Tipping Point: Job seekers network, find support at group meetup - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Tipping Point: Job seekers network, find support at group meetups

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On a recent Monday morning, while thousands of Chicagoans headed to work, seven Chicagoans who are unemployed met at a public library, to help each other find some work.

The meeting is called an "accountability group," where participants describe how what they did over the previous week, in search of a new job. Meetings like these are held all over the Chicago area, sponsored by the non-profit Executive Network Group of Greater Chicago.

"It keeps most people very honest and they don't want to come to the group and say, ‘hey, what'd you do last week? Well, not much!'" Food Sales Executive Howard Hammersley says of the meetings.

The meeting begins with a new member, Margaret Norman, describing her contacts with a potential employer, and her efforts to improve her linked in profile.

Hammersley tells the group about the four interviews he had over the previous week and how he's always trying to stay positive.

"Giving to others makes you feel better about your whole job search, and in return, you get a lot of information on what's going on in the market place, you learn a lot of stuff you would never learn if you were sitting at your desk," Hammersley says.

Everybody here agrees that the internet has dramatically changed the way that people look for jobs, but they also agree that there's no substitute for face-to-face networking at meetings like these.

"The theory is that 80 percent of your jobs you find through networking," Senior Financial Executive Wayne Brekke explains. "So, at the end of every week, what I tend to do is look at where I spent my time. Am I spending my time networking, or am I spending my time wasting time on the internet?"

Aside from describing how they've spent the last week, members here also share their little known secrets for job hunting, like why they avoid Starbucks stores when meeting for a first, informal interview.

"Well it's too loud," Brekke says. "You can't carry a conversation on, because when the latte machine starts, it sounds like a jet engine, taking off."

And the group's leader has this tip for unemployed executives: "Doing it part-time or halfway isn't going to land you the job you are looking for," Financial Analyst Irene Jacobsohn says.

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