Job fair attracts thousands


POSTED: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A total of 130 employers participated in the JobQuest Job Fair at the Blaisdell Center yesterday, a small boost from the number that participated in May.

In May there were 125 booths, according to Beth Busch, president of Success Advertising Hawaii, which organizes the fair three times a year.

Busch sees the slight uptick from May to September as a sign that the economy is turning around. In May 2008, though, there were 240 booths.

“;Jobs will always lag in a recession, and they're usually the last to come back,”; she said. “;The fact that some (employers) are back for the first time looks like the beginning of a turnaround to me.”;

Job seekers, on the other hand, flooded the center, with some arriving as early as 8 a.m., two hours before the doors opened, eager to get a head start.

By the end of the afternoon, 5,800 had passed through the doors to get into the fair, 700 fewer than 6,500 in May.

Yesterday's job fair, however, was only five hours, an hour shorter than the one in May, so Busch estimated attendance was about the same.





Tips for following up after a job fair:
        » Remember names: Remember whom you spoke with at the job fair and what position you were talking about. Research the company you are applying for so you're prepared before going in for an interview.
        » Follow up on leads: Send in your resume as instructed, whether it be by mail or online, whichever is preferred by the employer. A follow-up phone call is also a good idea, but don't pepper the employer with multiple calls and voice mails.
        » Scrub your social network: What you have posted on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace could affect your chances of being hired. Employers might search for information about you online, so keep it clean.
        Source: Beth Busch, president, Success Advertising Hawaii




Unemployment in Hawaii climbed to 7.2 percent in August, its second-highest level since hitting a 30-year high of 7.4 percent in May.

But the underemployment rate, which counts those who hold part-time jobs and are seeking more work or who do odd jobs, was last recorded at 13.3 percent over a 12-month period ending in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Steven Long of Honolulu is an example of someone who is underemployed.

Long, who works a part-time retail job at Ala Moana Center, previously held that position plus a full-time one at the Gap.

He was looking for another full-time position, possibly an opportunity to work in the social services and nonprofit field, yesterday.

“;I'm hoping to get my foot in the door,”; he said.

John Ishikawa, a mortgage broker for the last 10 years, said he was keeping his options open.

While the real estate market was great just a few years ago, it is now a lot tougher, he said, and he was looking to see what else might be available in finance, sales or marketing.

;[Preview]    Blaisdell job fair turnout might be good news

Big business at the Blaisdell job fair might be an indicator of what companies expect for the upcoming holidays. KITV4's Dick Allgire explains why.

Watch ]


While hospitality sector jobs were visibly absent from this job fair, recruiters were on hand from the government, staffing, health care, finance, nonprofit and retail sector.

Several retailers, including Macy's and the Honolulu Cookie Co., were recruiting for holiday help as well as permanent positions.

The fact that retailers are feeling confident about the holiday season is a good sign, according to Busch.

The City and County of Honolulu has 44 openings related to the rail transit project and is looking for engineers, planners, architects and administrative workers.

Oceanit, a science and engineering company, was on hand to collect resumes for 31 positions. By midmorning, recruiters already had a thick stack.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hiring for positions not only in Honolulu, but in Alaska, Japan and South Korea. In Honolulu, vacancies range from an administrative support assistant to supervisory engineer.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is aggressively recruiting due to a number of retirements, according to special agent Kal Wong, and expects to hire 2,000 professional staff plus more than 900 agents next year.