Jobless rates are slowly falling as employers in California and nationwide are beginning to hire again.
Still, as a job fair last week in Sacramento showed, many more people looking for employment continue to struggle to find work.
"It's been a process looking for jobs. It's a tough climate," said job seeker Shelina Din of Sacramento, at a Job Journal career fair Tuesday in downtown Sacramento. "You're competing with new workers and experienced workers at the same time."
But help again is on the way from Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The firm, for the 27th year, will open its phone lines Dec. 27 and 28 so job seekers can get free advice from its staff of career counselors.
Call-in hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. The telephone number is (312) 422-5010.
For more data, see: www.challengergray.com or go to the firm's blog, challengeratwork. wordpress.com.
"Part of a successful job search is being in the right place at the right time," said John A. Challenger, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement announcing the annual call-in. "We try to provide callers with some strategies that will increase the odds of them being in the best position when job openings do materialize."
Job seekers who call in often say they send out résumés and answer online help-wanted ads, but never receive a response.
The two-day call-in is geared to helping people put their employment search on track, but Challenger said job seekers also must be aggressive in looking for new work, focusing on networking rather than just web surfing and posting résumés online.
"Unfortunately, simply posting résumés on Internet job sites and answering classified ads rarely work, even in a good job market," Challenger said. "It is critical to aggressively build and take advantage of one's professional and social networks.
"Let everyone know that you are seeking a position," Challenger continued. "When more people know, the greater your chances of hearing about new opportunities, meeting the right people and getting a foot in the door."
Jobs on the menu here
Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, the new Arden Fair dining spot set for an opening late next month, is hiring for as many as 120 positions, said Rikin Lakhani, Seasons 52's West Coast director of operations.
The openings range from stewards to line cooks, servers and bartenders, Lakhani said.
Plans are to begin hiring and training by early January, he said.
"We want to get into the training relatively quickly," Lakhani said.
Those who are interested are asked to apply online at www.seasons52.com/careers and can attach résumés to their applications.
Seasons 52 staffers will contact prospects for formal interviews.
"We're looking for people with a passion for the business," Lakhani said. "We look for people who can put a smile on the guests' faces."
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