Frequently Asked Questions
about The CT Groups
For Members and Employers
- What will this cost me?
By policy we do not charge or solicit donations for services or support.
The words "no cost" indicates The CT Groups does not charge a member or participating business for services from The CT Groups. Joining or participating in our meetings is free to our members and there is no cost to join. Members are expected to abide by our Acceptable Use & Membership Agreement Policy that sets the way we work together, stay focused on job search and avoid side issues that distract our focus. Members receive an electronic copy of this document upon joining and may elect to leave if they do not able or are unwilling to abide by the Policy.
For established companies, we do not charge for the ability to post opportunities within our network but do place different requirements on such groups to help protect the companies and the privacy of our network for our members. More is provided on this later.
What equipment must I own or have access to, and what about those costs?
Here are the details:
Costs for the equipment you may use (PC's, tablets, cell phones, Cell Phone Service provider and/or Internet Service provider access, electricity, etc.) are personal costs. Our web based resources are free through Yahoo! and Google! while select expenses are paid by our Founder. The CT Groups will not bill you for access into our on-line resources. Being a part of our Internet based e-mail groups does provide a clear advantage in your job search IT IS NOT a requirement for membership.
For those without such equipment most Public Libraries have personal computers available for use at no cost. See your local library for equipment availability, hours and rules/policies for use.
There is no gimmick ... it is free.
Career Transition was once a simple process but has become a very complex and changing process. Some displaced employees are offered "outplacement support" for a few weeks while most do not have any support. We help those seeking employment no matter why you are no longer working or why you want or need to be working. Having a pool of well prepared job seekers who understand the process and have the needed skills makes our community very attractive for new businesses to open in and expand in Memphis which contributes to making the Memphis tri-state area a higher quality place to live and work.
We are an all volunteer organization of over 60 experienced professionals who have either (a) been through multiple transitions ourselves, (b) worked professionally to place people, (c) worked professionally to help people after being separated from their job, (d) worked in government helping people who were going through a career transition, and/or (e) worked in Human Resources at various levels.
We do not receive any funding from any source: nothing from any government, nothing from private trusts, nothing from charities, nothing from corporations, nothing from endowments or any other source. People undergoing a career transition often feel abandoned and isolated and thus need some place to obtain the support and guidance to find that next job. It is that simple.
The first groups began in 1988. In 2003 the independent groups were brought into a
network to open new opportunities and capabilities for our members and our Moderators for job search.
From February 2003 to March 2015 we have received over 6,700 individual members. No records were kept of the believed many thousands from 1988 to January 2003.
- Can I attend a meeting or Orientation about The CT Groups without joining?
Attending a Meeting
You are welcome to attend any meeting of The CT Groups meetings. Simply arrive at the location identified at the date/time and sit where you prefer. A sheet to provide your name, e-mail address, phone number and job interests may be passed around for new members. If you simply want to visit simply pass the sheet to the next person. If you find value you may ask for membership while you are still at the meeting or join at the next meeting.
There is no limit to the number of groups you may attend without being a member. There is a distinct advantage to being a member from access our private networks to information that is shared and questions asked and answered in those networks.
- Attending Orientation
Our Orientation provides a one hour presentation conducted by one of our Moderators on what The CT Groups are and what you will experience as a member and during transition. While this is typically for members there is nothing to exclude non-Members. The job search process changes, most recently in 2008, as business factors change and so what we promote will change to some degree. This is a high level presentation as the experience will be different for each person depending on the demand for their skills, the commitment they make to their job search, the quality of materials they create, their involvement and regular attendance at meetings, and the energy plus time they put into finding their next job.
This web site, TheCTGroups.org, is our Main Information Center for The CT Groups and each participating Group.
Here are the four to help you decide which groups to consider.
Our Calendar tab displays the normally scheduled meeting dates and times for all groups in
a convenient calendar layout. Clicking on any listed group on the Calendar will display
Our Documents tab is home to The CT Groups Roster which is the last document in the table. You may view it from our web site or download it. The effective date is printed in the lower right of each page. All hyperlinks are active to provide you with additional information when on-line to the Group's subpage. This document is updated from time-to-time as warranted.
Within our Information Hub tab is the Group Information subpage which provides links to each subpage for each of the groups within The CT Groups. Within subpage you will find detailed information about each group, often including a picture and clickable map link, along with contact information and date/time. They are also listed on the Group Information subpage.
Become a Member provides information on the process of joining The CT Groups. The organization can be as big as you may need it or as small and personal as you may like.
While we encourage members to join and attend multiple groups there is requirements
for you to do so. There are advantages in attending multiple groups which can include
broadening your networking base, being exposed to more ideas and information in less
time, and getting more ideas from different voices who have been there, done that.
WHAT TO DO - WHERE TO GO - WHEN TO GO?
Step 1: Look at your Calendar and find a date and time when the next meeting is you could
attend. Each of the groups is listed under Group Information and includes detailed
information including a map of their location.
Step 2: Get there on-time. Arriving 10-15 minutes early can allow you a chance to meet
some of the members by introducing yourself and becoming comfortable with the
HOW SHOULD I DRESS - WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
When you come to a meeting, dress for an office environment or business casual. You should be prepared to take notes. When you have business cards prepared, bring them to facilitate your networking effort at each group you attend.
- Can companies and recruiters join to promote their open opportunities?
Yes, but in a different manner than a member.
To avoid conflict with and/or between Recruiters and Companies we can offer to
representatives of those organizations who are established organizations access to
out Memphis-CT network which is used for job sharing. The CT Groups will disable e-mail from flowing back to these organizations to (a) minimize the unwanted e-mail traffic from us and (b) avoid issues of inappropriate use of information provided. This also helps to protect the privacy of our members.
We strongly recommend Recruiters and Companies create a special e-mail account for those posting positions with The CT Groups so that e-mail is OUTBOUND only. This prevents those who may try to use this address as a "back door" for submissions creating problems for tracking and compliance. This special e-mail account can then be used by multiple authorized users to protect identities within the organization. The organization could also quickly change the e-mail account password when and as needed for that pool of authorized users.
Postings that are text based work better for most members. We recommend responses be directed to a web site for entry or to an e-mail address. Some members are using very limited funds and can be required to pay faxing charges to submit.
The CT Groups do reserve the right to suspend or terminate any access in the event of questions arising or actions that may not be deemed appropriate or professional by a company. This includes attempts to change settings within the systems The CT Groups creates without prior discussion and approval from The CT Groups Administrator.
The CT Groups does not charge for the ability to post jobs within the Memphis-CT network of which all members are provided access to. Members represent many different skill groups and industries and the total number will vary as people join or leave the organization. Membership over the past years has been in the 2,800 range.
Access to the Internet (equipment, electricity, an Internet Service Provider access, etc.) is the responsibility of the Member. Access rights to the private networks are established based on the e-mail address you provide to The CT Groups when you join each group and using that e-mail address in accepting the Invitations sent to you. It is strongly recommended using the same e-mail address for all groups.
Professional e-Mail Address:
BigHotSassyMomma, 2Hot4U2Handle, WouldRatherBGolfing and others are not professional and can impact your job search. They are great for your close friends but not business appropriate.
Put forward a professional image with your e-mail address and keep it for your lifetime. If possible avoid any e-mail service that is dependent on paying fees, making donations, etc. to avoid loss of service should money become tight.
Avoid from including any numbers in your e-mail address that might be perceived as your age, year of birth or year of graduation as such numbers could be misunderstood and used against you for consideration of employment. You will want to maintain this e-mail address through your Retirement.
WIFI SECURITY WARNING:
Public networks (cafe's, bars, hotels, airports, etc.), whether free or available at an hourly rate for access, are sometimes targeted by hackers due to the reduced protection for your computer even with a firewall and anti-virus protection. Public access networks are not recommended. You should use a quality and currently updated firewall and anti-virus to protect your computer.
PHISHING ATTACKS AND E-MAIL SCAMS
Because of our processes the number of unwanted items entering our network is very low. Some members have been impacted by responding to e-mail sent that are totally unrelated to The CT Groups. To help protect members we have a section at this web site titled The Bad Guys
to highlight techniques used to cause you problems and how to identify many of these on your own. The most important weapon you hold in defending yourself from these attacks is to think through their e-mail looking for the tricks they use to impact innocent people.
- Membership Requirements
Do I have to be currently unemployed to join?
No, employed individuals are also welcomed.
If you are seeking professional employment where a resume is required we most likely will add value to your Job Search. Our focus is to help these people whether they are a returning Veteran, recent graduate, those near graduating, the underemployed (those holding 1 or more part-time jobs needing a full-time position), spouses needing to supplement the family income, retirees need to supplement their income, those seeking a better job, those in fear of job loss and those who simply want to update their job seeking skills.
Are you going to schedule me for interviews and/or find me a job?
We are not a placement agency and we are not recruiters. We help you understand the process of job search and provide advice. Finding and accepting a job involves many personal factors that often people cannot communicate or have even considered. This is YOUR job search. Do not let someone else run or control your job search. These are decisions only you can make for yourself. You must be actively engaged in all steps of your search to be happy. Most job seekers realize during the course of a job search their interests and requirements change to meet opportunities before them. No one can know what you want under what circumstances and opportunities available EXCEPT YOU.
- What are the requirements placed on members of The CT Groups?
As discussed above we do not care why you came, only that you decided to come.
We have a written Acceptable Use & Membership Agreement Policy that is electronically provided to each new member. This document is to help insure:
(a) a focus on getting people back to work,
(b) to prohibit inappropriate language and bashing of employers, managers, former
co-workers and politicians,
(c) governance on use of material provided by or though The CT Groups,
(d) that you will unsubscribe yourself from all groups should you decide to leave.
When you land a job we ENCOURAGE people to retain their membership to keep
open the many contacts you established and stay in touch along with keeping your
materials up-to-date for when you want or need to start a job search again.
You can use Yahoo! free tools to adjust your e-mail levels at any time.
(e) enforcement of the Acceptable Use & Membership Agreement Policy to protect the
members and the organization.
- You meet in "houses of worship".
Will I be pressured, asked, encouraged or expected to join any of them?
Are they only limited to members of that church or of that religion?
Absolutely no for both questions.
There are no such constraints, limitations, pressure, requests, prompting or expectations, period!
One church has extended invitations to join their church but acceptance is strictly your choice; there is no penalty or loss of benefits in declining or not responding to such invitations. To our knowledge, no one has been asked, pressured or received inappropriate communications to change their religion, their home place of worship, their preferred
academic institution, or their coffee or preferred dining establishments (two groups meet in restaurants and a community college).
Those needing a new or better job. From that they are provided information on the career transition process, get ideas and feedback, understand how to conduct a smart job search, gain insight into what is happening to others in their job search. Our membership is a cross of different religions, races and national origins.
While we do not like to "categorize" people. We see people with the following situations:
1. Those close to or those who have graduated from a Specialized Trade School, Community
College, Jr. College, Four Year College or Graduate School seeking to start, restart or
start a different career different career
2. Those who were separated from their last job due to closings, layoffs, terminations, etc.
3. Those who have retired but now need additional income during their retirement
4. Former members of the US Armed Forces who are seeking employment
5. Spouses seeking additional household income
6. Spouses needing employment due to their spouse being unemployed
7. Recently divorced/widowed individuals (with/without children) needing an income
8. Those who want to return to the workforce after being at home for any reason
9. Those who are worried about their current job and want to prepare should it be lost
10. Those who have relocated due to depressed opportunities in their community or state
11. Other reasons
- Can you help anyone seeking a job?
We are best suited for those who work in an office or professional setting where a Resume and formal interview are part of the applicant assessment process. This often includes returning Veterans.
Those who are craftpersons, labors, construction workers and others may gain benefit from the processes we teach but may also be good candidates for the Workforce Investment Network operated by government, through their Union Hall or other groups with special resources to meet special needs that we are not well equipped or capable to provide or support.
Finding a job consists of many factors which includes your:
- proven skills,
- prior employment history and activities,
- quality of your Resume, LinkedIn Profile and Interviewing skills,
- successes within and external to the work place (Accomplishment Statements),
- current demand for your skills and education,
- ability to market yourself by showcasing skills and success,
- your commitment and active involvement in finding employment,
- your regular participation in meetings,
- the quality of your documents and presented information,
- your attitude, personality and willing to learn new skills required for a job search,
- the time, energy and commitment you make to conducting a quality job search,
- sticking with your dreams, your passions and things that excite you,
- other factors that may come into play or are necessary for special position requirements.
Some frequent initial mistakes include:
(1) not taking your job search seriously,
(2) not communicating with family members about your situation, and
(3) not planning your financial and insurance needs along with what you want to do going
forward are mistakes resulting in potentially a cash shortage
These, in the right mix, can result in serious financial loss and permanent impacts to your family and in extreme cases the loss of all that you own. A serious mistake could put you back into a job search in a short period of time for any number of reasons.
Other frequent initial mistakes:
(1) rushing out to find your next job after what is frequently a very emotional separation
(2) not having a focus on your next job
(3) not having a targeted companies list (typically 20 companies)
(4) not having an initial networking contacts list developed (typically 50 people to start with)
(5) not having your Resume reviewed and adjusted for each job you apply to
(6) not using LinkedIn or using LinkedIn ineffectively
It is critical to allow time for these emotions to work their way out of your system and language. Shock, Anger, Resentment and finally Acceptance (SARA) are normal emotions after an involuntary separation. Allow at least one week for these emotions to pass before you begin talking to people about finding your next job. No matter how bad the reputation of your former employer is/was, your anger and negative emotions if exposed in writings or conversations will make you "damaged goods" and thus unwanted. Going after "low hanging fruit" is also a trap as you find and accept something that is easy to go after. People often regret not working towards their dreams and aspirations just to get out of employment.
Taking a highly focused approach and attitude towards your job search is critical. Use of business hours should be for meeting, arranging meetings or gathering information needed for your job search. This includes attending meeting at The CT Groups for if you do not have a plan or understand the process used by Recruiters and Hiring Managers you cannot hit the target in minimal time. To understand the value of time, there are 2,080 hours per year. Figure out what your hourly earnings were (which will not reflect any commissions, benefits, bonuses or other incentives/perks you may have received). Time spent during the day should not involve non-productive activities that are not directly related to your job search or do not advance your job search.
Your targeted companies list allows you to focus and know the companies you want to work at better than most employees. Sadly, this is not the impossible challenge it may seem to be. By researching each company, their products and services, their major locations, their gift giving, networking with their employees, reading any Annual Reports and Press Releases you can get a good feel for their challenges forward direction which are excellent topics in responding to their positions and during interviews. If you do your homework, you will know more about the company than your interviewer ... and that impresses interviewers.
Understand what the priorities and items of importance are for: Recruiters, Companies, Hiring Managers, your support members, you and your family. In knowing this you can target your information to meet "what they want to buy" and "what addresses their burning needs" which are not always clear or presented in a Job Description. This includes having a pristine Resume what meets position requirements including education, has been reviewed by experienced individuals with Resumes, has been Spell Checked and is attractive to view, easy to follow and read. Resumes may exceed 2 pages subject to extent of experience and type of working being sought. Some Resumes are appropriate as a single page.
Ignoring good advice from knowledgeable people who have "been there and done that" or not seeking out good advice. Mistakes can not just cost you time and money but can "burn" people you need help from during your job search.
NEVER forget to always be dependable, reliable, honest, on-time, on-target, responsible, express appreciation/thanks, prepared and professional in everything you say, write, dress and conduct your affairs.
DO NOT FORGET to thank those who have helped you during your career transition and staying in touch with those people during your career. You never know when you may need or want to start a career transition in the future.
This is not intended to be an all inclusive list or discussion as this topic is the basis for books with most if not all covered within The CT Groups meetings.
- What about using Recruiters?
Recruiters can be part of your job search strategy and often know of positions that are not advertised. These may be full-time or part-time, may be a contract, contract-to-hire or for hire positions.
A Recruiter should not be a substitute for your own aggressive networking campaign and job search as not every job is posted through a Recruiter, not all jobs are posted and not all
Recruiters in the area get all the jobs being assigned to Recruiters to fill.
Before making a commitment to a Recruiter, ask others of their experience and/or view your local Better Business Bureau for any complaints and the rating of the Recruiter or Agency.
It is important to understand not all Recruiters are equal in the industries and professions they focus on or the manner in how they operate. While there are ethics, not all recruiters may follow the standards others follow. For example, applicants who are selected for hire are not normally required to pay the costs of any background checks (drug, criminal, financial, finger print, license verification, degree verification, etc.) as these are normally paid by the Recruiting company. You should not have to pay a recruiter to find you employment and no known recruiter can make guarantees about finding you employment.
Not all Recruiters "play in their own sandbox". A Recruiter in Memphis may generate money by placing people in other cities. National companies will sometimes retain a single recruiter organization to find people for all locations within the United States. This is why having a well prepared Profile on LinkedIn is important so you can be found by everyone!
To help minimize problems it is best to document conversations via e-mail to establish what has been agreed to or committed to you, such:
- That they will not present you to any company for any position without your prior review of the position and your approval (being submitted more than once to a company by any source can be the basis for your disqualification for that position or others at that company and this includes your direct submissions, one or different Recruiter companies, or internal employee referrals). Likewise you need to keep the Recruiter informed of any positions you or another Recruiter have submitted you for or as you consider submitting to other positions at the same company. Some company policies are very broad on what constitutes "submitted" to them.
- Your resume will not be altered beyond masking your contact information to companies offering positions (some Recruiters will inflate skills or experience to their clients) and that you will receive a copy of what is sent to companies.
- Any costs or expenses you will pay for being considered, selected or while employed including but not limited to application fees, background checks of any type, reference checks, or other items that may requirement payment by you whether hired or not.
- Salary/Wages for this position, pay periods and how will payment be made to you (check or direct deposit from the Recruiter, the company or a third party). Note: Direct Deposit will require you to have a checking account established; debit card accounts may be acceptable.
- Requirements on hours, location, available parking and costs.
- Requirements and frequency work beyond 40 hours per week, such as late nights, week-ends or holiday work requirements. What holidays are recognized by the company.
- Compensation for hours beyond 40 per week and at what rate.
- What benefits or employee "perks", if any, are offered and their associated costs to you (which may be free meals for over-time work, free parking, free use of on-site health facilities, etc).
- Office standards for clothing, breaks, lunch and the Scope of Work from the employer
- Anything else you don't know the answer to. This is your future even if it is a temporary position. Know what you are going into to avoid surprises and disappointments.
- Where is your Data Center and what jobs are available there?
The CT Groups does not own, rent, lease or operate a data center, a network, any equipment and has no employees and only two volunteers doing such work.
As a zero dollar operation we do not own, lease or operate any data center, any equipment or employ anyone but are leveraging cloud technologies. Our IT resources utilize zero cost tools and services available from public resources and on resources available to our IT Group.
Our IT Organization (Planning, Operations and Development Divisions) consist of one volunteer person, one PC, one printer/scanner, labor and on-line resources with those and other costs are absorbed by the Founder.
Dependance on third parties leaves us subject to the rules and policies of others. Changes,
revisions/updates or major shifts may impact our systems used. To date, we have been able to adapt to changes made by the involved providers.
If you have any additional questions please e-mail them to Questions@TheCTGroups.org
Being an all volunteer organization you may expect a delay in receiving a response.