September 26, 2016 - 8:00 PM
VERNON - It was Christmastime and both Krystal Holland and her husband had been laid off.
Not good news when you have three kids, the 33-year-old Vernon woman says. Unfortunately, it wasn't so easy finding another job.
“I would sit there for at least four hours a day making custom resumes,” she says, adding she sent more than 150 resumes with no bites. “It was definitely not fun.”
No stranger to applying for jobs, Holland has been working since she had her first child as a teen. Her resume spans everything from pet shop worker to matchmaker and almost everything in between.
“I used to never have a problem finding a job,” she says. “When I was younger I could hand out a resume and get a job, but it was harder now, because something had changed. I was applying for jobs that weren’t necessarily revolving doors where I might be back in the same situation in six months. I wanted job security.”
But even the so-called entry-level jobs weren’t easy pickings either. During that discouraging job hunt, Holland — who is just a few credits away from a geology degree — remembers applying for anything and everything, including a job as a pizza delivery person, and getting few, if any calls for interviews.
“At that point it was anything that was going to bring money in,” she says.
The turning point in her search came from the local Work B.C. centre — North Okanagan Community Futures — a place Holland has been making use of since she was 18. She’s taken most of their free courses over the years and, once again, says they pulled through for her.
She got a temporary position with the Downtown Vernon Association thanks to a government-funded job creation program where she got paid and also learned new skills. When that wrapped up, the staff at Community Futures already had something else in the works — an interview with Sproing Creative. Even though she didn’t quite have all the qualifications, the company knew right away she was a good fit and hired her through a wage subsidy program.
“When you’re looking for jobs, a lot of people expect three years of experience. How are you supposed to get the experience if no one gives you a chance?” Holland says. “More employers should do the wage subsidy program — it’s a way for employers to get half your wages reimbursed while they train you.”
Things worked out for Holland at Sproing. She has a secure job that she loves — plus her very first business card. And she’s encouraging others to learn from her story and make use of the jobs centre.
“People think it’s just for people on welfare, or on the street, but you could be the CEO of a company that goes under and they will help you,” Holland says.
Holland’s experience isn’t uncommon. Leeann Wilhelm, with North Okanagan Community Futures, says on any given day, the centre might see 100 people walk through the doors looking for help.
“We see all sorts of people, professionals, students,” Wilhelm says.
It can be a tough and competitive job market, which is why Wilhelm says it’s important to have a polished resume and know the skills that set you apart.
“It costs you nothing to come in and get a resume that will get you the job, or at least the interview,” she says.
She says people don’t always know they have transferrable skills, or that they may actually be qualified for a certain position. The centre networks with many local businesses, some of whom only advertise positions with Community Futures.
“When people are job searching it can be depressing,” she says. “A lot of times, people show up here and they realize they don’t have to do it alone.”
She knows, because she was one of them. She walked into Community Futures several years ago looking for a job, and told the case manager she wanted to work there. She was hired, and never left.
“Six years later, here I am,” she says.
Community Futures is located at 3105 33 Street in Vernon, and serves the entire North Okanagan.
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