The most important financial event in your life can be landing a job. And when readers write in saying, "Thanks, but how about helping me find work?" how can I refuse?
First place to start the hunt is a supportive environment. That would be the Free Library of Philadelphia, both the central library at 1901 Vine St., just off the Parkway - where a job fair is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 21 on the first floor - and the regional libraries, such as the Paschalville branch, at 6942 Woodland Ave.
Then there's the Free Library's year-round career center. To get there, visit the central library, walk to the marble staircase, go upstairs to the second floor, and ask for "the Workplace."
There, you'll find library card-holders with current career ideas, job-search techniques, and emerging employment fields. (By the way, you can sign up for a library card online at www.freelibrary.org.)
Once you're at the Workplace, ask for librarians such as Paul Savedow and Ed Voves, who can give you the "cook's tour," as Voves calls it, and help you sign up and reserve computer time.
"We encourage people to come and create a digital resumé," he says; you can e-mail it to yourself or save on a USB drive. "We can't legally type a resumé for you, but we can show you how to get started."
Among the other perks of the Workplace: free Internet access for job searching; sample resumé and cover letters, and books and DVDs on interviewing and careers.
Call 215-686-5436 if you want to schedule a computer session ahead of time.
The Free Library maintains shelves full of sample city and State of Pennsylvania civil service exams (check phila.gov/personnel and scsc.state.pa.us for employment opportunities), as well as military, police and fire department tests and tests for federal jobs (check usajobs.gov for openings).
Librarian Rachel Hayes directs clients to websites such as CareerCruising.com, Indeed.com or GrooveJob.com for teenagers, students and others seeking part-time or summer jobs.
My favorite sites are JobGateway (jobgateway.pa.gov), to search for jobs nationally, and Commonwealth Workforce Development System (cwds.pa.gov).
The Urban League of Philadelphia, at 121 S. Broad St. (urbanleaguephila.org), offers one-on-one job coaching and job-application clinics, such as a Career Center Orientation on Monday at 1:30 p.m. and a Resumé Workshop on Tuesday at 10 a.m. On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the city of Philadelphia will hold a jobs information session and resumé review at the Urban League's offices. For details, drop in or call 215-985-3220, Ext. 210.
Pennsylvania's CareerLink offers employment workshops and has a great website (philaworks.org/career-link/home) that links directly to jobs in your field. CareerLink has offices at Suburban Station in Center City and elsewhere around Philadelphia. For information, call 215-557-2592.
Kevin O'Brien, founder of PhillyVeterans.com, says, "Truth be told, the unemployment rate for veterans is and has always been lower than the national average," currently 5.3 percent for vets versus 5.5 percent nationally, he estimates.
An Olney native, O'Brien and his wife, Nicole, create virtual job fairs to connect veterans with employers in the area, from Aramark to Vanguard. Their goal: for 2,000 Philadelphia-area veterans to find jobs in 2015.
The Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network was founded by Alex Archawski, who transitioned twice out of the service (in 1999 and 2002). Since 2003, he has repeatedly served as a mentor, and in 2010 he created GPVN to formalize the program, which includes professional career coaches, mentorship and entrepreneurship workshops. Visit www.gpvn.org for more details.
Need a suit or professional attire? The Drexel Alumni Association and the Drexel University Student Veterans Association plan an Attire Drive for veterans on May 19 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The university is the venue, Drexel's Bossone Building on Market Street. Suits for men and suits and other professional clothing for women are free to veterans.
Later this year, the Union League of Philadelphia will host a Veterans Jobs Fair on Oct. 20 in coordination with the Veterans Initiative, the Armed Services Council, and American Legion Post 405. For information, contact Rebecca Rhoads, Veterans Initiative coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Let the job hunt begin. Go get 'em! I'm rooting for you.
The Free Library plans these Workplace entry-level job fairs. Times are still to be set for some dates. For more information, call the Workplace at 215-686-5436.
Paschalville Neighborhood Library, 6942 Woodland Ave., April 20
Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St., 9 a.m. to
1 p.m. May 21
Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave.,
Coleman Northwest Library, 68 W. Chelten Ave.,
McPherson Square Library, 601 E. Indiana Ave.,