A job search is a full-time job in its own right, and it’s easy to get bogged down. The sheer amount of resources available to aid your search are both extremely helpful and overwhelming. Thankfully, technology makes it easy to find friends and allies to assist.

Networking is a job seeker’s best friend and comes in many forms. Not every contact can get you a job, but there are thousands of people that can offer insight, new strategies and information, an extra set of eyes, or simply encouragement. If you’re looking for some extra support in your search, we cover how to find the right resource or group for you.

Know what you’re looking for

Just as it’s important to narrow down your job search to specific roles and industries, it’s important to have a clear picture of what type of support you need. Are you looking for an in-depth look at your resume or just need a friendly look over it? Do you have questions targeted toward a specific industry or are you looking for general advice? The clearer your needs are, the easier it will be to find the right resource.

It’s worth taking the time to email a group or community beforehand to get a better idea of what they can help with, writes Briefcase Coach’s Sarah Johnston. Some groups are all-purpose while many are geared toward a particular niche. A little research can help you find the right group for you.

Utilize community resources

Even if you plan to do most of your searching online, there still may be resources in your local area that can assist your search. Look into the resources you have available near you and start there.

Indeed suggests community centers and libraries are vital local organizations. The exact resources available will depend on your area, but you may be able to find local job boards, career services, or coaching available. Libraries are particularly valuable because they often have career coaching as well as reliable access to computers with internet access.

FlexJobs’ Rachel Pelta also suggests utilizing an alumni association. These groups will help any graduate no matter how long ago they graduated. Not only will they have resources to help you, but they can point you to other organizations or support groups.

“Alumni organizations help people stay connected with others they met at high school or college. Similarly, this is an excellent channel for job opportunities and networking.” –Indeed

Try something new

Once you’ve looked into local and familiar options, don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new! Part of networking is growing your network, and you’ll have to leave your comfort zone to do so.

Rachel Pelta mentions state job banks and job fairs as potential avenues worth exploring. A job bank is more than an online job board and can offer ways to learn or advance your skills or find resources specific to your needs. Meanwhile, job fairs have always been a valuable way to make connections, but now can be done virtually. A virtual fair means you can cut some of the stress associated with going to a big event and focus on the job opportunities and networking opportunities.

Join a group

If you want something more ongoing than the above options, consider joining a job search group online. Just as having good coworkers can make work better, having allies in your job search can make the process more positive.

Both in-person and online job search groups are available, with many more virtual groups forming after the pandemic. Career coach Bob McIntosh said that the switch to virtual job groups has vastly increased attendance thanks to ease of access and allows job seekers to share their screens with one another.

Make sure you can find the right group for your needs. McIntosh says there is a difference between networking groups and job search groups. Sarah Johnston says to make sure your group is well-organized and goal-focused.

You can find many of these groups on LinkedIn. FlexJobs’ Jennifer Parris compiled an excellent list of some of the best job search groups on LinkedIn, which you can find here.

Wrap up

Whether you need a few questions answered or you’re looking to develop new relationships, there are plenty of online resources available to help your job search. Joining a job search group can be particularly rewarding, and you might make lifelong friends along the way. Whatever your needs are, there is support out there, and you don’t need to tackle your job search alone!

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