New graduates who left school while still looking for their first job can continue the job search from home with help from their career services office through a virtual job-search group. By setting up a virtual job-search group for new graduates, career services professionals can deliver information and guidance to new grads and give new graduates the chance to share ideas and support each other in the job search.
Career services professionals can consider housing their virtual job-search group on a platform that not only supports virtual meetings but also provides for screen sharing and break-out groups—which can be used to cover such basic topics as writing resumes and cover letters as well as offer interview prep and networking practice.
Building rapport among the participants is key to the success of a virtual job-search group. Job seekers find value in knowing they aren’t the only ones looking for a job and sharing their experiences in the job market and with potential employers.
Here are some suggestions for organizing a virtual job-search group work:
- Plan to meet once a week for an hour or 90 minutes and include only 10 participants in a group.
- Canvass participants on which topics they want to cover and prepare a schedule that fits those needs. Ask participants to email their top two or three questions to the workshop leader.
- At the first session, make introductions, talk through the questions submitted, and ask everyone to share a goal they hope to achieve before the next meeting. Then, ask the group to choose the topic they want to focus on at the each meeting.
A general agenda for following meetings can include:
- First 5 minutes: Everyone shares an update on their goal (and it’s okay to say the goal wasn’t met).
- 5-10 minutes: The career services professional fields questions, including problems participants have encountered with job postings, following up with contacts, something that happened during an interview, and more.
- 40-45 minutes: Focus on the topic of the week. Get group discussion going and if needed, funnel students into breakout rooms where they can discuss practice the answers to interview questions, review each other’s resumes and cover letters, or polish their networking skills.
- Final 5 minutes: Everyone shares a goal for the next week and the next topic is chosen.