How to Start a Job Club

Every great club has a name to define its mission. Your Job Club is no different. The name should reflect your collective personalities and goals. You might opt for something fun: the Determined Divas of Dallas; the Fearless, Fabulous Fargo All-Stars; Main Streets Future MVPs, or something more serious, such as Positive Professionals of Phoenix; Winnetka's Winning Workplace Group.

Materials to bring:

Each member should maintain a dedicated notebook of the activities of the Job Club. Bring this notebook and a pen to each meeting to record assignments and ideas/leads provided by other participants. This is also the place to document daily tasks and successes to share at the next meeting. In addition to the notebook, always carry a copy of your resume and business cards.

Member promise:

At your first meeting, establish an understanding of the expectations of each participant. You may consider asking each of your Career Club members to promise to abide by the following: If a member shares something that he or she wishes to remain confidential, the others will not repeat it outside the meeting. Each member will be diligent in preparing for meetings and will be honest about his or her progress. Each member will work toward the success of the whole group. The idea is to put everyone at ease so they're candid as opposed to guarded within the group.

"No complaining" rule:

Since job searching can be awfully frustrating, it's easy to spend an hour complaining about the rude people who don't return your calls and any number of other things. Before you know it, the meeting is over and nothing's been accomplished. While it's great to get things off your chest, you must put a limit on the amount of venting. Go around the room and give each person just 30 seconds to share a specific frustration and then agree to move on to more productive conversation. Sometimes a frustration might lead to a more serious discussion, so be sure to steer it in that direction.

Invite guests and experts:

After the first couple of meetings, you can decide on special guests to invite to join you at future meetings. In such cases, plan to extend the meeting time from one hour to 90 minutes or even two hours, depending on the guest.

Potential guests may include a business reporter at your local newspaper who can talk to you off the record about the local economy; resume writers and career coaches who often welcome the chance to speak to small groups to share their expertise; a college professor who is knowledgeable about the current economy; an author who has written about career issues; the HR manager at a company in your area; a representative of a placement agencies or headhunter.

Have fun:

Even though these meetings aren't about drinking and dancing, you can inject some pleasure. Business. Job Clubs are designed to be positive and reassuring forums, which means smiles and laughter are most definitely welcome. Members should have the opportunity to get to know one another for the purposes of building trust, which comes when each person lets his or her hair down just a bit.

Track your progress:

At each meeting, attendees will be required to share a specific accomplishment from the previous week. The club captain should keep track of these accomplishments, since over time it'll be smart to reflect on how much progress has been made.

Contact local media about your club:

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