What is it?
A virtual job search support group is an accountability group that meets virtually for the purpose of job hunting. During the coronavirus pandemic, various kinds of support groups have successfully launched online using video conferencing apps like Zoom, GoToMeeting and FaceTime, eliminating the risks of face-to-face interaction during this time. Although meeting in person is preferable, there are certain unique benefits to virtual conferencing.
What are the benefits?
Members of virtual support groups save time and money by eliminating a commute, and since distance is not a factor, members are uncannily punctual! There also tends to be a more concentrated focus on the speaker due to fewer interruptions and distractions. As a speaker on a virtual conference, there is a heightened awareness to speak more clearly and succinctly since you are the focal point. Most importantly, groups maintain continuity during times like these.
Momentum is important, since it motivates members of the group to hold each other accountable in moving forward with their job search. At the same time, members can expect the same level of support, counsel and camaraderie that would be provided in-person (maybe more!). With our current need to have social distancing, being part of a virtual job search accountability group can help you keep your focus during this trying time.
How do they work?
The meeting is run by a facilitator who encourages members to shape measurable job search goals. Each week, team members submit their personal goals to the group. When the group reconvenes the following week, individual time is allotted for members to share their progress and setbacks. Participants use their individualized weekly plans to let the group know the areas where they need the most help, which helps target valuable feedback.
Members of the group can accelerate their progress by pooling together their knowledge and abilities. Members receive helpful feedback on their job search artifacts and personal brand and learn best practices from their peers. This, plus the added benefit of networking, makes a job search group more efficient and enjoyable than going at it alone.
Prior to the stay-at-home order, CRC offered an in-person Job Search Accountability Group, which consisted of a small group of serious job seekers. Starting in mid-March, the group continued to meet virtually, and realized the same benefits as outlined above.
Why now, and why you?
Everyone needs an emotional pep talk to keep motivated, especially now when many hiring managers are unavailable, and the unemployment rate continues to escalate. Even if you are not part of a formal accountability group, finding someone to be an accountability partner can be beneficial to keeping your job search on track. Staying connected is essential during these unusual times of social distancing.
- Gail Spiel, MSW, Social Worker, CRC Accountability Group Facilitator