climbing; you could join an investing club; you could join a fraternal organization such as “The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes” or “The International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons;” or they might just be a bunch of people that meet up twice a month to discuss politics. No matter that the reason, these groups are a great opportunity to gain and leverage contacts.
Generally, these types of groups meet regularly and participate in various conferences. When job hunting, participating in a one or more of these associations can help you in a number of ways:
- Forming connections with people that have similar interests. One of the things that help bring people together is the sharing of common interests. These groups form to allow people to engage in an open forum. Oftentimes people take turns sharing ideas, and speaking about relevant industry topics. There are different types of associations: small business associations, business associations, trade associations, and management associations. Do the research to identify those that would be most applicable to you and your job search.
- Learning about how others obtained positions. An interesting aspect of meeting on a regular basis is that people will share their tactics for effective job search and resources, like other programs and affiliations that can help you. A great benefit to meeting on a regular basis is that you come to understand others’ perspectives – something that can be invaluable when looking for opportunities. Finally, a great benefit is that meeting with people in a business setting will help keep you focused and motivated to achieve your goals.
- Fostering camaraderie and friendships. New friendships are often formed when getting together regularly. And, as I have mentioned before – people like to do business with their friends. Not only might you make a new friend, but also you can gain exposure to your new friend’s network, which can help with the job search. All new interactions are an opportunity to learn and grow.
Another important aspect of joining an industry association or group is that it helps keep you updated regarding industry happenings and regulations. A critical aspect to any good job search is to remain engaged. Participating in regular meetings with people from varied backgrounds is a wonderful way to augment your job search. You never know who you might meet or how you can help someone else.
Comments and feedback are requested and desired; and you are welcome and encouraged to submit questions to thecareerdoctor.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and Chief Career Strategist of ResumesDoneWrite, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.