Nancy Blagg, 49, and her friend, Diane Habdas, 58, arenâ€™t your typical job seekers.
Besides middle age, both have vast experience in the field of customer service and both are looking for work.
Blagg has been looking for some time, while Habdas just re-entered the job market.
â€œThe biggest obstacle for both of us is the competition,â€ said Blagg. â€œYou have 500 resumÐ¹s for one position.â€
For Blagg, the competition isnâ€™t the only obstacle sheâ€™s facing in her job search.
â€œMany companies want to bring in someone whoâ€™s fresh out of college,â€ she said. â€œThose folks are more diverse and degreed.â€
Both were part of hundreds that turned out Wednesday for a job fair at the William M. Lentz Recreation Center sponsored by the Lincolnton office of the Employment Security Commission (ESC).
According to ESC manager Judi Morton, the third annual job fair attracted more businesses and job seekers.
â€œWe had 20 employers last year, while this year we had 35,â€ said Morton. â€œWhen we hit a recession a couple of years ago, things dropped off.â€
She added more business participation indicated an improvement in the economy.
â€œThings are picking up some,â€ she said. â€œThis is a pretty good showing.â€
Grocery stores, employment staffing services, the City of Lincolnton, Lincoln Medical Center and manufacturing facilities of all shapes and sizes were represented.
One manufacturing facility â€“ McMurray Fabrics of Lincolnton â€“ is actively hiring in the manufacturing area.
According to Randy Pruitt, human resource and safety manager for McMurray, prospective employees can also come by the companyâ€™s offices and fill out an application if they couldnâ€™t make the job fair.
â€œWhat we start people off at on jobs depends on the job and the level of experience,â€ said Pruitt. â€œWe are looking for experienced knitters and for people who need training. Weâ€™re pretty open in hiring.â€
Vickie Fitch is the manager of Lincolntonâ€™s newest staffing agency, Staffmasters, which recently opened in front of the Department of Social Services building on N.C. 27.
She said job seekers attending the fair needed to keep in mind the main quality employers look for is dependability.
â€œWhat I hear a lot from employers is they want someone whoâ€™s going to be there,â€ said Fitch. â€œEmployers are looking for people who are dependable and reliable.â€
She added Staffmasters looks for applicants who shows a steady work or school history.
Blagg agreed with Fitch dependability is the top issue on employerâ€™s lists when it comes to looking for qualified help.
â€œThey also want someone driven to succeed, someone whoâ€™s willing to go above and beyond the call of duty,â€ said Blagg.
For more information on jobs available in Lincoln County, call ESC at (704) 735-8035.
by Jon Mayhew