Area job-seekers struggle with weak market

June 3, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The new numbers show that employers in May added the fewest jobs in eight months. Sadly, that is what some looking for work in our area already know.

Bottomless Closet opened a fundraiser to the public Friday to help support its mission of offering business attire to women looking for work.

"We watch them transform literally when they come here - it's lovely to watch it," said Jude Andrews of Bottomless Closet.

Women referred through job training agencies get three free outfits to help get them into the workforce.

The organization's CEO says their clients are continuing to struggle finding jobs in this economy.

"They're waiting longer and longer times to find work," said Andrews. "So it doesn't look good from where we're standing."

Slow hiring is impacting all levels of employment. Take Bottomless Closet's intern. With a degree in commercial art and eight years experience in executive customer service for a bank, Dana Winston never expected to be out of work for a year and a half.

"You hear that it's getting better, and I'm looking, and I'm wondering where it's getting better at because over that time frame, it wasn't getting better for me," said Winston.

Winston was accepted to a program that offers internships and placement assistance. He is using the time between jobs to focus his search for his next career.

"A stepping stone that's going to put me in a place where I'm making the most out of my skills, talents and abilities - where I'm really able to help people," said Winston.

At Career Transitions Center, Julie Kornick-Cooper has been honing her skills at presenting herself and networking.

She started her job search six months ago for a part-time administrative assistant position and it paid off: She accepted a job Friday.

"Looking for a job is like having a job - it takes a lot of hours spent a lot of effort," said Kornick-Cooper. "Keep going - it will pay off."

Career Transitions Center is happy to report that five of their clients have landed jobs this week - six counting Kornick-Cooper.

The center's staff encourages job seekers to spend more time developing contacts and themselves instead of making cold calls and applying for public jobs postings.

Winston is doing that. With his internship and career program, he hopes to find a position in social media.

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