With unemployment down, library's job search classes remain popular
According to a December press release from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio's unemployment rate was 5 percent in November 2014, down from 7.4 percent in November 2013. That’s good news, but many people in Cleveland Heights and University Heights are still looking for jobs. Some are unemployed, some are looking for something better than their current situation, and others are looking for a change.
“I tell people that the hardest job they’ll ever have is looking for a job,” said Joseph Kaiser, the CH-UH Public Library’s technology training supervisor. Kaiser and his staff teach classes that help customers find jobs: how to effectively search for jobs online, how to write a powerful résumé and cover letter, and how to prepare for that job interview, once you get it. Each class also offers some one-on-one coaching by staff after the class has ended, time permitting.
At a recent class, Cleveland Heights resident Donna Simms worked with Technology Trainer Jackie Mayse to fine-tune her résumé using Microsoft Word. Simms, a former chemist with an M.B.A., runs a home-based business with her husband, but decided to seek an additional part-time job during the day. Potential employers kept telling her that she was over-qualified for the jobs she wanted.
“I suggested that she put a summary at the top of her résumé that really focused on the position she wanted,” said Mayse, “and also remove some of her experience that was more than 10 years old and not relevant to the job she wants. Her background is really impressive, but it’s so varied that we needed to really focus it by just highlighting the relevant experiences, and focusing on that in her cover letter.”
Another student, who is looking to leave her current job and so wished to remain anonymous, told Kaiser that she partly needs to work on her confidence. “I’ve always been bad at selling myself,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to run my own business, but first I need to figure out how to sell myself on paper, and that starts with a good résumé and cover letter. These free classes are a great way for me to get started.”
In 2014, 73 customers attended these free employment workshops. More will be offered in 2015 as part of Heights Libraries’ ongoing Employment Series. Details can be found at www.heightslibrary.org.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.