For well over a year now, I have been involved in a job club: the PSG of Mercer County. One of a dozen such job clubs available in the state of New Jersey, the Professional Service Groups of NJ are a program of the NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Organized at the county level, PSGs are a self-managing group of professionals in transition helping one another land their next opportunities. This mission is achieved through training, support, networking and each member’s native talents.
It’s been my privilege during the span of my involvement with the PSG of Mercer County to witness dozens of my friends and fellow PSG members land positions. And not just any positions: opportunities in alignment with their expertise and professional objectives. When another member does land, he or she gives a brief discussion about what did or didn’t work for them in bringing their job search to an end.
Without fail, each of the elements listed above–training, support and networking–are cited as the value added by their involvement with PSG. Don’t just take my word for it: I invite you to examine the testimonials of successful job seekers who can speak to the efficacy of PSG.
Not too long ago, my friend Donna Svei wrote a blog entry extolling the benefits of job clubs, including some very interesting metrics, especially the first item: up to quadrupling the speed with which some job seekers can end their search process.
But I would like to offer a few oft-missed benefit of job clubs that I have found true of my experience with the PSG of Mercer County:
- Opportunities to exercise professional skills and to develop new, marketable skills
- Maintain awareness of emerging job search best practices
- Mindset management to remain positive and focused in job search
Each of these are important but I particularly want to discuss the last. As of the end of June, a staggering 45.5% of unemployment persons have been in search of their next positions for 27+ weeks.
Maintaining a positive focus for longer-term employees in transition can be exceptionally challenging but it is crucial in demonstrating the kind of confidence a hiring manager wants to see in a candidate. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I encounter job seekers who struggle with managing their mindsets.
Job clubs can be the answer.