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Published: Monday, 4/6/2009

Career Camp all business when it comes to training job seekers

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It's called camp, but don't think braided plastic lanyards, Popsicle stick birdhouses, and s'mores.

Career Camp, taking place Wednesday at the SeaGate Centre, aims to offer serious training for the serious business of job hunting in a difficult economy.

"Come with an open mind and be ready to work," said Philip Cunningham, employment coach at the Greater Toledo Urban League, who will help lead resume-writing workshops.

Career Camp, sponsored by The Blade and WTOL-TV, Channel 11, begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. Sessions start at 9 a.m. and are 45 minutes each, with a lunch break from noon to 1:15 p.m. Sessions resume at 1:30, with the last ending at 3:15 p.m. Camp closes at 4 p.m. During each 45-minute block, attendees will have a chance to take part in any of the five workshops: how to navigate a job fair,; resume writing; resume review; interviewing techniques, and jobs of the future.

"What we're hoping they gain from this are the basic skills that will carry them through a job search - how to make that good first impression; things to say [and] not to say; how to put together a quality resume," said Mike Veh, the work force development manager for Lucas County.

Part of Career Camp will be an education and training fair. Campers can visit the exhibitors and learn of schools that offer high school equivalency tests and college degree programs as well as training concerns that focus on everything from health care to trucking to alternative energy.

"It's an excellent opportunity for people thinking what they might want to do next to meet people one on one, without having to go to all the different schools," said Marte Sorg, Lucas County work force outreach coordinator.

"For too many job seekers, their skills are no longer going to help them in this economy. They need new skills," Ms. Sorg said.

Career Camp, organizers hope, will prepare job seekers for Job Fair 2009, which takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. May 1 at the Lucas County Recreation Center. That event, also sponsored by The Blade and WTOL-TV, Channel 11, will allow employers to connect with job seekers.

Job fairs can be the job seeker's version of speed dating. "You're going to have a minute, maybe, to state your case, make a good impression and, hopefully, hook that person into spending a couple minutes with you," Mr. Veh.

A resume can help make that good impression. "Make sure you design your resume toward the position you're looking for. The best way to get onto the yes pile is giving the employer exactly what it is they're looking for," Mr. Cunningham said. To know what that is, study the job description, the industry, even the particular employer, he advised.

"A resume is like a snapshot of you," Mr. Cunningham said. "It gives your skills and accomplishments, your transferable skills."

He offered the most basic resume tip: "Spell check. Check for grammar. The fastest way to find yourself not in the interview is to have a misspelled word."

The camp is being held in conjunction with The Source, Owens Community College, Lucas County, the Greater Toledo Urban League, SeaGate Centre, and United Way of Greater Toledo.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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