Workforce development specialist offers help to job seekers

Marsha Lazarus, a workforce development specialist, pictured above, helps job seekers to find their place in the work world through one-on-one workshops. (Photo submitted)

Marsha Lazarus, workforce development specialist, acts in many ways like a mirror.

In programs she is offering at the Johnstown and Gloversville libraries, she helps people to see themselves and the work world as they really are.

Some job seekers, she said, come to her workshops or one-on-one sessions with a dismal view — “I don’t really have any skills,” they say.

Lazarus is helping people clarify what types of jobs they are “excited” about, what kinds of transferrable skills and personality traits fit those jobs, and how do they convey with confidence that they can meet an employer’s needs, she said.

Depending on their life experiences, they can feel discouraged and worn down, not realizing what they have to offer, she said. As they are prompted in their self-assessments, “a lightbulb sometimes goes on — wow! that’s me?” Lazarus said.

She added that people shouldn’t forget the experiences they had and skills they’ve gained in volunteer work because they can be useful in paid work.

Computerized job sites can be daunting because computers can sometimes screen out qualified people who don’t offer the right information in a way the computer is keyed on, she said.

If a job seeker wants to focus on skills and traits that fit a job, they should emphasize them in their resume, sometimes by illustrating them with a story, she said. If they want to stress their work ethic or people skills, they might say they go beyond the call of duty or are good at assisting customers or clients by showing how. The job seeker should also be clear and specific about what kind of job they want.

As much as computers have become a bigger part of seeking or filling positions, good old-fashioned methods of gaining personal contact with a manager are still important. Letting friends and family members know that you’re seeking work and what kind of work may garner leads about where to look or gain access to manager, Lazarus said. “So much of getting in the door is people contact,” she said.

Lazarus has had decades of experience in the employment field and owns Your Career Matters: Find that Right Fit! At the libraries, her workshops stir up ideas and strategies for participants, but she also aids people one-on-one to hone their resumes.

Her next visit to the Johnstown library will be on Jan. 10 with a workshop from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. and one-on-ones from 7 to 8 p.m. At the Gloversville library, she’ll hold a workshop on Feb. 16 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. with one-on-ones from 2:30 to 4 p.m. In either case, people interested in one-on-ones should call the libraries in advance.

By Josh Bovee

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