Published : Thursday, July 18, 2013 | 8:32 AM
Women at Work held an Employer Forum on Wednesday, July 17 for their job-seeking clientele to be interviewed by several employers hoping to fill positions.
“It is an opportunity to kind of bypass the computer algorithm for the online application and actually shake hands and meet the HR folks from these companies and personally hand them your resume,” Janet Pope Givens said.
About 50 men and women came dressed for success to speak with the five employers who attended the forum with job openings including: Dickson Shapiro, Velocity Aerospace, Forest Lawn, Arroyo Food Co-op, Aflac. Around 15 raised their hands saying they had never been to Women at Work before, but had heard about this exciting event.
“The opportunity for individuals to look for work and meet with employers is crucial. More and more people are coming back into the job market to look for jobs and we know the job market is picking up. We know people are entering and we know employers are hiring, it’s making that connection,” Executive Director Robin McCarthy said.
Women at Work’s job list averages about 150 postings per week, showing that the unemployment rate is going down and making it easier for their goal to help people get back to work. The Employer Forums are held 2-3 times a year to increase the exposure of jobseekers to employers.
“So it just kind of helps provide another personal touch and a personal aspect to the career and job-hunting experience. And as evidence by the number of people who came, there were quite a few who were looking to it,” Givens said.
The employer from Velocity Aerospace encouraged job seekers to submit their resume in multiple forms, by email, in person, in the mail because the more times an employer sees your name in different locations the better.
“Were able to connect in that face-to-face environment. A resume doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, personality is important. So to have that first connection with that candidate is very important. This fair environment provides that and we believe that gets us the best results,” Marshall McDonald of Aflac said.
Aflac was looking for an outside sales associate to fill the position.
“The main thing we look for is people skills, were in the business in dealing with other people and how to interact with people is so important. That’s the first thing we look for,” Mc Donald said.
Attendees were asked have their resumes ready in multiple copies and rehearse their 30-second elevator speech. Job seekers easily sabotage their own changes by talking too much at a forum like this, so preparing a speech is the best way to allow time for the employer to also talk about the job and not feel inundated by the candidate.
“I think why it’s important now is that even in recent years in economic, there are a lot of our clients who have been laid off or displaced and need to take advantage of the services — they need to refine and sharpen their skills,” Givens said.
Women at Work provides resources, classes, and one-on-one interaction to help anyone displaced from work refine their skills and make themselves a more viable candidate. The area they have found most people needing help in is learning computer and technology skills to be able to even apply for jobs.
“Don’t let the name deceive you. We’re Women at Work but we’re working for everybody. The name is kind of the derivative of how the organization got started and been in business for 34 years. Since that time, we opened our doors to everybody,” Givens said.
Louise Moor learned from the law firm employer the difference between a paralegal, legal secretary and administrator and found it very helpful.
“That’s why I love Women at Work because first of all they really encourage you, but being able to see somebody face to face just makes my day,” Moor said.
Jobseeker Suzy Beyers also loved the exposure brought by the employer forum.
“From my personal experience, you submit so many resumes and online applications and you don’t always get even a response back to say thank you for your application. It’s so nice to talk to somebody; you’re able to say this is my personality if you think it might fit. It gives you a better chance in this environment,” Beyers said.
For more information about Women at Work, please see http://womenatwork.org.