Finding a job in 2007

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Workforce Development Board of Western Missouri, Inc. Executive Director Larry W. Hightower with Paula K. Kinder, Workforce Development supervisor and Betty Bruce, Workforce Development specialist I are part of the Career Center team devoted to connecting job seekers and employers.

By Nancy Malcom

Nevada Daily Mail

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to find a job, find a better job, or start a new career, one of the first places you should go is the Missouri Career Center located at 621 E. Highland in Nevada.

The Career Center offers advice, training and tools to help you determine your own interests, skills and educational options and to plan your job search with these things in mind.

Paula Kinder, Workforce Development supervisor said, "Here and on the Missouri Career Center Web site, our purpose is to connect the job seekers with the employers." She pointed out some of the tools they provide for job seekers.

Traditionally the resume has been the most functional tool for a job seeker to present their educational and employment history. The Career Center offers a resume writing program "WinWay" that helps the job seeker prepare a complete resume in both the reverse chronological form and the skills style.

CHOICES is a computerized assessment tool and serves to guide the user in recognizing their skills, educational development, job experience and other life events relevant to employment. With this information, CHOICES helps the user determine employment job clusters that require their identified qualifications.

Another function of the Career Center is to help job seekers recognize what they can offer an employer, and help them pinpoint the career fields where they would find the most satisfaction and challenge.

Kinder said, "There are things to consider before beginning a job search.

You need to do some research, know the level of education needed for the current job market." She added that being able to define and recognize what you are interested in and are able to do (in relation to skills, education and family situation), is a sometimes complicated but necessary first step.

If skills are needed, the Career Center will help a job seeker determine what educational needs they have and where they can acquire them. Kinder said, "Almost every job now requires at the very least a high school diploma or a GED certificate." Betty Bruce, WFD specialist I, said that a visit to the Career Center is more important now than ever for job seekers. Looking for a job today is much different than in times past and that the rules have changed significantly, she said.

"There are many reasons people look for jobs," she explained. Those include being new to a community, losing a job due to company downsizing, layoffs, needing supplemental cash after retirement, or moving into the workforce for the first time after graduation. Some people have never worked outside the home and want to find a job or develop a career. Others want to try an entirely different career than the one they have been involved with.

She offered tips on the job hunting process. "Have a plan. Define you skills and interests. Do your research before you apply. Know what skills and educational needs are required for the jobs you are applying for and something about what the job duties will be.

"Decide what type of resume works best for you depending on your job history and your skills. "The resume should be a snapshot of you. Keep it short where an employer can read it in two to three minutes.

"Be sure to get permission from the people you are going to list as references before you do. Be certain that person will speak well of you to a potential employer.

"Be prepared for a panel interview. Many employers now have two or three people conducting the employment screening interviews. Realize you may be asked pro-active interview questions with no simple answers." She added, "Be prepared for a changed work environment if you haven't worked for a long while, or if you worked one job for a long time. Emphasis today is on being a team player."

Larry Hightower, executive director of the Workforce Development Board of Western Missouri, Inc., saud the Career Centers are designed for both the employer and the job seeker.

"We have to provide qualified workers for businesses and assure availability of quality jobs for job applicants. We tailor our services for both." "We try to match interest, aptitudes and skills with what a business is looking for. Applicants can post their resumes on the Internet and search many employment opportunities across the state and the nation." "One reason people seek a new job is their company downsized and they lost a job they may have had for years," he said.

"A lot of manufacturing jobs have been lost across the nation. If you have lost a manufacturing job, there may not be another manufacturing job to take its place.

"In our parents and grandparents' workforce, you could learn a skill and that would carry you throughout life. We are going more to an environment of life-long learning." He indicated that it's important to seek professional help in describing not only the skills you have been using all those years on that job, but in gleaning potential latent skills you possess but do not readily recognize.

"The process is tailored individually to each person's needs and skills. We don't take a cookie-cutter approach to helping people find a job." He mentioned the Alchemy Training modules which are important resources for both job seekers and employers.

Held weekly, these training modules provide information about employment laws, industry safety, tips on work area social skills, communication skills, problem solving and leadership. Other topics include health tips, dealing with budgeting, credit problems and money management issues.

"Ultimately it's all about working with education, job development, the businesses and the job seekers to make sure it all comes together in a positive cycle," Hightower said. "The better a company here in Nevada can compete nationally and globally, the more likely they are to remain a force in the community and provide jobs and payrolls which in turn support the local businesses."

Hightower finished with, "The people who are really fortunate in life are those who don't just find a job, but find a career they feel passionately about." A non-profit organization, The Career Center is located at 621 East Highland, Suite 3 in Nevada. Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: (417) 448-1177; Web site:

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