Get a Job

November 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Times are tough. Unemployment is up. And for some, the hunt for a job is harder than ever.Christopher Bundros, a Clovis C.P.A., found himself unemployed this year, and the prospects just weren't adding up. For a month, he searched on his own, becoming more frustrated and disappointed: "It is a full time job looking for work. It's difficult because you don't have a whole support system behind you, helping you." So Bundros signed up as a client at Fresno County's Workforce Connection. It's a free resource center for job seekers.

Workforce Connection is busier than ever with today's economic downturn: 200 to 250 new clients sign up every week. There's often a waiting list to get on the computers.

Yvonne Lopez, is a program overseer with Workforce Connection: "We get people with no high school diploma, to people with degrees in here and they're all on the same page, looking for a job." Lopez's advice: don't be afraid to ask for help in your job search. "We have people who are asking, they don't know how to type, and they're not computer friendly at all. A lot of people don't know what a resume is, they don't know how to set up an e-mail address."

Christopher Bundros got help from a career counselor, who helped guide him in his search and helped him update his resume. He quickly saw results, "People see the difference in my resume and actually call me for interviews now."

Next step: improve your skills. Go back to school, get your certifications, and attend workshops or practice interviewing techniques and presentation skills. Polished professional skills will help you stand out in a crowd of applicants.

If you're going to a job fair: know which employers will be there and research the ones you're interested in. Come prepared with plenty of resumes. And dress to impress! Tank tops, shorts, or even jeans don't cut it. Even if a job fair doesn't result in a job, it's a great opportunity for face to face networking. Establish contacts and relationships along the way. Employers like to see that kind of initiative.

David Whitehorn is the Vice President of Human Resources for one of the valley's largest businesses, Pelco. He says professionalism, "Shows respect, it shows the level of interest that you've taken." The company receives 200 to 300 applications a month! The biggest mistake he sees: applying to the company, but not a specific opening. Whitehorn explains, "We get a lot of just what we call blind resumes, just resumes that come to us without any mention of any specific position. That is not an effective approach especially in the market today. " He says one size *doesn't* fit all. A customized resume gets noticed.

Another tip: don't lie or exaggerate: "Be sincere. Don't ever say you know something that you don't, because it will come out very soon," says Whitehorn. And he adds, don't burn any bridges: you never know who or what will lead to your next opportunity.

That's what Hillary Malveaux discovered. She started as a client at Workforce Connection. She now works there, "I'm really thankful, that I decided to come in. I should've done it sooner. "

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