Michigan Works! is an organization that strives to get Michigan residents into good-paying jobs. It offers job-seekers services through its statewide network of more than 100 service centers that focus on job training and placement based on local labor needs.
At the centers, employers can post their job listings on an Internet-based public labor exchange to be reviewed by workers. Displaced workers can get help finding new jobs through self-serve labor market information as well as help with resume writing and skills training. Young people can find information and assistance in making the transition from school to a good career.
The centers also give special attention to meeting the needs of veterans and people with disabilities.
Job fairs, also known as career fairs, are a great way to meet with a number of employers at one location. But with so many job-seekers with the same goal in mind, the process can easily become overwhelming and confusing. Here are a few tips to make your next job fair experience a positive one.
Dress professionally. Job fairs are essentially job interviews, so your attire should be appropriate. You should wear professional clothes, and comfortable shoes and maintain an overall business like appearance. Looking, speaking and acting professionally always makes a great first impression.
Arrive early. Plan on extra time to park, check in and get a good feel for the layout of the job fair. This will help you avoid feeling rushed so you can focus on the task at hand. Job fairs are very popular events. Arriving early also can provide you with the extra time you may need to meet with employers.
Bring resumes. Be sure to have plenty of resumes to hand out to potential employers.
Sell yourself. When speaking with company representatives, focus on your strong points, career goals and why you would like to be employed with the company. Don’t forget to be enthusiastic, and most important – smile!
Do your homework. Walking into a job fair unprepared can be a disaster. By conducting a bit of research on the organizations you’re interested in, you will show employers that you’re truly interested in working for their company.
Keep an open mind. A variety of companies normally participate in job fairs. Take a good look at each company and don’t limit yourself to ones that only interest you at first glance.
Follow up. Don’t forget to ask company representatives for a business card so you can follow up with them, as well as send them a thank you note.
Tips for a Successful Interview
After making your way through the maze of job openings, the next stage is the most critical for job seekers – the interview. Interviews can be made or broken within the first few moments. Here are a few suggestions that will help you stand out.
Arrive a few minutes early. Being punctual makes a good first impression. Your appearance also can help make a great first impression. It’s important to dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual.
Greet the interviewer with a handshake, and be confident and upbeat. Also, be sure to make frequent eye contact.
Listen carefully to each question and ask the interviewer to repeat it if necessary. Always answer the question as directly as possible.
Anticipate what questions the employer might ask. Be prepared to explain your work history (including any gaps in employment); how you have learned from previous jobs; your strengths and weaknesses; projects you’ve worked on that you are proud of; and why you would be a good fit for the company.
Be prepared to ask questions. It’s good to show your interest in the position by asking for more details about the job, such as everyday responsibilities of the position, opportunities for advancement or even questions about how current staff members work and interact with one another.
At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time and ask for a business card. After the interview, send a brief thank you note to remind the employer about the special skills you can bring to the company.
Building a Strong Resume
A strong resume is vital to finding a job. Think of your resume as a marketing tool that grabs the attention of a hiring manager and gets you in the door of the company to make your sales pitch.
Determine your objective. Clearly state what sort of job you want and how your skills and experiences will fit the position. This will help you structure your resume content and help you be clear and concise. Don’t forget to tailor your objective to each individual position you apply for.
Use bulleted sentences. Use bullets with short sentences in the body of your resume instead of long paragraphs. Resumes should be a quick read, so make key phrases and accomplishments stand out.
Highlight your strengths. Incoming resumes are usually reviewed in 10 to 30 seconds, so it’s important to highlight your strengths that are most relevant to the employer. Put your strongest and most relevant points first where they are most likely to be read.
Be positive. It’s important to convey a positive attitude on your resume and during your interview. Therefore, leave negative or irrelevant points off your resume.
Overall presentation. Resumes should be no longer than one to two pages and you shouldn’t use smaller than a 10-point font. Also, don’t jam your resume full of text and information – white space is important.
Third-party advice. It’s always a good idea to get someone else to review your resume before sending it off. Whether it is a friend or a resume service, having another set of eyes look it over can help improve your resume and catch any spelling or grammar mistakes you may have overlooked.
No Worker Left Behind – Getting Our Workers Back on the Job
No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) program assists unemployed and underemployed workers by teaching them new skills and preparing them for jobs available now in high-demand fields, such as renewable energy and life sciences. More than 31,000 residents have enrolled in NWLB since it began. While 11,000 residents have finished their training, more than 9,000 Michigan residents remain on waiting lists. The program was expanded last year through a mix of state and federal funding to help more residents get off waiting lists and into training programs.
No Worker Left Behind works by:
- Providing up to two years of free tuition at any Michigan community college or other approved training program.
- Allowing displaced workers to receive needed training in high-demand fields.
Are you eligible?
Eligible No Worker Left Behind participants include any person who is currently unemployed, who has received a notice of termination or layoff, or whose family income is $40,000 or less. Workers must take a skills-assessment test administered by a Michigan Works! agency. Qualifying workers must pursue an associate’s degree or attend a technical training program in a high-demand occupation, emerging industry or entrepreneurship program.
Participants must be at least 18 years old, cannot have graduated from high school within the past two years and cannot be full-time college students. Eligible participants have three years to participate in this program.
For more information, call Michigan Works! toll-free at (800) 285-WORKS (285-9675) or visit www.michiganworks.org.
Career Services Web sites
This Web site, maintained by the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG), allows visitors to search Michigan job postings and post their resumes.
It also offers information on worker training programs, maintaining your finances, networking and more.
The Michigan Higher Education Recruitment Consortium is a central location of job postings at 24 Michigan colleges and universities. The site links users to research, professional, executive, administrative and support job postings at institutions throughout Michigan, as well as at their hospital and health care facilities.
Receiving Unemployment Benefits
If you are unemployed, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. These benefits can provide you with temporary income as you seek new employment. Visit the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) at www.michigan.gov/uia to file a claim or to see if you qualify for benefits. You can also call the UIA’s toll-free claims line at (866) 500-0017.