Laura Allred wants a job, ideally one with more than 30 hours a week so she can pay the bills.
Since getting laid off from her job at Pasco's Jury Box Cafe in December, Allred has sent out more than 50 job applications without much success.
"I've looked at just about everything," said Allred, 52, of Kennewick.
She came to a recent job fair at Columbia Basin College to apply for seasonal retail jobs. But getting a job is difficult, particularly for an older person without a college degree, said Allred, a 1975 graduate of Kamiakin High.
Job growth is slowing in the Tri-City area and there are more people looking for work, said Dean Schau, state regional labor economist. That makes finding a job harder because employers have a larger pool of potential employees to choose from, whether for a seasonal retail job or long-term career position, he said.
Career experts say job seekers who want to stand out need to have skills others don't possess, show an understanding of the business or company they want to work for, and above all, need to work out a plan for success.
It's not just older workers like Allred who are having a hard time finding a job.
Recent college graduate Sarah Damstedt, 19, of Richland, works part time at Toyota Center. She attended the CBC job fair because she wants to find a full-time job or a second part-time job so she can pay off loans she took out while getting a degree in recreation management from Brigham Young University.
Since August, she has applied for 20 to 30 positions but has had just five interviews so far, she said. Though she was filling out applications, she said she worries employers in retail and customer services don't hire those with college degrees.
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