"Networking is especially important because 85 percent of the jobs in Utah County are filled by word of mouth," Chamberlain said.
Utah County is a "buyer's market" for employers, so job seekers must learn to sell themselves."It's a tight market," said Norm Anderson, Job Service counseling supervisor. "There are many more unskilled workers than there are unskilled jobs, and many less skilled workers than skilled jobs."
Anderson said although industry is increasing in Utah County, the area still has primarily a service economy.
"There are always BYU students who will take the low-paying service jobs. But once the students finish their education or workers gain proficiency in their fields, they often leave the area for a higher wage, so the population stays relatively unskilled."
But more people leaving means more openings - an advantage for non-traditional job seekers such as women returning to the work force, high school students and job seekers age 55 and older.
These workers, however, may lack the confidence and job-seeking skills they need, but there are several classes that may help.
"Many women have low self-esteem and don't know what they need to do to find a good job," said Linda Barlow, director of Utah Valley Community College's Center for Career and Personal Development.
"In our classes, they learn to use what they have."
Bo Chamberlain, job counselor, agreed.
"Women learn they are in control of their own lives, and they can create for themselves the lives they want.
"It seems like a law of the universe: you can't give a job to someone if they don't want it, and if they really want a job, no one can stop them from getting it."
Barlow and Chamberlain see about 3,000 clients a year. They teach communication for men (it helps them negotiate for better jobs, Barlow said), communication for couples and successful life management.
The latter covers a broad range of topics.
"We have personal finance, aerobics, assertiveness training, self-esteem, and job skills such as networking, interviewing, writing cover letters and resumes, and how to keep upgrading your position," Chamberlain said.
"I'm not sure it's 85 percent, but it's definitely the majority. Job hunters have a tendency to want to stay home and hide. What they need to do is tell their family, friends and neighbors what kind of job they are looking for. If you have a friend that works at Signetics, your friend is likely to know when a job opens out there.
"We list about 1,500 jobs each month, and that's only about 20 percent of the jobs in the community."
For those who want to investigate a profession or company before looking for a job, Chamberlain recommends an interest interview.
"You call and say `I am very interested in what you do. May I come in and ask you some questions?' Sometimes you learn of openings this way, but you always learn more than you knew about a job or a company. You might find out for a certain job you would have to work in a cubical and you would hate that. Or maybe you don't like teaching high school kids, but you would love a junior college.
"Having the information empowers you and helps you focus on what you want."
Many women re-entering the work force sell themselves short, Chamberlain said.
"They take a much lower-paying job than they need to because they think they have to. They don't have to."
For people who have gone through their classes, Barlow and Chamberlain offer a resume reviewing service. They choose from a variety of formats to make the most of any worker's experience.
Job Service also offers short classes in resume writing and job-seeking skills.
Senior citizens looking for jobs can face special problems, according to Arnie Payne, counselor at the Career Guidance Center.
"They may seem to have too much experience for the part-time position they may want, or employers may be looking for someone younger or they may have gotten their last job when you didn't need a resume."
Payne said job-seeking skills can be learned and employers can be educated.
"There are a lot of advantages to the older worker. They are stable, hard working, dependable and have a lifetime of perspective."
Since many older job seekers want to work only part-time, they may find themselves competing with entry-level workers, Payne said. After an employer has spent an afternoon interviewing high school students, a stable, dependable older person can look pretty good.
The Career Guidance Center is a private business but offers a job-seeking skills class free to people age 55 and older.
Anderson said some discrimination is a fact of life.
"In a market with surplus workers, employers can pick and choose. It's only natural they would pick the person who fits in best with the office.
"They may be looking for a mature worker, a non-smoker or a member of the church."
But all counselors agree most employers choose employees by the impression they make, and an impression is something a job seeker can learn to control.
Call 226-5000 for information on the Center for Personal and Career Development. Call 373-7500 for Job Service. Call 377-7476 for the Career Guidance Center.