By HEATHER KEELS
6:18 PM EDT, September 22, 2011
They walked in with stacks of resumes, out with pockets full of business cards — and the hope that among all those exchanged papers, at least one would prove to be a ticket to a better future.
"It's just really hard to get a job right now," said Alisa Fall, 47, of Hagerstown, one of dozens of local job seekers who attended Thursday's job fair at the Washington County One Stop Job Center on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown.
Fall said she had applied for work at two of the companies at Thursday's fair.
"Everything is like on hold right now," she said. "There's no work, so I'm just waiting, you know. There's nothing else to do."
Brenda Braden, office manager for DMSI Staffing, said jobs are available, but applicants with some types of experience are easier to place than others.
DMSI has seen an increase in jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically for operations managers, scientists, and quality-assurance and quality-control specialists, Braden said.
"Other than that, it's been very consistent as far as very little to stagnant growth," she said.
Volvo Powertrain, which manufactures engines and transmissions for Mack and Volvo trucks, has seen an increase in work, but is hiring only temporary and flex production workers, labor relations representative Sherry Mason said.
"We don't know what's going to happen," she said.
Some job seekers left the fair more optimistic than others.
Michael Gordon, 26, of Hagerstown, who has been looking for work for a couple of years, said the employers at the fair didn't help him much.
"All they did was hand out their business cards and said to call them," he said.
But Antonio Carter, 24, of Hagerstown, said he had a better feeling about this job fair than others he had attended.
"They seemed like they were interested in hiring you, instead of just taking a bunch of applications," he said.
Carter said he applied with all but two of the recruiters at the fair.
Braden said having a resume was the key that set some job seekers apart from others.
"That's huge," she said. "A resume comes in very handy."
She said she prefers to pass resumes on to employers rather than handwritten applications.
Job seeker Seanna James, 38, of Hagerstown, said the job center had helped her improve her resume. The center has a computer program that suggested skills and qualifications that she had, but hadn't thought to list on her resume, she said.
Recruiter Brian Carroll of Augmentation Inc., a Frederick, Md.-based staffing company, said he has noticed applicants who have worked with the Hagerstown job center have more polished resumes than many others that he sees.
"It makes my job a lot easier," he said. "I've hired close to 10 people through this service."
The job fair was cosponsored by the job center and the Washington County Business Relations Group.
Copyright © 2013, Herald Mail