While the unemployment picture in the Lakelands is far less gloomy than a year ago, there is always room for improvement. No doubt there are people who, every day, are searching for a good job.
Year after year, twice a year, the Upper Savannah Regional Job Fair takes place at Greenwood Mall. Anyone who is unemployed and is serious about finding meaningful work should take advantage of the job fair. It only costs them their time, plus some effort to put forth a good image and, essentially, sell themselves to prospective employers.
To date, more than 50 employers are registered to participate in the event April 30. More are likely to sign on, meaning unemployed residents of the Upper Savannah region -- Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties -- have a tremendous opportunity before them to move out of the ranks of the unemployed. Seven counties are represented at the job fair. Within those seven counties, businesses and industries numbering more than 50 will be housed under one roof and seeking employees for jobs that are either currently available or will become available within the next four months.

While the job fair means a trip to the mall, a perfect centralized location for such an event, those seeking jobs should not treat the fair as just that. They must treat this as though they are walking through the doors of a business or industry with an appointment for a job interview.
What do we mean? Quite simply, anyone who is serious about seeking a job, or even a new career, needs to be prepared. They need to realize they are not window shopping, as they might at the mall on any normal shopping excursion. Toward that end, they should dress the part and be professional. Employers will not be impressed by the person who shows up in jeans and a T-shirt, plops down in a chair at the employer’s booth and says “I need a job. What are you paying?”
Sadly, too many unemployed people have traipsed through the mall and attended the fair in precisely that manner. Instead, they need to dress professionally, as though they are showing up for work the very first day. Yes, they need to dress to impress, not depress, potential employers. Appropriate attire simply sends the message that the person is serious about wanting the job and, in short, is a display of respect for the employer.
Job seekers should also have clean copies of their resumes ready to hand to potential employers. A list of references is good to have on hand too. They should not only be professionally dressed, but also clean and neat. And they should be prepared to share relevant information about themselves, their employment history and their particular set of job skills they could bring to the workplace.
That the Upper Savannah Council of Governments Workforce Development Division puts on these job fairs is commendable. It is only right that those who benefit the most from the fairs approach them properly and professionally, not with a lackadaisical attitude or a “you owe me” approach. No one is owed anything from these employers. The jobs have to be earned, and knowing how to prepare for and present during job fair interviews is incumbent upon the person seeking work.