Local News

Job fair offers job-seekers chance to sell themselves

Posted March 11, 2009 6:22 a.m. EDT
Updated March 11, 2009 7:36 p.m. EDT

— About 1,650 people attended the Capital Area JobLink Spring Career Expo on Wednesday to meet with 50 companies that need workers.

Job seekers began lining up at least an hour before the 9 a.m. start of the fair at the McKimmon Center at 1101 Gorman St.

“I was told I wouldn’t have a job as an educator in Wake schools,” teacher Lewan Mann said. She will be out of work at the end of June. “I need to take it upon myself to look and prepare myself.”

The event – sponsored by the Capital Area JobLink Career Center – attracted about twice the normal turnout for the fair, organizers said.

Competition is stiff, as almost everyone knows, and job-hunters were advised to bring several copies of an updated resume, dress professionally and be prepared to wait for a chance to speak with interviewers.

North Carolina State University, the state Division of Motor Vehicles, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and others met with potential employees.

The National Guard also had a booth setup but saw little interest from job seekers. Representatives said they believe people are just too afraid of fighting in a war.

Jay Nolfo, a former market research worker for the construction industry, attended the fair. He was laid off four and a half months ago.

“It gets really hard just sitting there waiting for a phone call. I’m on the computer everyday looking for jobs, talking to people, networking with people as much as I can,” Nolfo said.

While Mann and Nolfo said they would be willing to take a job outside of their fields, they are finding a lot of employers are being more selective.

“A lot of the jobs I’ve looked for, I match in all criteria except they want so many years in software,” Nolfo said. “I’ve got nine in homebuilding, but people (employers) can’t be picky today and they are.”

Nationally, 12.5 million people are out of work. Many are part of a growing group who say the traditional way of finding work has left them out of luck and standing in line at job fairs.

Cindy Chunn, with Manpower, was at a Raleigh event her company recently held.

"We've had multiple job fairs before, but not with this kind of turnout," Chunn said.

In New York City, Monster.com – a popular job Web site – launched a "Keep America Working Tour." Nearly 4,000 people showed.

The Monster road show is coming to Raleigh on March 31, though there is no word yet on where it will be held.