Last updated: March 09. 2013 11:40PM - 2512 Views

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Nearly 40 local employers will be at The Woodlands Inn and Resort on Tuesday looking to fill hundreds of jobs.

The annual Spring Career Fair, sponsored by The Times Leader and Monster.com, starts at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. and gives jobseekers the convenience of applying for multiple jobs at one location. Some companies will be doing interviews on the spot, including Sallie Mae, and others will just be acecpting applications or resumes.

For a region that registered a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 9.5 percent in December, the most recently available data the Department of Labor has, these sorts of opportunities are important to both the unemployed, or the under employed, said Christine M. Jensen, the administrator for the PA CareerLink office in Wilkes-Barre.

“Career Fairs are a great opportunity for job seekers to actually meet with a representative from a company with which they are interested in working. With so many employers using on-line application processes, it is not often that you get to speak with someone in person unless you are granted an interview,” Jensen said. “It allows the job seeker a few minutes to make an impression on that (human resources) manager. If the impression is a positive one, when that HR manager gets back to the office and begins reviewing the dozens and perhaps hundreds of resumes they received at the job fair, those that made a positive impression have a better chance at being chosen for an interview.”

Nine of the companies sending reprsentatives to the event are new to the fair, which has been an annual event for more than two decades and has been held at the Woodlands the past five years. Previously, the event has been held at the Arena at Casey Plaza, the Pittston Convention Center, and Genetti’s Hotel and Convention Center.

Among the newcomers is Mountain Top Foam/Sealy Components, which is looking to fill about 10 machine operator poisitions. The company is growing and has already filled five positions.

“This job fair was very timely as we’re trying to hire people for the near future,” said Joe Pail, human resources manager at the Weight Township facility.

He said companies looking to find employees have so many avenues at their disposal from newspapers to websites to CareerLink and more that sometimes it’s overwhelming for jobskeekers to access all of those possibilities. The job fairs give employers “the ability to reach lots of different people at one time,” Pail said. “It’s a good place to meet a lot of prospects.

Linda Byrnes, the classified sales manager for The Times Leader and an event organizer, said with companies downsizing, implementing hiring freezes or closing altogether, she was sattisfied with the number of businesses that signed up to participate. More than half the companies were at the fall job fair the Times Leader hosted at the 109th Field Artilary Armory in Wilkes-Barre have signed up for this fair, too.

Trucking, manufacturing and warehousing companies will be on hand but three sectors are most notable on the lineup of businesses in attendance.

The financial and insurance sectors are well represented with First Financial Group, MassMutal Financial Group, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, Robert C. Williams Insurance Agency Inc., Sallie Mae and Western and Southern Life Insurance companies among those with booths. The healthcare industry will also have a large presecence with companies including Allied Services, Bayada, Caregivers America, Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Pediatria Health Care, Regional Hospital of Scranton, Timber Ridge Health Care, and TMG Health represented.

Sallie Mae plans to hire full-time collectors and call center representatives and currently has about 100 openings for its Hanover Township, according to company spokeswoman Nikki A. Lavoie, who said the company saw the job fair as a good way to fill those jobs.

“As one of the region’s top employers, Sallie Mae is pleased to participate in the job fair again this year. At a time when finding a good job can be tough, this event provides an important service to jobseekers and the community. It’s also a great way for Sallie Mae to reach and recruit new candidates to join our team of talented professionals,” Lavoie said.

In order to assist job seekers prepare for the Times Leader Career Fair, CareerLink held a resume review session last Tuesday. Jobseekers met one-on-one with staff members who reviewed their resume and made suggestions for improvement.

“We held this event … to allow job seekers time to improve upon their resume before the job fair. We plan to hold another resume review opportunity on April 2, in advance of an employment expo being held on April 11, at the Mohegan Sun Arena,” Jensen said.

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