Fresh take on an old problem

New ideas for job hunters.

By: Melinda Sherwood
   Job hunters are always looking for new ways to market their skills and build a strong network of contacts in the business community. Here are two fresh strategies for accomplishing both:
Group ‘therapy’
Even in job hunting, there is power in numbers, according to one consultant.
   Judith Lindenberger, a human resources consultant and founder of the Lindenberger Group in Titusville, recently introduced group career coaching sessions, a five-week program that begins on March 24.
   "Until now we have offered career coaching on an individual basis," said Ms. Lindenberger, a former human resources director at Brown-Forman Corporation in Louisville, Ky. "Group career coaching is a less expensive alternative and has the added advantage of a built-in support and networking group."
   The idea for the group session developed last April when, after teaching a class at a Mercer County Community College, Ms. Lindenberger was approached by two unemployed students who wanted help with their resumes, networking and interviewing skills. The catch — they were broke.
   But, they said, they would "barter" services, and Ms. Lindenberger agreed.
   Those clients have since found meaningful work.
   There are some advantages to teaming up with other job seekers, said Ms. Lindenberger. "In a group, you’re not just hearing my expertise and advice, you’re hearing other people’s and it opens up the possibility of all types of networking," she said. "It became a group of people that really cared about the success and the outcome in the group."
   The group career counseling session costs $500. For more information, contact the Lindenberger Group at (609) 730-1049, [email protected] or
Professional ‘self-help’
Call it a co-op for job seekers; a personnel service for professionals.
   Professional Service Group, an employment service run through the New Jersey Department of Labor, is a dynamic placement service and self-help organization that pools the talents of professionals looking for stimulating work.
   "Essentially we’re a group of professionals helping each other find jobs," said Bob Buccari, the unofficial spokesperson of the New Brunswick office of PSG — unofficial because everyone at PSG is pitching in to do their part to keep the office running, volunteering in public relations, IT management, or other areas, until they find more permanent employment.
   In return for the volunteer work, PSG members have access to office space, PCs, photocopiers and fax machines, as well as tutorials on resume writing, networking, interviewing techniques and Internet job searching.
   The service is free, but members must go through a five-day training class and provide at least four hours a week of volunteer work.
   But the commitment is minimal when compared to the returns, says John Costello, an IT worker from Piscataway who was unemployed for 14 months before he found help at PSG.
   "I actually did get a job while I was at PSG," he said. "I got help from people on how to structure the resume, write cover letters and I got a practice interview, which was wonderful experience for me. When I got to the regular interview a few days later I was as calm as could be."
   There are 11 PSG offices in the state. To contact the Trenton office, call (609) 278-7168; for the New Brunswick office, call (732) 418-3304.
   There are also offices in Cherry Hill, Dover, Hackensack, Neptune, Phillipsburg, Pleasantville, Westampton, West Caldwell and Vineland. For more information, visit