WILLOWICK, Ohio — The coronavirus pandemic has been tough for both business owners and job seekers.
On Saturday, Eastlake City Council teamed up with Lake County Job and Family Services and a local church to host a job fair - helping them rebound and connect with one another.
Eastlake City Council vice-president Michael Zuren said he’s seen help wanted signs lining the streets in front of businesses in Eastlake, Willoughby and Willowick. His goal is to get those business owners face-to-face with people looking for jobs and help the local economy.
About a dozen job recruiters lined the main hall of Willow Praise Church on Vine Street in Willowick for the job fair. Zuren said they usually host job fairs at local high schools, but had to cancel the latest ones in March due to the pandemic. He said it's important to start doing them again even under these new circumstances. Typically, organizers see between 75 and 150 people at their job fairs, but they were expecting an increase in demand because of the high unemployment rate.
“It’s just so important to support our local businesses. And this is just one of the things that I believe in - job fairs - to fill local needs and to help make businesses more successful. This year it’s needed more than ever and just to connect the two and shorten the time and the cost to hire new employees is a role that local government should really be part of,” Zuren said.
Well-known businesses like Dave’s Supermarkets were there in addition to local healthcare-related businesses and some in the financial sector.
Lake County Job and Family Services also answered questions about resumes, interviewing, and the overall job search.
To keep everyone safe, organizers followed guidelines from the health department - including temperature checks, requiring people to wear masks, limiting the amount of job seekers going into the church and designating one way in and one way out. Each employer was also assigned an 8-foot table. Anyone sick was encouraged to stay home. Organizers can provide anyone who was unable to attend with the phone numbers for the business owners in attendance.
Eileen Schmidt, who works in marketing and communications for Taylor Made Home Care in Mentor, was at the job fair looking for potential caregivers. She said unlike many other sectors, the home care industry is booming during the pandemic.
“Our company’s growing. A lot of people want to —older people want to stay home now," Schmidt said. “A caring compassionate person is what we’re really looking for with experience with the elderly. It has to be more than just a job.”
News 5 also asked other recruiters about what job candidates can do to stand out:
- Have an easy, personable approach and displaying confidence, but not too much. Too much confidence can come across as arrogance.
- Talk about your experience as it relates to the job you’re applying for.
- When employers ask what hours you’re available to work, don’t limit yourself based on what your ideal schedule would be.
- Be honest about everything, including your work history and anything that might come up on a background check.
Patrick Carmody of Euclid has been out of work since February and came to the job fair and left several resumes with recruiters. He said even if it doesn't work out, he's glad the opportunity is there.
“I’m seeing what jobs are out there. And even getting just a name and contact info for somebody new is probably helpful too," Carmody said. “It helps to do things face to face. It does make me feel optimistic.”
So here's the Rebound Rundown for you:
- Confidence is key.
- Be sure to match your experience to the duties of the job.
- Be honest.
This story is part of The Rebound: Northeast Ohio, News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.