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Job seekers have local resources in career center
gary-varner  labor dept
Gary Varner - photo by Courier file photo

Workshops for job seekers

The Georgia Labor Department’s career center in Hinesville provides workshops on Wednesdays and Thursdays  to individuals who have filed for unemployment, but occasionally it has space for walk-ins to attend on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information and to see whether space is available, call the career center at 370-2595.

A new year means renewed hope of finding work for unemployed residents in Liberty County, and the state’s labor department is offering resources to prepare job seekers for the hunt from start to finish.
While the job market is in slightly better shape now than it was for much of 2009, employers remain tight-fisted with available positions. Gary Varner, the manager of the Georgia Labor Department career center, said the key to getting noticed is having a clear, concise resume.
“A resume with job experience and education that are directly related to the position” being applied for is the kind of resume that moves job seekers to the top of the list, Varner said. “Experts indicate that resumes should be no longer than one to one and a half pages — employers get boxes of resumes, so the more you can say in that page or page and a half, the faster that resume goes into the interview file.”
Varner adds that employers are especially looking for what candidates can bring to a company — something else that would help make a resume shine.
College graduates who are struggling to find work find themselves in a similar predicament as older generations who entered the workforce without ever setting foot on a college campus. But when it comes to choosing education over experience, Varner said, neither comes out ahead. Instead it’s a balance that employers seek, and the best way for  graduates to gain experience in these times is to pursue internships and volunteer opportunities.
The reverse is true for the veteran worker without a formal education who wants or needs to transition into a new job.
“Unfortunately, technical positions require formal training, education and experience, so you somehow need to show that you have
transitional-type experience that can somehow impact this type of position,” he said. “What’s crucial when it comes to the interview process is being able to talk about what’s listed on your resume.”
Networking also is important in boosting a job search, Varner said. Though there are no professional networking groups he’s aware of in Liberty County.
“Networking has always been and always will be a part of the job search,” he said. “It’s a powerful tool because the more people who know you’re looking for work, the more exposure you’re going to get.”
 One type of exposure applicants also need to be particularly careful with, especially if they are younger or active in online social circles, is the accessibility of their personal lives. “Employers are expanding the process to all forms of media,” Varner said. “They might look at anything to make sure everything you do is professional in nature.”
Job seekers should be aware of how they appear on networking sites and through voicemails and even cell phone ringtones when discussing job possibilities with potential employers.
Once an interview is secured, Varner said the career center typically advises job applicants be prepared to thoroughly discuss the points they made on their resumes. “It’s not bragging to discuss a skill when you can do it,” he said. “You have to be able to impress the hiring manager or interviewer in one meeting.”
After an interview, it is customary and acceptable to follow up with a phone call, letter or e-mail thanking the hiring manager or interviewer for the meeting, Varner said. “Many times, [for] those who send a note, it may be the only reason they got the job. It may be a second chance to show your interest in the job and list your skills.”
Varner said notes should be sent within seven to 10 days, and phone calls and e-mails as soon afterward as possible.
Once you’ve landed a job, Varner said the career center recommends new employees be prepared and knowledgeable on their first day. “Know about the company or the person you’re going to be working for,” he said. “Always ask questions. It will be a few days before you’re completely comfortable.
“And have a positive attitude as you work through the transition. It will make it easier,” he said.

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