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Workshops teach new job search methods

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

A resource center is working to help familiarize displaced USEC workers with the ever-changing market and the altered reality of searching for their next job.

Career Solutions Community, based out of the Emerging Technology Center at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, held the final of seven free workshops throughout January on Thursday with topics including interview skills, resume building, electronic job search tips, small business tutorials and navigating through professional social media platforms.

About 12 people currently undergoing an employment transition because of changes at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant gathered to learn about creating a profile, making connections and searching for jobs through LinkedIn.

Linda Robbins, who has attended several of the lessons, said the informal format allows attendees to learn at their own pace and build confidence with new platforms.

"I was skeptical at first but the more I went to them (workshops), I realized this is exactly what I needed," she said. "Now I can feel confident in my updated skills."

The group had varied levels of experience with the electronic platform, some were creating a profile for the first time, others had a basic profile and wanted to learn more, and some wanted to learn how to build a personal brand. The instruction, led by Blair Travis, WKCTC social media manager, included the basics user functions of the website, tips for usage, and hands-on help setting up and editing profiles.

"It's been a long time since many of us applied for a job and the process has changed a lot," Robbins said. "You can't just walk into an HR office anymore, there are so many steps."

Randy Tinsley said during his job search, he has encountered several positions that ask for the link to an applicant's LinkedIn page rather than a resume and cover letter.

"I guess the first step now for employers is seeing how you can operate today's technology," he said.

Troy Courtney, Career Solutions Community program coordinator, said the response to the classes has been positive with four to 12 participants in each one. He said although the workshops are currently job-related, taught by staff members and other professionals, officials are open to input about their focus and direction.

"The workshops are really informal and typically people know each other and have a work history together," he said. "A lot of people haven't had to look for jobs since the Internet became big, so it's a good way to learn and ask questions."

A similar series of classes will be offered in February. Interview skills workshops will be from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. next Wednesday, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 and from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. Learn about resume writing skills from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18.

Instructors will demonstrate how to conduct computerized job searches from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 26 and illustrate how to use LinkedIn from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 13. Potential small business owners can learn the steps necessary for success from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 25.

Classes will be held in room 112 or room 222 of the WKCTC Emerging Technology Center. Workshops are free but prior registration is required by calling 270-534-3914.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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