On Monday, President Obama was part of a web discussion on Linked In, talking with real job seekers about the frustrating outlook for those looking for work.
Having left a full-time job in March and embarked on a search for part-time work, I’m no stranger to the letdowns and setbacks inherent in a job search these days. Painstakingly written cover letters that go unanswered, online job submission sites that freeze in the middle of essay-style responses, and “helpful” emails from recruitment sites like monster.com sending me “jobs of interest” (which aren't) running the gamut from accountant to marketing assistant to family law attorney, have all been part of my daily life for the past six months.
Since this column is about families and their finances, I can't think of a more relevant topic today than job hunting. The U.S. Dept. of Labor has Morris County pegged at a 7 percent unemployment rate. That number doesn't necessarily include the underemployed who accepted lesser, interim jobs,or those who, unhappy in their current positions, are biding their time waiting for the time or opportunity to move on.
I’m an analytical person, so before taking to the streets (more likely Routes 46 and 10) to talk to the schools, clubs, headhunters and other potential job search resources, I began at the hub of all things research related-the Parsippany Library.
Free Job Seeking Class
The Parsippany Public Library was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which allowed it to create a three-part program being run by the County College of Morris. The program starts on Oct. 12, with “Finding Jobs Online,” followed by “Word and Your Resumes" on Oct. 14, and then “Email” on Oct. 18. Due to flooding at the Main Library,the sessions may be held at the Police Athletic League building, however that is subject to change at present.
I spoke with Michelle Aluotto, Parsippany’s emerging technologies librarian.
“The program is still open for residents. It’s a basic course, so those with advanced computer skills may not find it as helpful as those with less computer experience, she said. "A resume review is part of the class to assist job seekers with grammar and format.”
If you'd like to register, send an email to Aluotto.
Korin Rosenkrans, who leads the library's Customer & Information Services department, offered an overview of what the library can offer job seekers:
- Internet Access-Users can bring their own laptops, or avail themselves of the numerous desktop computers at the library.
- Printers, Scanners and Copy Machines-These are available for use. Nominal fees apply for printing and copying.
- Job Seeking Reference Materials-The library is well-stocked with books offering career advice, resume guidance, interviewing tips and inspiration. In addition, there is a Small Business Section dedicated to providing reference materials to assist those interested in starting their own businesses.
- Online Resources: The library subscribes to tutor.com, an live online support center, with a section dedicated to Career Support, that provides assistance Monday through Friday between 2 and 10 p.m. Resumes and cover letters can be uploaded. In addition, staffers provide interview guidance. A Parsippany library card number is needed to access the site.
- In-Print Job Ads: If you are looking for newspapers and a quiet place to read them, the library offers local papers as well as the New York Times.
- Personal Writing Assistance and Online Job Submission Support
Rosenkrans also noted that the library staff is available on an ad hoc basis to assist you with your job hunt.
“More companies are requiring online job applications and our librarians can help walk you through that, upon request," she said. "We can assist you in getting started, then check in with you throughout to see how you’re doing.”