PHOENIX - The unemployment rate is up over 9 percent so the competition for jobs is stiff and unfortunately, even fully-qualified people are missing out on opportunities they deserve.
The folks at Maricopa Workforce Connections are helping applicants change that.
"It's not a recession it's a depression. I'll take anything I can get," said Bob Baxter, one of thousands unemployed and visiting job fairs. He’s hoping to land a job but is often frustrated by the process
"They told me I have to apply online," said Baxter. "It used to be you could apply for a job and talk to somebody face to face but everything anymore is online, online, online."
Kathleen Fawcett is an unemployed registered nurse with 30 years experience, but is like so many, struggling to find a job.
"I thought for sure I can get a job around here but I can't get work anywhere," said Fawcett.
So Kathleen is taking the free resume building class at Maricopa Workforce Connections.
That is where, despite the depressed job market, you are taught how to be hired and a lot of it starts with properly wording your resume that's submitted online.
"More and more companies’ everyday are using computer screening software and it's looking for key words," said Maricopa workforce Connections Trainer Shalonda Whitmore. "Companies don't have the time money and manpower to go through every single resume so they have to have some sort of screening process."
Thus the trick is to stand out so you don't get filtered out. "You have to use key words and phrases, go to the job description, find the words that show up the most and make sure you get those in the resume," said Whitmore.
That means tailoring each resume to each specific job posting. What if you've been out of work for months or even years? "Dig deep. What have you been doing?" said Whitmore. "Have you been doing any training to keep yourself relevant in the industry any relevant volunteer work anything like that?"
Experts say your resume needs to highlight your strengths, and it’s good to be specific. Let the potential employer know what you have done and what impact it has made.
Also remember you need to brand yourself both online and in the job fair line.
"You always follow directions beforehand. If they say apply on line, apply on line so you show up prepared with your resume, business card and a smile of course," said Whitmore.
"Join LinkedIn, look up your Facebook professional work contacts, build your brand on line then get out of the house come to networking events," said Whitmore. "You should Google networking events in the west valley, the east valley, or wherever you are."
The experts say you should never leave without business cards and new contacts to add to your network. Then follow up with an email, and most important when networking or attending job fairs, Whitmore says, "You have to go in there willing to talk about yourself and sell yourself."
For more information on the free help, resume building, networking opportunities and workshops available through Maricopa Workforce Connections visit: