Grace United Methodist Church’s Employment Networking Group aims to bring people in similar situations together and provide them with information to take them to their next job or step in their career.
The group was formed in early October after the church held a series of career workshops, said co-facilitator Dr. Constance Pritchard.
The meetings are held 8:30 to 10 a.m. Mondays in the church’s Asbury building. The group is free and participants don’t have to be unemployed to participate. No registration is required.
“From the perspective of Grace United Methodist, we want to serve people in our community,” she said. “It’s one way to use our skills in the community. As a group, we want to provide support for each other. Looking for a job is really emotional. It’s up and down. Just coming and being with folks in similar situations can give you a renewed outlook.”
Co-facilitator Andy Maxwell agreed, noting that the group’s participants come from varied backgrounds: unemployed, underemployed or looking for something better.
“You would be surprised at how many people are out looking for work after working for 30 years, and they’ve never been without a job,” he said. “They were committed to the company and they had planned to spend their entire career there. Now, they’re in a position where they don’t know which way to turn. Support from others is important to people who are out of work, because they never thought they would be in that situation.”
Pritchard, who has a background in career management, and Maxwell, who has a background in recruiting and networking, both bring their experiences to the group to share what they know about searching for jobs, managing careers and what employers are looking for in employees.
Each meeting begins with a short devotional and ends with prayer. During the meeting, participants get to meet and network among each other and learn about job- search topics.
“We talk about branding, getting comfortable talking about yourself and the answer to the question, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ ” said Pritchard.
Other topics have included or will include how to fill out an online application, strategies to get yourself seen and keywords to have in your résumé, how to network in the community and talk about interviewing skills.
“We also ask the group their ideas, topics they would like to discuss,” she said.
The group is ongoing and its leaders hope that participants will gain the tools they need to be successful in their job search.
“We want people to know they are not alone and there are people and resources out there who can help,” said Maxwell.