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How to Find Community in Your Job Search

This week, we drive the dark away.1156018_burning_candles

On the calendar, we mark the longest day of the year — the Winter Solstice. Here in New England, we have only nine hours of daylight a day; in Alaska there’s an average of 5.5 hours. As a majority of us wake in the dark and eat supper in the dark, it’s instinctive to seek out opportunities to gather together.

As Susan Cooper says in this poem:


And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.

This year, many of the gatherings held during this darkest week of the year are also to grieve and honor those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT. Many friends, neighbors, and previous strangers will stand side-by-side to support one another and foster community.

Are there lessons in these holiday gatherings and candlelight vigils for your job search? I say yes; they demonstrate the power of community – a force you can make work for you throughout the year. Here’s how to create it – even if you don’t have it now.

Join a Job Club!

Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? says job clubs have an up to 84% success rate for members seeking work.  Here are three reasons why a good job club can be helpful.

    1. They raise the spirits.If you find the psychological process of looking for a job to be as challenging as applying for jobs – and many people do – job clubs can help you feel that you are not alone.  Many who join job clubs say they provide a greater sense of connection, community, and support.
    2. Networking.Think networking with others who are out-of-work or actively looking won’t be helpful? Think again. Most often, your fellow job club members will be looking for different kinds of jobs than you are. These individuals aren’t the competition; they are teammates – who can help you with the application process and refer you to opportunities they hear about that are a fit for you.
    3. They can help you keep your game up.Want to make sure you optimize your job applications and your LinkedIn profile? Job search club organizers provide programming that can help you stay on top of the latest trends and get you noticed.

Want to get started? You can find a directory of job clubs here. You can also search for “Careers & Business” groups on MeetUp.com or use these additional suggestions.

Try it out, and let us know how it works for you!

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