ORLANDO – By 11:30 in the morning on Wednesday, the line had already started to grow quite long, and it only got that much lengthhier as the hour inched closer to noon.
That was when the doors of the Central Florida Fairgrounds opened to the crowd, but not for entertainment or recreational activities. Everyone in line was waiting eagerly for one thing: a job.
“There’s over 500 jobs here,” said Frank Masse, one of the organizers of the job fair held at the fairgrounds, who welcomed in the large crowd of employment seekers. “You hear me loud and clear – over 500 jobs.”
Not everyone who set up a booth or table at the job fair was, in fact, looking to hire. The event also included booths set up by local universities looking to recruit students, and by employment service agencies like Workforce Central Florida and OrlandoJobs.com ready to hand out information on resources available to those seeking employment.
But other employers were there, enough that a directory listing the contact information on each one was given to the prospective employees as they walked in the main door.
The list provided a diverse group, including Crime Prevention Security in Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Florida’s Blood Centers, HomeTeam Pest Defense, and others.
The Central Florida Job Fair was organized by Christian Help, a faith-based ministry that provides a host of local services, including the fact that each year the ministry hosts this event, one of the largest job fairs in Central Florida.
“This job fair is sponsored by Christian Help, and each year they are responsible for helping people in the area find jobs,” Masse said.
In addition to providing a directory with a list of the companies and universities attending the job fair, there were people available to critique the resumes that the job seekers had brought with them – a free service that Masse encouraged everyone attending this event to take full advantage of.
“How many of you brought a resume?” Masse asked, and virtually everyone in line raised their hand.
“Good,” he said, “you’re going to need it. We have a resume critique table. Show them your resume and they will make comments on it. They’re all experts.”
They might make suggestions on how the resume could be improved – or say it’s perfect just as it is, Masse noted. Either way, he said, any job seeker should be fully prepared to put their best foot forward as they approach a prospective employer.
“This is your first impression when you’re going to look for a job,” he said of the resume.
Florida continues to post one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation – 8.8 percent, higher than the national average of 7.9 percent. Orlando’s unemployment rate in September was in-between the two, at 8.4 percent.
There are employers looking for workers, though, Masse said, and many of them were listed in the directory that his staff had handed out.
“The thing to do with that directory is before you look around, sit down and open up the directory and find five companies you want to talk to first,” he said. “They are interviewing actively on site today. When you get to the tables and see something you like, you might be asked to fill out an application. First, go to the table, introduce yourself, and say hi. Reach out your hand and shake hands. Ask for their business card.”
Most of all, he said, be positive, upbeat, and ready to explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
“There are over 500 jobs available out there,” Masse said, “and you should be able to latch onto one.”
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