Archived Story

Helping those looking for work

Published 9:16am Thursday, August 27, 2009

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

Unemployment continues to affect families throughout the Niles area, and for one area resident, the situation has inspired him to reach out and help those looking for work.
Gerald Marshall a now retired, former professional career counselor and member at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA is offering those members taking part in the YMCA’s wellness stimulus program a chance to sit down with him for a resume re-writing assistance program.

Marshall carries with him over three decades of experience in the areas of industry and education in both the United States and Great Britain.

He said the current employment situation is what led him to offer his services to those in need of them through the YMCA.

Participants can mail or drop off their resumes and a cover letter that they would send to a potential employer (or a fictional employer if the case may be) at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

Those resumes and cover letters will then be forwarded to Marshall who will contact those in search of a little advice and set up an appointment time with them.

It is an important first step, Marshall said, as resumes and cover letters will be the first impression a potential employer will get of a candidate for employment.

“The resume is important,” he said. “The cover letter is important. What it contains. (Even) the envelope is important.”

Marshall can help with advice on professional, well rounded and concise resumes along with making sure they are professionally presented.

He also advises those who are coming to him with questions on how to conduct themselves in interviews, the hope being they will walk through the door with the tools they need to put themselves above all other candidates for the job.
On Tuesday, Marshall met with one resident, who’d just returned from an interview. Listening to that participant’s assessment of the course of the interview, Marshall offered his own, giving advice on providing the potential employer with a thank you note and when and how to follow up.

“I’ve just met Gerald two weeks ago,” said one person using his advice.  Already Marshall has helped him revamp his resume.

“I’m using him through email or direct contact, as a mentor. That is wonderful.” He added that Marshall helps save one the feeling of “going it alone” in terms of job hunting.
Marshall also said through receiving resumes and cover letters and meeting with people in person, he is able to see just how they might handle themselves in the case of a face to face interview.

Though he sees many people doing the best they can, they sometimes neglect to make sure an objective – an important element – is listed on their resume, he said.
“Have an objective and qualifications for that objective,” Marshall said. “Do more listening than talking.”

It is the first 15 seconds, the resident added that he felt can make a big difference in the course of an interview. “A good strong hand shake, looking into his eye, a good smile… confidence,” can only help one’s chances of ultimately walking away with a job.

Marshall said he will continue to help those taking part in the wellness stimulus program, as he has just begun offering services.

Struggling through the current unemployment situation, potential candidates “need to arm themselves,” he added.

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