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Job fair attendees say economy hurts their search

October 10, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The global economic crisis is hitting close to home for many people who spent Friday morning looking for work at a local job fair.

Several of the hundreds of attendees at the fifth annual Fall Job Fair at Hagerstown Community College said the bad economy seemed to be hurting their efforts to find employment.

"It really is," said Cordell Hall of Hagerstown. "It feels like it's almost impossible."

Hall, 30, said he moved to the area a few months ago and has been unsuccessful in his job search.

On Friday, Hall talked to recruiters from the Maryland Division of Correction, Baltimore Life Insurance Co. and FedEx, all of whom had booths at the job fair.

Hall said he felt good about the contacts he made at the event.

"A couple of places said they will call, so we'll see," Hall said.

The job fair featured more than 30 employers and drew more than 900 people. It was co-sponsored by The Herald-Mail, Hagerstown Community College and the Washington County Job Center.

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Job seekers spent the morning talking to recruiters, filling out résumés and receiving advice from places such as the Washington County Job Center.

Jamie Buschong said she has been looking for work since she moved back to Hagerstown three months ago from Memphis, Tenn.

Buschong said she has had trouble finding a job in public relations or marketing, her background fields, and did not get too many leads at the job fair.

"I gave a few résumés, but there wasn't anything specifically for what I'm looking for," Buschong said.

While Buschong was optimistic about finding employment, she said she has never had as much trouble getting a job as she is now.

"I am from here, and I know a fair amount of people, so I thought it would be easier to get my foot in the door, and it's not," Buschong said. "It's a little frustrating, but, you know, it'll happen."

Jennifer Knight, senior recruiting specialist at FedEx, said the company is looking for part-time workers to help with the holiday season, but said most of the people who visited the FedEx booth were looking for full-time jobs.

"They're looking for stability with the economy the way it is right now," Knight said.

Sherri Schindel, a human resources generalist with the Washington County Health System, said the company is seeing more résumés submitted through its Web site.

"We are seeing a lot of applications coming in from people that's lost their jobs recently," Schindel said.

She said the health system is looking for nurses as well as clerical and housekeeping workers.

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