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Career Coach comes to TCAT to help job seekers

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The Career Coach mobile unit visited TCAT last week. Photo by France Gasquet

On Monday, the Career Coach traveled two and a half hours to Covington to help Tipton Countians better qualify for available jobs. The event, sponsored by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, was held on the Covington campus.

“This is a great mobile resource that presents opportunity for many of our students to visit and learn about job listings in the state of Tennessee and the available resources that will prepare them for employment after training,” said Glenn Baker, recruiter and training coordinator at TCAT Covington.

Headquarterd in Huntingdon, the Career Coach, one of three career centers on wheels, is used by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the rural areas of West Tennessee. The self-sufficient coaches have air conditioning, MIFI, with SMART board and are enabled to give classes on board. 

The mobile unit trains jobseekers on skills necessary to get and retain a job. Resume writing, job search strategies and interviewing skills, as well as basic computer instruction, such as obtaining an email address, are offered on the Career Coach.  

Jobseekers who attended Monday’s event were able to peruse the Tennessee job search database, which features more than 85,000 jobs pulled from the top job search engines, as well as posting their resume online. People who didn’t attend, but would like to use the online database may do so at www.jobs4tn.gov.

The mobile unit has four representatives and 10 workstations and can accommodate more than 20 people at a time, although Sandy Barnett, mobile services coordinator for West Tennessee, prefers to keep that number lower. 

“What we do, this is a special service- and a lot of times, it’s about a person making that connection with the TN Career Center, helping get comfortable enough to interview,” said Barnett.  “We spend time on resume review, critique and tips for enhancement. We like to encourage and give tips on dress. We also give advice on other places to look for jobs; anything that we might have heard of in the surrounding areas for work. We’ve found people need personal service and encouragement- one on one time is very important to a new jobseeker.” 

The program focuses not only on matching to current openings, but also teaching people how to look for jobs themselves.

That task is not always easy. These days, even applying for a position depends on technology. 

According to Barnett, many people are lacking computer skills and don’t bring resumes to the events. 

“More jobs now request applying straight to website,” said Barnett. “Sometimes we have to teach how to set up an email to apply for a job.”

Barnett makes sure each jobseeker leaves with a sample resume.  

“It shows how to put their work history in; it’s a basic one that’s pretty user friendly,” she said.

Barnett said any organization may request this service, churches, schools, libraries- they’ve even gone to probation and parole events.  The Career Coach is also now equipped to give the GED/high-set test.

For more information, contact Barnett at 731-986-8217 or email at Sandra.barnett@tn.gov.

Tips for landing that position

• Important to research company. 

• Watch your posture during interviews. Says Barnett: “This lady was dynamic, but what she was projecting to the employer was closed off and negative. The moment we worked with her on interviewing, we realized why she wasn’t getting hired.”

• Work on your technology skills, such as computer skills. 

• Take a resume, even if it’s basic.

• Don’t take cell phones into interviews.

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