Job Network for Professionals Offers Peer Support

In addition to devoting sufficient time to finding work, successful job seekers know that peer support and networking is also essential. That’s where the East Bay Professional Experience Network (East Bay PEN) fills a critical gap. East Bay PEN is a volunteer-run association designed for managerial, high tech, and business professionals seeking employment. Members represent a wide range of fields including education, engineering, healthcare, IT, legal, media, and transportation. Hosted by the downtown Oakland one-stop Career Center, East Bay PEN provides a no-cost, peer-based opportunity for members to update their job search skills and share job leads in a supportive environment. It’s also a resource for employers seeking highly skilled candidates. “For those of us in transition – either unemployed or underemployed – we typically begin searching for a position that’s similar to the one we recently separated from, only to discover that we have to redefine our career path or even redefine who we are,” said Lorenzo Blades, president of East Bay PEN. “We often find that job titles have changed since the last time we looked for work, and job descriptions are worded more technically.” Through a variety of services and resources, East Bay PEN helps members return to the workforce. Members take workshops on career transition and job search strategies, resumes and cover letters, and interviewing and salary negotiation. Other member resources include success teams and guest speakers. Success teams provide peer support for developing action plans, identifying transferable skills, and sharing networking opportunities. Guest speakers regularly visit the group to provide inspiration and advice on topics including hiring practices and self-marketing. “We don’t just help people update their resume or prepare for an interview,” said Blades. “We also provide motivation, and we build confidence in every member.” To learn more about East Bay PEN, visit http://eastbaypen.org, call (510) 768-4497, or attend an orientation. Orientations are held Thursdays, 1:30-3 p.m. at 1212 Broadway, Suite 200, in Oakland. No advance registration is needed.
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