Off-line Job Seeker Networks Are Growing

I have written a lot about using staffing software in conjunction with internet-based job networks, both formal (like Monster and and informal (like LinkedIn and Facebook).

But what about non-virtual job seeker networks? Are they worth the time of a staffing professional?

I’ll give you my answer by telling you the story of one such network in the Twin Cities.

In 1987, five members of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., decided to start a job networking group. They were professionals in a time of career transition, so they knew that nothing could replace the value of real-life contacts that could connect them with other real-life contacts. They also knew that going through the job transition and job search journey was better done with friends than alone.

Networks have a way of expanding themselves, so five people soon became 50, then 100, then 200. Today, around 175 people meet weekly over lunchtime for a “rapid-action networking experience.” A support group with speakers from businesses and employment centers meets every Monday night as well, and other churches in the Twin Cities, inspired by the example of St. Andrew’s, have started their own employment-centered ministries. Finally – and this is the really important part – the group circulates job opportunities during every lunchtime meeting. If a prospective employer – or a staffing professional – wants a job circulated, all they have to do is email or fax a job description with contact information.

So should staffing professionals send jobs to an informal organization like St. Andrew’s Lutheran Job Transition Group?

Can you think of a reason why they shouldn’t?

A little more digging on my part – assisted by helpful links on the St. Andrew’s Job Transitions site – turned up over 50 other job networking organizations in the Twin Cities. That’s a lot of local professionals within easy reach.

Follow this blog for more information on staffing resources and other employment-related topics.

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