JobSeekers

Jobseekers meets every Tuesday 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Church.

Purpose

JobSeekers is an instruction and support group for people who are unemployed or changing careers. Professionally-trained volunteer coordinators and volunteer speakers provide answers to questions concerning the job search. This interaction is advantageous to participants who can discuss their own needs face-to-face with experts. The atmosphere is friendly and supportive - one where participants can explore employment and career possibilities with guidance from coordinators trained to help people sharpen their job-seeking skills.

Format of Meetings

The format alternates between topical workshops by volunteer leaders one week and open discussion and support group the next.

Workshop Topics

On alternate Tuesdays, experts make presentations and lead workshops on such subjects as:

  • job hunting strategies
  • using marketing and sales techniques
  • career planning
  • identifying accomplishments
  • changing careers
  • resumes and cover letters
  • roles of search firms, placement agencies, and job counselors
  • finding job opportunities
  • using the Internet
  • information interviews
  • interviewing skills
  • managing finances and emotions while unemployed
  • salaries and benefits
  • getting, negotiating and evaluating job offers
  • selecting the right job and keeping it

Networking

On in-between weeks, there is open discussion of the topics raised by participants. This is also the opportunity to help each other and to provide leads and advice within the group. A great deal of networking takes place at all times.

Support Group

The support that members give one another is of great value. Listening carefully to one another, participants ask questions that are both sensitive and insightful. Members rediscover their own value through helping others achieve their goals.

Being out of work can be very lonesome. You no longer have a boss, colleagues and possibly subordinates to help you function. It is encouraging, therefore, to work together with other people who are also unemployed during the process of getting jobs or changing careers.

JobSeekers holds workshops about handling emotional difficulties during unemployment. It does not, however, provide psychological counseling but, when appropriate, does make referrals to appropriate agencies.

Confidentiality

Participants are free to express their concerns at JobSeekers because confidentiality is respected by all. To protect everyone’s privacy, members are asked to refrain from discussing each others’ situations outside of meetings.

Participants

JobSeekers members have a wide variety of backgrounds: men and women, all age groups, most occupations, and many different socio-economic levels. Most members are out of work, many are hurting. Some are new to the job world or are re-entering it. Still others are seeking to change their careers.

JobSeekers also encourages spouses and partners to attend meetings so they can help the job seekers cope with the stresses. This provides the opportunity for the other persons to understand the job-seeking process and thereby can be a positive force in the situation. By being involved, they become both more effective in helping (or not helping) and learn what it is like to be out of work.

Cost

There is no charge to participate. JobSeekers is open to everyone who is - or expects to be - out of work, changing careers or entering or re-entering the job market. JobSeekers is sponsored by Trinity Church as a public service. There is no need to register, for this group all are welcome.

Statistics

Most participants come from a radius of 25 miles. Some people travel as far as 75 miles from such places as New York City, northern New Jersey, the Jersey Shore, Philadelphia, and eastern Pennsylvania.

Since its founding, JobSeekers has provided job counseling and support group services to over 5,000 unemployed people. The number of people at the meetings normally ranges from 10 to 30, although during several months during the recession of 1991, attendance rose to some 65 people per week. Cumulative attendance over the years numbers about 25,000.

Background

JobSeekers was founded at the onset of a severe economic recession in October, 1982 as a service to the entire region. It is the oldest continuing volunteer-run job club in the country, according to careerjournal.com. It has met every week since it began, except when Christmas and New Year's Eves or Days fell on a Tuesday. With mergers, corporate takeovers, downsizing, and job losses still occurring, there is ample reason to continue the group.

JobSeekers has received wide publicity in newspapers throughout New Jersey, in New York City, and nationally in the Wall Street Journal's careerjournal.com, as well as on television and radio. The State of New Jersey's Employment Service refers people. It has been instrumental in helping to found many similar groups in other parts of the state.