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REGIONAL JOB FAIR: Workshops help attendees prepare for interviews
2019 Regional Job Fair
The Regional Job Fair was last held in person in 2019. Organizers are excited to be back in person for 2021. (File | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — A series of free workshops will focus on ways job-seekers can best prepare to interview for jobs offered by employers in the 2021 Regional Job Fair in Covington.

The Job Fair is scheduled for July 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Georgia Piedmont Technical College’s Newton campus conference center at 8100 Bob Williams Parkway in Covington.

At least 60 local employers from Newton and Walton counties representing such industries as manufacturing and education are set to be on hand for the event. 

However, pre-fair workshops scheduled for Tuesday, July 13, and Wednesday, July 14 ,will focus on updating resumes, hard to employ workers, job fair preparation, transferable skills and more.

Irvin Clark, the college’s vice president of economic development, said part of the emphasis of the workshops “really is to help job-seekers in the region get ready for the Job Fair.” 

“It just helps job-seekers get ready for this job fair because we want these job-seekers to be career-ready when they walk in the door or they walk into that interview,” Clark said.

Carol Rayburn-Cofer, director of Worksource Northeast Georgia, said one workshop will help potential applicants build resumes that show how skills they may have developed in previous jobs can transfer to a new job.

Other workshops will discuss how to make good first impressions with employers; or proper dress for the interview and the job site, she said.

One will focus on how to overcome being considered “hard to employ.”

That term could apply to a wide range of job-seekers — from first-time workers to someone recently incarcerated, Rayburn-Cofer said.

The cost of daycare may have prompted some to become stay-at-home parents for a period of time, she said.

Others may have quit their jobs in the past year to stay home with their children because of the demands of remote learning or lack of daycare due to the pandemic.

“You have to explain gaps in your work,” she said.

Clark said many participating employers in the past said they wanted to see potential employees who were better prepared to interview for positions.

He said organizers were “targeting specific areas that industries have asked us to work with potential job-seekers on.”

He said many employers “have talked to us about some of the ‘soft skills’ that are missing when they speak to potential applicants,” Clark said. 

Those areas include identifying transferable skills, dressing properly, how to do well in interviews, proper communication, and more.

 “Soft skills” are roughly defined as a set of transferable skills that are important in a work setting but cannot be easily taught in a classroom.

They include everything from teamwork to time management, organization, leadership and more. “Transferable” means they can be used in many different kinds of job settings. 

The college has helped organize the Regional Job Fair annually since 2017.

Clark said this is the first year workshops will be offered before the event rather than during the Fair.

“We actually had the workshops on-site (in previous years),” Clark said.

Registration deadline is Monday, July 12, for the workshops and can be done online at bit.ly/3qkgqol.

GPTC is working with the Newton County Industrial Development Authority, Newton County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Walton County to present the Job Fair. 

Visit gptc.edu/regional-job-fair/ for more information.