Good signs on the employment front for 2012

Over the last few months I’ve made presentations at area job seekers groups and corporate outplacement companies to nearly 1,000 people in transition. The bad news is that there were nearly 1,000 people at the presentations (this is one of those situations where I would have welcomed a smaller audience!).

The good news is that virtually all of the leaders/directors of these groups and the employees at the outplacement firms report that people are landing new positions in nearly half of the time that it was taking just a year ago.

Over the last twelve months, our company has co-sponsored a networking event with a local restaurant. The average number of attendees has remained somewhat the same, but that is because many who have landed new jobs come back to help those still in transition, they’re “paying it forward.”

I’ve heard the following statement dozens of times from people who find new employment after being in transition for a few months (or more): “I never realized how difficult it would be to find a new job after being laid off and I want to keep coming back to this job seekers/networking group and help those who are still here.” Kudos to those folks, they “get it.”

College graduates learn, over time, how valuable it can be to network with alumni within their industry or geography. Often, no matter how long it’s been since a person has graduated, reaching out to someone from your alma mater results in a quick return call/email. Job seekers are learning that there is also a growing number of “transition alumni” out there (and now employed) who are committed to providing them assistance (i.e., informational interviews, networking meetings, connections to decision makers within their companies, etc.).

Although more job seekers groups are doing some record keeping regarding their alumni, there is room for improvement. This is another case where you never want to assume. Ask the staff at the corporate outplacement firm you are using/used or the directors of the job seekers group(s) you attend if they can provide you with contact information for their respective “alumni." Never pass up an opportunity to make a good networking contact! And, remember – these folks have walked in your shoes and felt your pain. They’ll be more willing to help you than someone who has never been through a forced job transition.

Here are some tips for using job seekers groups to your advantage:

  • If you have not yet attended a meeting of a local job club/job seekers group – do so, as it is well worth the time (of course, remember that you’ll only get out of these groups what you put into the effort).
  • If you are attending job club meetings or networking events – invest the time to do some meaningful networking with the others in attendance, the group’s director(s) and the invited speakers.
  • If you have “graduated” from the job club circuit as a result of landing a new job – please consider returning to the group every so often to provide assistance to those still in transition and “pay it forward.”
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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:02 AM, 02.07.2012