Time to shine: Here's help getting noticed, interviewing & landing a new job - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Noel Sederstrom, KTTC News Director

Time to shine: Here's help getting noticed, interviewing & landing a new job

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Thompson:  "You have to get off the couch" Thompson: "You have to get off the couch"
Checking job leads at Rochester Workforce Center Checking job leads at Rochester Workforce Center
Before the job interview: "prepare, prepare, prepare--know yourself and your skills" Before the job interview: "prepare, prepare, prepare--know yourself and your skills"
Hildman:  "Networking is so important now" Hildman: "Networking is so important now"

ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT) -- IBM just laid off hundreds of high salaried employees in Rochester, most of them over age 50.  But metal products manufacturer Crenlo has also chopping its work force in Rochester, cutting more 55 workers.  At automotive supplier Federal-Mogul in Lake City, 53 more from its Powertrain Division.  Even a prominent Rochester law firm is reportedly trimming two of its attorneys from the payroll.

It's all around us, and it is easy to become discouraged if you are one of those affected.

"I just don't understand how they expect people to make it, how are we going to pay our bills and feed our family? My husband has been there 11 years, I guess there is no such thing as job security anymore," one frustrated wife and mother wrote Thursday morning. She wanted us to keep her name out of our news coverage, for fear that it could lead to worse things for her family. But she has something to say.

"We now have no health insurance, that is what bothers me the most. It is too expensive to get on a stand alone basis or through my employer. This is sad and has affected a lot of people who have been there a long time. I find some comfort in knowing that we are not the only ones going through this but that comfort does not feed my family or pay my bills!"

For people who have lost their jobs, or have to try to scrape by with fewer hours, the feeling of despair and helplessness is one of the first hurdles to face head-on to getting a new job or finding a second job to help pay the bills. One of the experts at the Rochester Workforce Center, our partners in "Bouncing Back--KTTC Job Connection," says the most important thing to do right away is to regard the job search itself as "your next job." Put as much time into it as you do a regular job. Gather your materials and get going.

"You have to get off the couch," says Bruce Thompson of Workforce Development, Inc., the private non-profit agency based in Rochester serving southeastern Minnesota. "We have resources and ideas right here and this is a place people can come, to start their job search. We will help them get going."

Workforce Development, Inc. has offices in Rochester, Austin, Albert Lea, Preston, Owatonna, Faribault, Red Wing, Caledonia, Dodge Center, and Wabasha. WDFI is part of the Rochester Workforce Center, next to Home Federal's HQ building at 11th Avenue NW and Civic Center Drive right off of U.S. 52. State employees with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) also have offices in the same building, so it is a good place to get a lot of questions answered.

Since every person's situation is different, making an appointment with a job counselor at the Rochester Workforce Center is an excellent first thing to do. Depending on your job field, there may be opportunities springing up nearby that you can pursue immediately. If you need a high school diploma in order to get ahead, they'll get you on track toward a GED. If an assessment of your job skills reveals the need to update them, they will point the way on how to get it done and how to go about it.

Computers are now used to sort resumes for many companies conducting job searches, and in some instances, job seekers report it is difficult to break through to get an interview. When they do break through, they are surprised that recruiters are only conducting phone interviews.

"Things have really changed since ten or 15 years ago," says Jeremy Hildman of WFDI. "It used to be you could fill out an application for some jobs, but now, a lot of places are not even accepting applications without a resume. Shopko will not accept an application without a resume."

Hildman is a youth counselor with WFDI. He says his own field is teaching, but after sending out a hundred applications for teaching positions in this area, he had been at a job fair in Colorado Springs when a friend told him about the opening at WFDI. One thing led to another and he was hired.

"This job opening came by word-of-mouth," he says. "Networking is so important now. People that you know--who know you--will help you learn about openings that are out there.  Many are not advertised."

Hildman says it used to take three days to find a job. Now, he stresses, it is a full-time job to look for a job. It usually takes someone in a professional field at least six months to land a new position.

So the bottom line is... it may take time. Better get going! The clock is ticking. There are jobs out there, but in this tough economy, it might be more discouraging than it was years ago. It's your time to shine.  Gather up your energy and enthusiasm and get out there--and from all of us at KTTC, good luck.

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