Get Ready For Lancaster's Largest One-Day Job Fair
Lancaster: Step outside and you can feel it, smell the air and you know it's coming, snow! The reports say it's coming and going to be big, but you're just not sure how to prepare... Run out and buy milk, bread, and eggs like everyone else? You have a basic shovel and will wield it with all the strength you can muster, but this is going to be a big storm and you let your gym membership run out months ago. You wonder if it might be time to retool (with a snow blower) before the storm hits and the sight of your car buried in gleaming, white, frozen water particles overwhelms you.
Preparing for the Job Fair is a little like getting ready for a major snowstorm. The reports tell you March 12 is the big day. Your tool, the resume, is ready to shovel through the crowd and serve as a flat representation of culmination of your life's work. Yet, you can help but wonder if there is something else that you should be doing to prepare for the Job Fair.
Research the companies. Starting on Facebook, we will release the names of companies planning to attend, and then about a week before the Job Fair we will post a list of the companies on jobs4lancaster.com. Go to the company website and find out what positions they have open. Use resources like ladders.com and Reference USA (currently available through your Public Library membership) to find out details about the company. Armed with this knowledge you can target the companies that with the culture and positions that match your skills.
Focus your résumé. Once you know which companies to target at the Job Fair, make sure your résumé highlights the skills for the job they have open. You may need to have multiple versions of your résumé so you are sure to directly relate your skills to the job.
Develop your pitch. When you approach an employer's table at the Job Fair, what are you going to say? Developing an "elevator pitch" will help you to clearly communicate what kind of job you are looking for and what skills you bring to the table. It could also help ease the nervousness of approaching the employer.
Getting ready for the Job Fair does not have to be as overwhelming and difficult as preparing for the next major snow storm (is it wrong to hope for one more?). Attend our Résumé Workshop and other workshops to help you present your best (employable) self!
3 Ways to Find Employment Quicker Than Everyone Else
Lancaster: What is the best way to job search? Get on a computer and search Indeed.com? Volunteer at several local organizations and hope one of them likes you enough to offer you a job? Sit in a coffee shop and strike up conversations in the hopes of networking your way to a new career?
If we surveyed 100 people about how they found their current job, we'd probably get a wide variety of answers. The best way to job search depends greatly on your career field, job market, technology innovations, and your network, among many other factors.
However, at the PA CareerLink, we've noticed some common threads to those finding jobs more quickly than the national average (which sits around 9 months).
1. Have a solid resume!
No matter how vast or sparse your work experience and education are, creating an organized and error-free resume is critical to being considered for the job. Take the time to craft a good document that will highlight your skills and accomplishments. The PA CareerLink offers a Resume Workshop and a Quick Resume Review workshop to help individuals develop and receive feedback on their resumes. Use numbers whenever possible to highlight your accomplishments, it helps to quantify your successes.
2. Get a support network!
Every day a group gathers in the Job Search Center at the PA CareerLink to share job leads, encourage each other in their job search, and provide accountability to keep pressing on towards the employment goal. Staff in the Job Search Center also provide support for resume writing, conduct mock interviews to build confidence, and organize networking events with area employers. 84% of the participants found employment while enrolled in the Job Search Center in 2013, with a majority of them finding employment in 3.5 months (well below the national average). Having support and encouragement go a long way in boosting your job search.
3. Find the unadvertised jobs!
Did you know that 80% of jobs go unadvertised? That means job boards and newspapers never find out about these jobs, they are filled before they need to be posted. In the Job Search Center, the first week is dedicated to training with an emphasis on learning techniques to uncover these "hidden" jobs.
To learn more about the Job Search Center and other programs available at the PA CareerLink, attend a Career Planning Seminar (held 3 times per week). Call 717.509.5613 to reserve your seat! Our goal is to help you find employment!
Landing A Job
Lancaster: It is a feeling that many men and women with criminal backgrounds experience when they are looking for work - hopeless, helpless, desperate, and fed up – all at the same time. That is how Demar Wright was feeling three months ago and for much, if not most, of the previous two years.
Demar's story has become all too common among men and women who are enmeshed in the criminal justice system. His criminal background was hampering his ability to find a job, but his obligations to pay fines and costs and child support weren't going away anytime soon. He needed to find work – good work for a decent wage – or he was facing even more time in prison. The clock was ticking and time was not on his side. To make matters worse, he was limited in his job search because his driver's license was suspended.
So Demar turned to the only people he knew for sure would be willing to help him – the Reentry Team at PA CareerLink of Lancaster County. As a CareerLink client several years before, Demar finished the Ready2Work Program as well as Construction 101 and several other Occupational Skills Training classes. He had a solid work history and marketable skills, but his record and lack of transportation were still holding him back.
The Reentry Team reviewed Demar's criminal record with him and together discovered that there was a mistake on his record which was having a significant impact on his ability to find work. An old charge from almost 15 years prior was coming up on background checks as being "Open," despite the fact that he had served his probation period and paid the fines from that offense.
After several trips to the County Clerk of Courts office, Demar was able to get his record fixed and, shortly thereafter, he received a job offer with a local distribution company. He worked in that position for four months, accumulating an excellent attendance and work record, and then used that experience to move into an even better job as a machine operator at a local manufacturing company.
"I wanted to give up so many times," said Wright. "But the guys on the Reentry Team simply wouldn't let me. They called people for me to try and get my record fixed. They vouched for me with Domestic Relations. They drove me to interviews and used their own personal contacts with employers to try and find me a job. They even took me to Harrisburg to try and get my license back."
"They gave me the confidence to keep going and more than anything else, they gave me hope. They really made me believe that my big break was just around the corner, and that made all the difference for me. A lot of guys just need a little push to keep going. Well these guys not only gave me that push, but they made me believe that I could do it."
While Demar is quick to give others credit for his success, it was his determination to find work that really made the difference. Many people in his position simply throw their hands up and turn back to the negative lifestyle that got them in a tough position in the first place. But Demar's dedication to his family and his own peace of mind kept him strong enough to overcome those feelings and in the end, he reaped the rewards for his efforts.
MFG DAY/WEEK at PA CareerLink
Washington, DC: On Friday, October 4, 2013, the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers will be sponsoring MFG DAY, a national effort to get the word out to the public that manufacturing is thriving and hiring.
MFG DAY addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn't. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. Click here to go to the MFG DAY website.
In Lancaster, the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County is sponsoring an Open House from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm from September 30 through October 4 where visitors can pick up more information on careers in manufacturing as well as find information on manufacturers in Lancaster County that are hiring. Click here to find out more about the Lancaster County event.
Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.