Resources abundant

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FRANKLIN—Searching for a job can be frustrating, especially considering the current state of the economy, however, there are resources and strategies that can make a job search easier to handle.

Angela Lawhorne, a workforce services representative for the Virginia Employment Commission, said that job seekers should take advantage of the resources the office offers at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center.

“We are a one-stop career center,” she said. “You have multiple partners all in one location.” The Workforce Development Center also houses a satellite office of Opportunity, Inc., a program that helps job seekers find work or go to school to learn new marketable skills.

Compared with the rest of the nation, Virginia’s unemployment rate is faring better than most states. In July, the state unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, significantly lower than the national rate of 9.7 percent. Locally, the unemployment rate more closely mirrors the national average.

Franklin’s unemployment rate of 11.6 percent was higher than Southampton County’s 7.8 percent and Isle of Wight County’s 6.5 percent. This means there are a great deal of people — from the recently laid off to the newly graduated — who are all vying for the same jobs. Thinking creatively and exploring numerous ways of advertising oneself can help land a job in today’s market.

Experts suggest using social networking Web sites like Facebook and MySpace and advertising yourself on the Internet or in newspapers. They also suggest that job seekers follow-up on all job applications and interviews with a phone call or e-mail.

Lawhorne said that the surge in unemployment has more people seeking services to find a new job. She said that the office provides a board with local jobs posted, computers to find jobs, make resumes and file for unemployment.

“We’ve been pretty busy,” she said. “But we’re more than happy to help anybody that comes in.”

While it may seem like jobs are in short supply, they are still available in certain fields including education, health care and environmental industries. Jobs in construction, retail, transportation, manufacturing and white-collar jobs have all been lost at a disproportionately high rate during the recession.

Lawhorne said that many job seekers are not familiar with computers and that can be a disadvantage, especially considering that many employers only accept applications and resumes online.

“We do have an extra volunteer that can help people on computers,” she said. Lawhorne said that the VEC Web site is a great resource that allows people to file for unemployment and has job listings for the entire state.

One thing that is vital to any job search is a good resume. It should market a job seeker’s skills, abilities and experience. An effective resume should have a personal touch and contain buzzwords that will stand out when it’s reviewed.

“A resume is going to be one of the most important things somebody can put together,” Lawhorne said.

Despite double-digit unemployment in Franklin, local job seekers don’t seem discouraged, according to Lawhorne.

“Everybody’s been pretty optimistic,” she said.