Libraries a hub for job seekers

Libraries have long been valuable resources for job hunters, with staff members who could direct job seekers to books that focus on resume-writing, interviewing skills, and other career-related resources. Libraries are starting to offer additional resources that include the use of computers, software, printers and services like resume-writing workshops and networking.

For anyone who faces the daunting task of writing a new resume, Brian Mihalik can help make the task less intimidating.

“We can open up Word and I can show them the formatted templates that they can use instead of starting from scratch,” said Mihalik, the information technology professional at Genoa Public Library.

The Sycamore Public Library has resumed networking events it began last year.

“We have revamped our job and career support group and we re-named it to Career Works: Jump Start Your Job Search,” executive director Sarah Tobias said.

The group meets from 2-4 p.m. on the second Monday of each month. The first half of the meeting features a guest speaker, while the second half is an unstructured time for job seekers to network. Tobias plans to invite potential employers to the meetings later this year.

“Any time you have a chance to talk to someone who is hiring or might be hiring, that is a beneficial thing,” Tobias said, adding that meeting potential hirers in an informal setting can help relax job seekers when they apply for jobs and attend interviews.

The DeKalb Public Library offers regular classes on Microsoft Word and Excel, computer basics and essential skills like using email and the Internet.

“We wanted to help someone who knew very little about computers to be able to complete a job application online,” DeKalb reference librarian Karen Woodworth-Roman said. The library also offers classes specifically for job seekers, like finding jobs online and writing resumes.

Woodworth-Roman said that the library gets much of its technical expertise from students in Northern Illinois University’s educational technology, research and assessment program.

The DeKalb and Genoa libraries have weekly events where patrons can get one-on-one advice from computer professionals, and the Sycamore library hopes to hire a dedicated IT professional this spring.

Most libraries have computers, Microsoft Office software and Internet access available free to patrons. Library patrons can usually print documents for 20 cents per page or less, and most libraries offer free Wi-Fi.

Local libraries

• Clinton Township Public Library, Waterman

• Cortland Community Library

• DeKalb Public Library

• Flewellin Public Library, Shabbona

• Genoa Public Library

• Hinckley Public Library

• Kirkland Public Library

• Malta Township Library

• Sycamore Public Library

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