Career Connection Issaquah welcomes job seekers

June 30, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Organizers of a local group that aims to help unemployed people network with one another during their job searches said job seekers have welcomed the group during its first weeks.Career Connection Issaquah, based out of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, brings together job seekers for every-other-Friday meetings to discuss ways to maximize their job hunting.

“I think people are making real connections,” organizer Mark Shaffer said, adding that feedback from attendees has been positive.

At a recent Career Connection gathering, members learned how to get the most out of the Web. Organizers said the event, with the topic Working the World Wide Web, was a success.

“We discussed all facets of using the Web for one’s search,” organizer Bruce Follansbee wrote in a follow-up e-mail. “We covered the various types of job boards (commercial, recruiter, corporate and altruistic or affinity i.e., government, association, professional, universities, etc.) as well as networking tools, such as LinkedIn, which generated a great deal of interest.”

About 10 people attended the first Career Connection gathering. The most recent meetup, held June 19, drew about 12 to 15 attendees.

Shaffer said most of the attendees at Career Connection meetups are Eastside residents who recently lost jobs. He said attendees come from a mixture of blue- and white-collar backgrounds. He said some of them show up with résumés for tweaking. Though organizers and attendees offer encouragement, Shaffer said the message is not sugarcoated amid the tough job market.

Organizers encourage attendees to treat job searches as they would treat actual jobs: Search for eight hours a day and take weekends off.

Career Connection meetings are scheduled through the end of August, but Shaffer said organizers are open to the possibility of continuing the program.

Career Connection was formed in March with the goal of serving as an information clearinghouse for job seekers. Organizers reached out to other Eastside churches, WorkSource Washington and Bellevue College to provide employment resources.

Shaffer said although the group provides job searching advice and resources to attendees, Career Connection is not set up specifically to link the unemployed with jobs.

“It’s a good networking opportunity, but it’s not a career fair,” he said.

If You Go

Career Connection Issaquah holds every-other-Friday lunchtime gatherings at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 325 S.E. Darst St. Career Connection gatherings begin with lunch. Call the church at 392-3215 to learn more.

Upcoming discussion topics include:

July 3

Low Cost/No Cost Recreation

Kathleen Merrill, editor of The Issaquah Press

Deborah Schneider, King County Library System programs coordinator

July 17

Recognizing Your Own Strengths

Matt Bott, Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO

July 31

Tuning Up Your Résumé

Lisa Quast, corporate executive and career coach

Aug. 14

Waging Your Networking Campaign

Aug. 28

Interviewing Well

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