Increased hiring, but more competition for job seekers

Published: Monday, April 16 2012 9:52 p.m. MDT

Applicant Travis Allen, left, applies for a job with assistant manager Brandon Dawes at the Scheels Career Center in Sandy, Friday, April 13, 2012. Scheels is opening a large store in September and is hiring more than 425 people.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — It took 50 resumes and half a year, but 20-year-old Aaron Pierce finally found a job.

The Salt Lake Community College student was one of the roughly 2,000 people who found employment thanks to the opening of City Creek Center and nearby downtown stores. Pierce was hired at Harmon's across from City Creek Center.

"It took like six months," he said. "I had to move back in with my parents. Not a lot of places are hiring."

With summer approaching, young people from high school students to college graduates, are looking for jobs. The good news is more people are hiring. The bad news is more people are applying.

According to a report from the National Association of College & Employers, businesses plan to hire 10.2 percent more college graduates this year than last year, but 32.6 applicants are expected to apply for each opening, up from 21.1 last year.

"We're seeing job growth in Utah, almost 3 percent." said Curt Stewart, spokesman for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. "That's higher than the nation."

Young people are often at a disadvantage when looking for a job, however, because they don't have as much experience.

"Youth are one of the hardest hit population segments during this recession," Stewart said.

Dana Sowby, a career counselor and associate director of University of Utah Career Services, said job seekers need to know where to look for employment.

"The jobs are there," she said. "This very minute, we have a ton of jobs that people are waiting for students to apply for."

The U. career services office had more than 500 jobs in their database in early April. Sowby mentioned job fairs and LDS Employment Services as other places people can look. More than 3,600 jobs are posted on KSL.com, and the Utah Department of Workforce Services has more than 18,000 listings on its site.

More than 400 jobs will be created at Scheels, a sporting goods store opening its first Utah location in Sandy in September. About three miles north, Scheels opened a temporary office while their store is being built. Last week, there was a steady stream of people bringing in or picking up resumes.

Karen Jones, Scheels store leader, said although the company has been to the Utah Valley University and SLCC job fair, they typically don't seek out employees, "they find us."

"We want people of all ages that are passionate about their sport, their life, their activity," she said.

Jones said when looking at potential hires, she wants to get to know the person. "We want to hear what they're about," she said.

Sowby said a common problem she sees in resumes is students merely listing duties they had at a job instead of telling about themselves. "Sometimes they don't tell their stories very well," she said.

Sowby mentioned a recent meeting she had with a student who said she couldn't find any jobs. "Let me look at your resume," she told the student.

"If they're not going to be able to personally introduce themselves, (their resume is) the introduction for them," Sowby said.

Email: hschwarz@desnews.com

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