Optimism at Job Search Club

Optimism at Job Search Club

“It’s not difficult to get a job,” said Robyn Saunders as her rapt, slightly confused audience looked up from their laptops in the conference room at the Morris Park branch library.

“No. Finding a job is easy,” Saunders continued. She flashed a grin. “ You already took the first step. You’re here!”

Saunders headed the first of a series of meetings of the library’s “Job Search Club” on Friday, November 15. Bronxites seeking employment joined her at the free clinic to redesign their resumes and develop talking points for interviews in a job market that can seem daunting.

Jobs are out there

The borough is the most unemployed county in the state, with a whopping 12% jobless rate, according to the latest state Department of Labor statistics.

But Saunders, a Dynamic Career Coach at the library, said there are jobs out there for the taking. She said she’s placed more than a thousand people over the last year, with help from the Labor Department, which sends her lists of open positions.

The only tricky part of the process is figuring out how to sell yourself, she said.

“We struggle sometimes to understand the value of what we’ve already done,” she said.

Range of unemployed

Clinic visitors spanned the spectrum of job seekers. Saunders told a new entry into the job force that she was, in fact, experienced, since her parents were her “first bosses.”

“What’s putting away the groceries? Organizing inventory!” she said.

Abdul Ahmed, 29, was dropped last month from his job working at upscale clothing giant BCBG. He said he’s been giving his resume around shops in Midtown Manhattan, but with no luck.

Ahmed’s hoping that the “Job Search Club” will help him spruce up that resume in time for the holiday season, when many retail companies take on part-time workers.

He spent his afternoon editing down and cleaning up his resumes, after being told a good resume is both precise and detailed, with it crucial not to say too much.

Newly unemployed

Other “Job Search Club” members have been thrust back into the job market for the first time in decades.

“You feel like your self esteem goes down a bit, but it’s their loss,” said Silvia Armerino, who worked in financial accounting for the same firm for 34 years before being let go at the end of August.

Gladys Rhee, a Korean immigrant who spent 25 years at her family’s jewelry shop in Manhattan before it went out of business during the last economic downswing, said she sometimes still gets nervous in interviews, since her English isn’t perfect.

“But I’m here to find something to do,” she said, eyes widening. “Every day, doing nothing is boring.”

The next scheduled “Job Search Club” session will be Friday, Nov. 29 from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. at the library at 985 Morris Park Ave. For information, call 718 931-0892.

Ben Kochman can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3394