Workshop helps job seekers hone skills
Aaron Grant wants to find "career-type" work rather than the retail he's done in the past. His mother, Cindy Rauschenberg, wants to update her job-hunting skills. They attended a Jobs Boot Camp in Melrose Park. | Mark Lawton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 7:09AM
Aaron Grant of Elk Grove sold electronics at a department store for five years but now is looking for more of a “career position.”
“I’d rather do something where you’re not in the same place everyday,” Grant said.
His mother, Cindy Rauschenberg, has worked for 15 years shipping software for a trucking company. She’s ready for something new.
“I have a job but its good to update and see what’s new,” Rauschenberg said.
Patricia Lewis of Northlake has done sales and customer service for two years but plans to move soon.
“I haven’t done an interview in a long time,” she said. “I want to know some of the questions that might be asked of me and how not to freeze up when asked.”
These people and five others showed up at a Job Boot Camp workshop at St. Joseph School in Melrose Park on Monday, Feb. 25. The workshop was led by Taija Pupillo, director of career services at DeVry University in Tinley Park and hosted by state Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-77th).
Pupillo worked her way through resumes, screening of candidates, interviews and follow-up. Perhaps her most useful tip was the importance of networking.
“Eighty percent of jobs out there are not posted,” Pupillo said. “(Networking) is really, really important.”
That starts with friends and family and should expand to everyone you know. To network with strangers, develop a 30-second “elevator pitch” about what you’re looking for and what you can offer.
Pupillo suggests researching companies by checking out their websites. The information found can be used to individualize a resume or within an interview.
Volunteering or internships could give a job hunter an edge.
“Employers like to hire people who have already worked for them,” Pupillo said, adding that a recommendation by a person the employer trusts can help, too.
Beware the screening call that aims to reduce the number of candidates chosen for interviews. Pupillo suggests finding a quiet place and having a copy of your resume and other job search materials in front of you.
At the interview, be prepared for such questions as “What is your weakness” and “Tell me about yourself.” Interviewers are looking for personality, not only skills, so don’t be afraid to present yours.
By the end of the evening, Vianney Aceves of Melrose Park said she had learned something about job hunting. Aceves has kept busy raising three children since 2001 but now wants to find paid employment.
“I learned that you need to be prepared before you apply and need to adjust your resume to the position,” Aceves said.
Juan Guzman, who worked construction prior to 2009, said he learned his outlook is important.
“To have a better attitude when I apply for a job,” Guzman said.