The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 15, 2010

Register-Herald Spring Job Fair

Job seekers attend event to gain knowledge, contacts

BECKLEY — Job fairs offer potential employees a chance to put a face on a cover letter and resume.

Recent Concord University graduate Chris Bland said that was the main reason he came to The Register-Herald’s 2010 Spring Job Fair at the Tamarack Conference Center Wednesday.

“I figured it’d be a good and easy way to talk to people and meet face-to-face,” the Beckley native said.

Bland received a degree in social services and was talking to Verena Mullins with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Another reason he attended was to gain knowledge of the job market and see what employers are seeking.

“I wanted to check and see what options were out there,” he said, “and get a better knowledge and understanding.”

Many people attend job fairs seeking information or looking for better work, but some attend it simply because they’re unemployed.

Joe Brellahan attended Wednesday’s job fair because he was “tired of being laid off,” he said.

Brellahan was seeking employment in the coal industry and spoke to Stacey Brown, a human resources manager with Pocahontas Coal Co.

Coming to job fairs “makes it a bit easier” to find a job, the Fayetteville resident said, adding that if he didn’t secure a job at the fair, he would at least gain vital contacts within the industry.

Brandon Jones found out some useful knowledge at the fair after speaking to ICG Beckley.

Jones recently finished up classes in surface mining and heavy equipment operation. ICG is only seeking “black hats” — veteran miners — and Jones left the fair knowing he had to gain some more experience.

“I feel I have a better knowledge and know I need to get more experience,” the Beckley resident said.

Jones is unemployed and said having numerous employers in one setting “makes it easy” to talk to company representatives who can point him in the right direction to get the experience.

“I’d like to leave with a job,” he said, “but at least I talked to people and gave them my resume.”

More than 20 companies in a diverse field of industries set up shop at the job fair.

They handed out information and spoke to interested parties on what they’re seeking and opportunities surrounding their field.

But perhaps the biggest pull for companies to participate in job fairs is to get their name out there so potential employees can either apply or tell someone of the open positions.

The Greenbrier was at the job fair seeking workers to fill 356 positions. The resort is getting ready for the peak season as well as the opening of a casino.

Recruiting manager Kate Loeffler said getting the resort’s name out to people is a huge part to its participation in the fair.

“We’re here to make people realize that you can get a job at The Greenbrier,” she said.

And word of mouth can travel quicker than any ad space or broadcast, said Will Chapman, a superintendent and operator with Janmar, a operations and coal prep plant in Princeton.

“So many of these jobs are word of mouth,” he said.

“You can spend all you want on ads, but most find out by word of mouth.”

Janmar participated in the fair in order to find equipment operators, mechanics and plant attendants.

Global Contact Services is a regular at the job fair and had a booth set up seeking customer management representatives and licensed insurance agents.

Tarin Humphrey, a recruiting coordinator with GCS, said this fair in particular was largely responsible for new employees.

“This is probably our best job fair,” she said. “We get lots of people from this — lots of leads.”

She said just getting the company’s name out is the main reason it attends.

“At a lot of job fairs we go to, we don’t see people directly,” she said.

“Word of mouth is a big thing for us.

“People will get information from the booth, then go and tell people they know.”

— Email: cjackson@register-herald.com

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