FORT HOOD — Marquis Wood strolled through the Youth and College Students Career Fair with resume in hand. “I printed off my resume and have been giving it to everybody— they’re liking it so far. “
The 18-year-old wants a job that’s mostly physical. “I do like to lift weights so a place like Wal-Mart logistics would be good — packing those trucks,” he said.
Wood was among hundreds of other young people, ages 16-22, who were checking out the many employers at the fair, held Wednesday at Club Hood.
More than 50 industries were represented, including law enforcement, customer service, education and the armed services. Teresa Shipman, program manager for Fort Hood’s employment readiness branch, said the fair is intended to be a one-stop shop for young job-seekers.
“It really is a privilege for the young adults because it brings employers who are targeting their particular age groups together to one location, it eliminates that time-waste of them not knowing
who is (hiring) and it allows them to be able to as well, practice what job searching is all about,” Shipman said.
She said the two-hour seminar held earlier focused on interview skills, dress-for-success tips and resume-writing techniques. That part of the day’s program was offered to students as young as 13.
Cpl. Cynthia Fey came to recruit for the Texas State Law Enforcement department.
“Keeping up with the retirements and the recruit school we stay at about 300 openings around the state,” she said. She added they accept applicants who are 20 years old as long as they turn 21 by the time they attend recruit school.
According to Susan Kamas, executive director for Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, teens and young adults face a competitive summer job market but that’s not unusual.
“It’s always been tough in our particular area,” Kamas said. “Some of the jobs have gone away ... machines do what young people used to.”
She said employers are looking for “soft skills” such as being responsible, the ability to get along with one’s supervisor and peers, wearing appropriate dress and following the rules.
One big tip she offered job-seekers is to “leave your technology at home.”
Shipman agreed there are many people vying for a relatively small number of jobs.
“They face a pretty stiff competition,” she said. “So what’s key is that we help them prepare with an effective job search so that when they do go look for employment, they’re proving their quality skills and their attributes.”