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Career hunters

Kevin Imsdahl (left), technical field supervisor for Douglas Machine, and Rick Froemming, Douglas Machine production supervisor, talked to a student about job opportunities during Wednesday’s job fair at the Alexandria Technical and Community College. (Al Edenloff/Echo Press)1 / 2
Minnesota National Guard members Jacki Crotteau and Kyle Hartigan said a steady stream of students stopped by their booth at the job fair Wednesday. (Al Edenloff/Echo Press)2 / 2

By Amy Chaffins

and Al Edenloff

0 Talk about it

About 450 people attended the local job fair in Alexandria on Wednesday.

With resumes in-hand and aspirations for employment, job seekers checked out dozens of potential careers to pursue at the Greater Alexandria Area Job Resource Fair at the Alexandria Technical and Community College.

Many of the 52 employers who were at the fair were pleased with the turnout.

“It’s been awesome,” said Karen Schwieso, branch manager for Manpower. “A lot of good candidates stopped in and checked out a nice variety of jobs — part-time, temp and full-time.”

Last year, Schwieso noticed an uptick in manufacturing opportunities. “The number of people looking for manufacturing jobs really increased, which is great for this community.”

Schwieso’s assessment was echoed at the Douglas Machine job fair booth. “We’ve had a lot of tech school students come through,” said Rick Froemming, production supervisor. “We have a good relationship with the ATCC.”

Douglas Machine draws students from the college’s machine shop, mechatronics, design and drafting, and welding programs, said Froemming, who is optimistic about the industry’s immediate future. “Business is looking good for 2014,” he said.

The Minnesota National Guard booth was another popular stop. “We’ve been busy,” said Jackie Crotteau. “It’s been nice educating students about all the things the Guard has to offer.”

Another Guard booth worker, Kyle Hartigan, added that the Guard duty can serve as a launching pad for other careers because it helps members develop morals, discipline and other traits employers look for. For some careers, such as law enforcement, being a Guard member can add points to your job application.

Meanwhile, the local unemployment rate remains relatively low.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Douglas County’s unemployment rate stood at 4.2 percent as of December 2013.

That means of the county’s 20,512-person-workforce, approximately 857 people are unemployed in December.

In the latest state employment numbers, DEED noted Minnesota employers added 9,500 jobs in December, bringing total job gains in the state to 45,900 in the past year.

The state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent, well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.

One year ago, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent.


Only focusing on your resume and cover letter. Focus on marketing yourself as a professional and the value of your personal brand. Have a stellar online presence, making sure your LinkedIn profile is current and you’re using the best social media platforms for your career.

Make sure your Facebook profile is unsearchable. If you changed the spelling of your name on Facebook and applied every privacy setting to make it impossible to discover you, this could be a red flag to employers. Be as transparent as possible on social media.

Keep personal and professional online presence separate. Employers want to see that you’re able to blend your personal and professional lives as one on social media.

Apply to as many jobs as you can. People land jobs because they show employers they are qualified for the position through their experience, not because of a single qualification or skill.

Use as many buzzwords as possible in your resume. You should be able to support your qualification with an accomplishment story and use relevant keywords tailored to the position. This approach will help you stand out and make you appear more credible.

Source:, MN Department of

Employment and Economic Development