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Oct. 6 job fair can help, and here are ways you can help yourself

Oct. 6 job fair can help, and here are ways you can help yourself

September 28, 2006|by NORINE DAGLIANO

The unemployment rate in Maryland is at a record low, yet the number of people looking for work does not seem to have diminished.

Unemployment numbers do not include workers whose unemployment claims are exhausted, those who never opened a claim or the huge number of underemployed and/or dissatisfied workers eager to change jobs.

On the flip side, employers report difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill their staffing needs. A recent report by a Midwest staffing agency indicated that 56 percent of companies surveyed reported that it is "hard to find the help they seek." Yet 49 percent say they would like to add to their staff, and 57 percent plan on raising wages.

The survey results are being duplicated by employers throughout the Tri-State region. What is preventing these hiring managers and job seekers from connecting?

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As a certified professional rsum writer and job search coach, I see firsthand what may be contributing to the problem.

Every day I see job seekers, who are eager to land jobs, sabotaging their potential success by how they present themselves - in person and on paper.

Friday, Oct. 6, The Herald-Mail, Maryland Job Service and Hagerstown Community College will provide hundreds of job seekers and area employers with an opportunity to connect at the third annual Fall Job Fair. I would like to offer some food for thought for those job seekers planning to attend.

· Employers are not looking for someone with problems that need to be solved - they are looking for someone who can solve their problems. Do not attend the job fair until you know what value you bring to the workplace and are able to verbalize that to every prospective employer.

· Your appearance will be judged. Not only what you are wearing, but also your hair and make-up, your body language, your smile, your stride and how high you hold your head.

Do not show up for the job fair in weekend-casual mode. Leave the cigarettes at home, ditch the cell phone and remember that even a suit and tie cannot cover up an angry, depressed or "what's in it for me" attitude.

· Your rsum should not be an obituary of your career, but a solid marketing document that proclaims "this is who I am, this is what I do and here are examples of what I can do for you!"

The focus is on accomplishments, not duties. Your resume should be attractive, easy to read and a reflection of you.

· Employers are not career counselors. If you do not know what kind of work you are looking for and are hoping an employer can find a way to use you, then you are not ready to attend the job fair.

· Follow-up is crucial. Very few people actually are hired at a job fair. Smart job seekers attend job fairs to gather information, make contacts and market their skills and talents. If you really want the job, then it is up to you to do the follow-up. Send thank you notes, make phone calls and continue to network your way to success.

I will be joining the staff from the Maryland Job Service and other local service agencies at HCC throughout the Oct. 6 Job Fair to critique rsums and offer support and encouragement to job seekers.

Stop by with a warm handshake and smile - we look forward to meeting you!

Norine Dagliano is a resident of Hagerstown.

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