Dear Alex: Should I join a job club or unemployment support group, and if so, where should I find one?
What ties people in a job club together is the need for mutual support and encouragement. People who are energized by social situations and tend to procrastinate the lonely tasks of job-hunting will likely benefit from a job club. Those who are shy, insecure, or ashamed of having lost a job can get help from other job club members in overcoming these mental roadblocks.
Job club membership can stave off the depression that sometimes sets in during a protracted job search. Not only will you feel supported in a job club, but you will probably be more successful than if you went it alone. Those who’ve been involved with job clubs report that their efforts that are strengthened by belonging to the group and their job searches are shorter. Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the classic What Color is Your Parachute? and a strong proponent of job-seeking support groups, notes an 84 percent success rate when job-search techniques are conducted in groups, compared with a 15 percent lower rate when the same techniques are followed individually.
There is a whole channel on Meetup.com devoted to unemployed support groups: . Other places are local and state employment offices, the Chamber of Commerce, local colleges and universities (especially community colleges), adult-education centers, or places of worship. You might also look into organizations that cater to specific groups.