CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce recently helped unemployed North County residents learn about local work opportunities at its inaugural job fair.
The job fair was combined with the chamber’s popular Business Expo and held at the old Robinson’s May store at Westfield, 2525 El Camino Real. The building was filled with local businesses displaying their products and services alongside companies recruiting to fill open positions.
Although it was the chamber’s first job fair, it was well attended. Before the doors even opened at 10 a.m., there was a line of people looking for work wrapped around the building, said Angela Holman, the chamber’s director of communications.
“It’s sad that we have to have job fairs in this country,” Chamber President and CEO Ted Owens said. He added that he heard tales of long drives and desperation from people looking for work at the event.
Companies at the job fair were actively hiring for positions throughout North County. Macy’s at Westfield was looking for seasonal sales associates, while
Aflac was looking for outside salespeople. Harrah’s Rincon and the local police department were also on hand to find potential employees.
“We’ve met a lot of really good candidates and we’re already booked for interviews,” said Kristin Bean, Aflac’s state training coordinator.
Some companies, like Macy’s, received interest in their open positions from people with far more experience than they required. Accountants and IT professionals had inquired about the seasonal sales positions, although Holli Littell, Macy’s human resources manager, doubted they would apply.
“We’ve had a lot of overqualified people,” Littell said. “We were pretty swarmed.”
Career services were also offered at the event, including resume critiques and interview tips, to better prepare those searching for work, Holman said. Added insight for job searchers was provided by mannequins dressed in examples of appropriate work attire and what not to wear to the office.
Even though the event was advertised as a job fair and business expo, some visitors seemed disappointed by the small number of companies hiring compared to the more than 100 businesses in the adjoining expo.
“It didn’t dawn on me that they would all be exhibiting,” said Madonna Crowdus, who had just finished a weeklong work readiness program in preparation for the event.
However, other job seekers expressed that even though the pool of hiring companies was small, it was more inviting than the tough job market they faced on a daily basis.
“It seems like a good thing for people who need jobs to find jobs,” said Richard Martineau, 32, in search of work after recently finishing up his service with the Marine Corps.