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Unemployment rate down, but many still looking for jobs


These past few years have been hard on American workers, and layoffs were not uncommon in this economy. While the data may show a slight decrease in unemployment, many are still on the hunt for jobs.

The U.S. January unemployment rate for 2013 has recently been recorded at 7.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.  Since September 2012, this rate has been either 7.8 or 7.9 percent.

In December 2012, Florida’s unemployment rate was recorded at 8 percent.

Florida's unemployment rate from January 2012 to December 2012

While the unemployment number is down in Florida, there are still many people without a job, and it is important for job seekers to stand out when applying.

But how does one stand out?

“Walk into the company looking like you can be a part of the company,” said Richard Parks, customer experience manager at Banana Republic.

He suggests applicants shouldn’t go into a business or store with other applications in their hands.  “It looks like you’re just doing a round, and you’re not really caring what company is hiring you,” he said.

Parks says a friendly personality and how applicants carry themselves really makes a person stand out. He also likes if an applicant has something that can tie them into the company; it shows they really want the position.

Applicants are continually told to make sure they call back to show interest in the position, and Parks says it makes an even better impression if they come into the store. It puts a face to the name, he said.

“There is a fine line between assertiveness and wanting to show that can-do attitude and annoyance,” Kim Tesch-Vaught, executive director of FloridaWorks, said.

Applicants need to find the right balance of calling back businesses and stores after they turn in their applications.  The way they phrase their question when calling back is a good way to keep from being an annoyance to the managers. Calling to see if managers received your application is usually OK, Parks said.

Tesch-Vaught gave some more tips to jobseekers:

  • Have multiple resumes and make sure each is tailored to the job you’re applying for.
  • Follow the company’s application process the way they have specified.
  • Do your research on the company.  Show you are a fit for them.
  • Practice your interviewing skills.
  • Keep track of where you have applied.
  • Create a professional email address.
  • Make sure your voicemail is professional and not too long.

She also suggested applicants register on employflorida.com, a statewide database that helps job seekers build resumes and find job listings.

The FloridaWorks office, located at 4800 SW 13th St. in Gainesville, covers Alachua and Bradford counties.  It offers career services and skills classes. Career services include resume and cover letter assistance, job search assistance, initial skills assessment and career development.

A list of workshops FloridaWorks offers to help job seekers can be found on the calendars provided on its website.

They offer assistance to people with and without college degrees. FloridaWorks in Gainesville helps about 34 percent of people with an associates of arts degree or higher and 66 percent of people without a college degree, said Tesch-Vaught.

“The job seeker is from 14 to Social Security.  Everyone is looking,” said Tesch-Vaught.

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