Cache Valley jobseekers in 2017 have many resources available to help them find employment, and hundreds of open positions are posted on a myriad of employment-related websites. With that being said, job hunting is never an easy task, even when unemployment rates are low and resources for jobseekers are available.
“Looking for a job is a full time job in itself,” said Troy Lamb, an employment counselor and workshop presenter at the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). “Sometimes people have to reinvent themselves.”
In Cache Valley, Lamb works with numerous clients who are transitioning between jobs, seeking higher wages or exploring new careers entirely, and he finds that many of them are lacking the computer skills or specialized training necessary to prepare them for the positions they hope to obtain. He also acknowledges that many of the positions available locally are entry level jobs with lower than desirable wages, and highly-qualified, experienced jobseekers may have difficulty finding career level positions. Mark McKenna, manager of the LDS Employment Resources Center in Logan, has a similar perspective.
“People don’t necessarily need jobs,” he said, “but they need better jobs.”
Based on Zions Bank’s December 2016 Utah Consumer Attitude Index (CAI), McKenna’s perception is accurate. In Cache County, the unemployment rate is very low, having decreased from 2.8 percent in October to 2.7 percent in November. This compares with a state average of 3.1 percent and a national unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. What that means, McKenna says, is that unemployment is not as much of a concern as underemployment.
This observation, however, may not be reflected in the eyes of a weary jobseeker who feels like he or she has unsuccessfully explored every avenue in pursuing employment. When these clients visit DWS, Lamb refers them to an intensive career placement program called “Work Success,” which is managed by employment counselor Erica Steiner. This service, available to anyone with the commitment to participate, has a success rate of 80 percent. Enrollment in the program requires 40 hours per week, and involvement averages two to four weeks.
“This is one of the best tools we have available here at Workforce Services,” said Lamb. “If you’re truly looking for full time employment, and you’re at a loss as far as where you’re at—in your job search or career, your study, your schooling, what direction you’re going—this program is the best program in my opinion.”
Both at DWS and at the LDS Employment Resource Center, many services are available to help Cache Valley residents find work. These include resume assistance, job boards, workshops, networking groups, coaching and more. While utilizing these resources, says McKenna, a person’s attitude is his or her most important asset.
“When someone’s looking for a job,” he said, “it’s a very selfish time where you’re saying, you know, ‘I’m trying to get this much money and I’m trying to provide for my family,’ and that’s certainly an okay place to be. But I think it’s an amazing thing when jobseekers get to a point where they recognize that the way they will actually provide for themselves is actually by turning outwards and having this very unselfish mindset of ‘How do I benefit this employer? How do I benefit this type of customer, and how can I bring value and make money for other people,’ and it’s just this amazing shift where our reward in life increases as we increase our ability to serve and bring value to others.”
From the perspective of an employment counselor, Steiner’s reward comes from her dedication in helping her clients achieve success.
“There is nothing more rewarding to me than to see someone come in frustrated and discouraged about their job search and be able to leave with the motivation and the drive and the energy and the internal confidence that they can do this—that they have the skills that they need. I see that positive change happen as I get to work with them one-on-one to see them land those great jobs. It’s incredibly rewarding to see them move on to those next stages of their life, and I’m just glad that I get to be part of that for a small moment.”
Tips for Jobseekers from LDS Employment Resources and DWS:
<ul><li>Spend some time with self-assessment. Ask yourself, “Who am I, and what are my strengths? What direction do I want to go?”</li><li>Don’t be afraid to look outside the box.</li><li>Consider volunteer service as a stepping stone to future employment.</li><li>Network, network, network!</li><li>Perception is key. Refocus and redefine personal perspectives that may be negative or self-defeating.</li><li>Seek resources to address challenges outside the workplace that may interfere with job seeking. </li><li>Remember that the most important investment we can make is an investment in ourselves.</li></ul>
The Logan LDS Employment Resource Center is located at 175 W. 1400 North. The Logan DWS office is located at 180 N. 100 West. Both organizations welcome jobseekers from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.