Should You Attend Workshops When You’re Unemployed?

You’re looking for a job.  You came to an agency to get some help and they suggested that you attend some workshops.  You’re feeling a little frustrated because you don’t want to waste time in workshops; you just need a job.  What should you do?  While your feelings about employment workshops are understandable, you may not be seeing the whole picture.  It’s true that you will probably not be offered a position at the workshop, however there is still a good chance that employment workshops will lead you to a job.  Take a look at some of the benefits of employment workshops and consider using them as a part of your job search strategy:

You may get some useful information.  Yes, you’ve spent a lot of time developing your resume and of course you have your own system for job searching, but no matter how knowledgeable you are, you can always learn something new.  Be open minded and listen to what the facilitators and the other participants have to say.  Even if you come away from the workshop with one piece of useful information, it is worth your time.

It is an opportunity to make connections.  Once you get yourself out of the house, you are suddenly in the position to make connections.  You never know who you might meet at these workshops.  For example, the facilitator of the workshop may be aware of a position that would be a great match for your skills, or another participant in the workshop may get hired with an employer who is also hiring for a lot of other jobs.  Be sure to look and act professionally and make an effort to connect with everyone that you meet.

It helps you maintain your motivation.  When your job search consists of sitting in front of your computer in your pajamas, it can be easy to lose your focus.  After weeks of no response, it is understandable that your activity level may start to wane.  Attending workshops allows you to be productive even if you aren’t yet getting calls from employers.  Just staying busy can sustain you through the difficult days so that you are ready and waiting when opportunity knocks. 

It keeps you connected.  When you’re not working, it is easy to lose touch  However, by attending workshops, you keep yourself sharp.  In an interview, employers are impressed when you use buzzwords and show that your knowledge is current.  You can learn about current trends by attending workshops and by making connections in your industry.

It shows that you are trying.  Some people assume that if you haven’t found a job, it’s because you’re not trying very hard.  When you attend workshops, it shows that at least you are making an effort.  While as a job seeker, you usually just have to answer to yourself, the odd time you may have to convince a family member, a potential employer, or a caseworker from EI that you are genuinely trying.  You will be able to make a more convincing case when you tell them about the workshops that you have attended.

When you’re desperate to find a job, that last thing that you want is an invitation to attend a workshop.  However, don’t be too quick to dismiss it.  Sometimes you can find the best opportunities in the most unlikely of places.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)


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