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Opinion: Career specialists offer tips to young job seekers

BARRINGTON – Be punctual, network with family and friends and learn how to "tell a story in a manner that makes people interested in you" are a few tips two Barrington career specialists recommend for young people seeking summer employment.

"Punctuality is a timeless request of employers," said Barrington High School Business Internship Coordinator Ellen Corcoran.

For 13 years, Corcoran has been teaching Barrington students the importance of developing what she calls the "soft skills" of being on time, dressing professionally and learning how to get along with people. Corcoran said these skills are vital to winning jobs.

Corcoran advises young people to network with family and friends, and families of friends.

"This is often overlooked." Corcoran said.

Corcoran said job applicants also need to remember to dress well and "even to drop off an application because first impressions count."

Chris Campbell, executive director of CareerPlace, a Barrington-based non-profit, volunteer- driven organization that has assisted job seekers for 20 years, said developing good verbal and written skills is extremely important.

"Know your strengths," the former toy manufacturing marketing executive said. "Be able to communicate what values you can bring to an organization and be able to tell a story in a manner that makes people interested in you."

Why use stories?

"The story form is more memorable and personable," Campbell said, "They must be told in an honest way."

Because it's difficult to talk about one's own accomplishments, Campbell suggests writing them down and then "creating opportunities to deliver them in front of another person that can give you feedback."

Campbell advises job seekers to use the "three B's," when discussing accomplishments.

"Be brief, be believable and bridge back to your strengths," Campbell said meaning "keep coming back to your core message and what you can deliver to the organization."

When Corcoran was asked what the summer youth market looks like, she was upbeat, claiming it is "definitely improving over past years."

Growth areas include food service and retail jobs, Corcoran said.

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