Employment Support Group of Norton Prepares Locals for Job Search
Group helps with interviewing skills, resume preparation and more.
If you are unemployed or even just interested in improving your job search and networking skills while meeting some nice people, check out the Employment Support Group of Norton on Tuesday mornings from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Trinitarian Congregational Church.
It is an open group, so participants can come and go as they please. Bill Lippincott leads the group, with help from Barbara Martin and Anne Crawford.
Lippincott, who has 28 years experience as a hiring manager, is a self-employed professional specializing in the small business community and links that association to his advocacy for those who are out of work and attend this group. He leads these meetings that are a missionary outreach to the community by Trinitarian Congregational Church. Lippincott has led them since December 2008 when the group was restarted by the church at his suggestion and volunteering to facilitate it.
Martin, a full-time realtor with past experience that includes helping college students with resumes and cover letters, focuses on assisting group attendees with their resumes. “As independent contractors, we [Martin and Crawford] need to network for leads just like those who come to the meetings,” Martin said.
Crawford is self-employed as a life coach specializing in career transitions, and she coaches participants and assists with goal setting, how to stay focused, personal adjustments such as relationships at home, stress and self-esteem.
“Barbara, Anne and I serve as facilitators, preachers and good friends,” Lippincott said. This group also helps anyone from the community with practicing interview skills, encouraging networking and offering opportunities to network in a setting where the only requirements for attending are that you advocate for the group and for each person in attendance and maintain confidentiality of what’s discussed within the group.
Barbara McKee, a business analyst who has been unemployed for 14 months after spending 26 years with her former employer, was laid off due to restructuring. “Unemployment is a new experience for me,” she said. To cope with this experience, McKee takes advantage of the classes and resources that are available through area Career Centers and through attending this group. She has participated in the group since April. “I struggle with interviewing, so I find that the interviewing practices and feedback helps. It is also beneficial to learn from other people’s experiences and responses.”
Doug Arnold, a graphic artist, thought that he would end up retiring from the company he worked at for almost 13 years, but he was laid off in October 2009.
“I’ve been attending faithfully for one month now. I would recommend this group to anyone out of work looking for support,” Arnold said. “It is a wonderful bunch of local people. The group helps by offering a truly safe place to do mock interviews, get constructive feedback on resumes, and being a place where people who do care are there to share.”
Arnold helps several area community organizations with their websites on a voluntary basis and finds this service to others helpful to his dealing with his own unemployment.
Several people, including Tom Beauchene, agree. “It is good to know you’re not alone,” he said. “In my mind, the only reason not to go to this group meeting is if you have another meeting/interview that is compelling and can lead to a job.”
Since being restarted, the group has had approximately 110 people with unemployment periods, ranging from two weeks to two years, who’ve attended. The group has been held faithfully every Tuesday; Lippincott says it will keep going as long as people keep attending.