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The brighter side of the job search

Daria Lenz started her new, full-time job on Monday. She now sells online training and continuing education to architects and engineers at Tampa's Red Vector after working for an area wine and spirits distributor. A Red Vector recruiter approached her after finding a dated version of her resume on the CareerBuilder Web site.

Lenz, 41 with 12 years of past technology jobs, jumped at an offer in her preferred field. "I'm looking forward to my new adventure," she says.

John Franz had a decade at Ocala mortgage banking giant Taylor, Bean & Whitaker when the company fell into bankruptcy. Franz and most of the firm's IT staff were let go on Aug. 5.

So began four months of unemployment during which Franz sent out 150 resumes. His resume on the Monster.com job site was discovered by Tampa's Vertical IT Solutions. The firm handles tech outsourcing for area companies.

A recruiter liked Franz's Navy background and tech experience, but balked at his distant home base of Ocala.

After two interviews, Franz convinced him. "When I commit to a job, I am there," says Franz, 37, who, since taking the position of field engineer last month, lives during the week at a Tampa hotel.

For those out of work and still hunting amid a dismal unemployment rate, take heart. There really are some jobs out there. People really are getting full-time positions with benefits.

And, at least for Lenz and Franz, resumes posted on those giant jobs sites CareerBuilder and Monster — black holes to so many who post their credentials and hear nothing — apparently do get read by recruiting businesses.

Lenz's start this week came four months after being contacted by Red Vector. "It gives somebody hope that your resume does get seen," she says. The company wanted to interview others after contacting Lenz, but she was pleased Red Vector was thorough.

On Tuesday, her second day, she attended a party celebrating monthly sales goals. There was plenty of personal recognition, she says, in contrast to her previous job, largely spent driving around by car.

But Lenz knows lots of friends without work.

Franz does, too, including many of his former co-workers at Taylor Bean. He says his first 2½ months of unemployment were hard because nobody responded to his inquiries. And Ocala, his home, suffered from a 13 percent jobless rate even before his company, a major employer, faltered. That's one reason he sought jobs in larger Tampa and as far away as Las Vegas and California.

Now employed, he hopes to move his family soon from Ocala to eastern Pasco County.

Vertical IT Solutions and Red Vector — smaller, private businesses — may not be high profile, but they typify the vast majority of Tampa Bay's entrepreneurial businesses. Both have even been growing, albeit slowly, during the past difficult year.

Here and there, other companies are hiring, too.

At Tech Data Corp. in Clearwater, Michael Shaughnessy relocated from Chicago and started work on Dec. 14 as a senior accountant after four months of job hunting.

And at Tampa Bay & Co., Hillsborough County's tourism promotion group, Marisol Berrios was just hired as international sales manager for the leisure sales department.

Job seekers, keep the faith. And keep up the hunt.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@sptimes.com.

The brighter side of the job search 01/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:55am]
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