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Dallas Morning News 3/15/09

Networking groups improve odds - Dallas Morning News 3/15/09

It's a cutthroat world out there, right? Dog eat dog? Every man for himself?


Why then are growing legions of jobless folks meeting regularly to help each other in networking groups all over North Texas? Is it merely a case of misery loves company?


Actually, it's a pretty simple equation: The more people in your network, experts say, the better the chances that you'll find a job.

"When you help others and they help you, we can be pretty powerful," says Don Brock, who teaches a newcomers class every Tuesday at Career Connection, a nonprofit job networking organization. "If you maintain and develop that process, it will help you."


Career Connection bills itself as the largest and oldest networking and career counseling organization in the Dallas area. It started in 1992, and its director, Lisa Miller, has been with the group from the beginning.


The number of people attending newcomer classes has been growing in leaps and bounds lately - averaging close to 100. During the general sessions that follow those meetings, hundreds of job seekers, mostly white-collar professionals, come together to exchange job leads.


There are also workshops on resumes and job interviews, including how to do the personal "30-second commercial" or elevator pitch.


"Write down what you do," says Brock, "write it down again and again. And then practice and practice."


Career Connection (www.careerconnection .org) is one of numerous area job networking and counseling organizations. Many are based at churches, though that does not necessarily mean they are religiously affiliated. Churches allow them to use space for little or no cost. Career Connection lists other job networking and support groups on its Web site.


You can also visit the Web site to get an extensive list of groups that provide job search and career support, as well as job-hunting tips.