Free Job Helpers You May Not Know Of

The fourth quarter of the year – October through December – is historically a time for lay-offs in most major companies.  If you’ve been laid off, or if you’d like resources to help you become more promotable and less expendable to your employer, you’re in luck.  There are inexpensive or even FREE resources available in the Twin Cities.

I spoke with career coach, Cindy Edwards from Find Your Fit, to learn about ways to make you more viable in the job market.  Here are some free tips and tools she recommends:


To research companies in your field you’d like to target in your job hunt, or local staffing agencies that specialize in your field, Edwards recommends hitting the library.  There you’ll find the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Book of Lists for 2013.  It contains lists of top local companies by their industry, as well as employment staffing firms.  That way you can conduct a strategic job hunt in your field.

Edwards says the Book of Lists also lists trade and professional organizations – once again, you can pick and choose by your profession the organization best suited to your needs.  “There is a professional group for everything!”  For example, MFRALL is a trade org for Minnesota manufacturing.

If you’d like a free preview of the material, before you head over to the library to research the Book of Lists for free, check it out online at


Join the free, online networking site Linked In today.  Edwards recommends using the LinkedIn Groups feature to find local professional groups for just about every industry and field. Many groups are open groups and free to join.


For Minnesota college alum, don’t forget about your local alumni associations.  Many alumni groups have monthly networking and learning breakfasts or lunches.  For example, St. Thomas has networking breakfasts that cost a mere $10 at the door.  Ticket price includes the food and presentations about career and professional development.


If you find a professional group you’d like to join, but can’t afford the fees, keep digging.  Edwards says many professional groups also offer free Special Interest Groups or Learning Interest Groups that non-members can attend.  Plus, professional groups also may provide a discount on membership for unemployed folks.


If you’d like to attend free workshops on job search and free career coaching, check out Employment Ministry at the Basilica of St. Mary’s.  For example, Cindy Edwards is teaching a free Interview workshop on November 19th.  For more information, log on to:


And one last tip from Edwards, for those folks who need a jumpstart their networking, she suggests the Wooddale Job Transition Support Group.

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    Where I Thrift

    Everyone has their favorite thrift stores, right?  Okay, you do if you love thrifting as much as I do!  Here are the stores where I enjoy popping tags:

    Saver’s in Bloomington – close proximity to Prestigious West Bloomington and Edina equals excellent, higher end thrift scores.  Remember, if you donate?  You receive a 20% off coupon you can use right away!

    Saver’s in Columbia Heights – it’s the nearest thrift store to my house, and they have the NICEST staff of any Saver’s in the TC, in my humble opinion.

    ARC Value Village – For me, ARC is hit or miss.  I either score BIG, or leave empty-handed.  Either way, I always enjoy perusing this tidy, friendly shop.