Because of the economic downturn, many Hernando County residents find themselves in need of a job. Going door to door is one way of finding one, but summer is here and it's hot out there.
Why not begin at the library?
The Hernando County Public Library offers many free resources to assist patrons in their job searches.
As always, help-wanted ads can be found in local newspapers at all branches, but Internet access is becoming an essential part of the job search process.
There are thousands of Web sites listing job openings in Florida, the United States and abroad — from the large, comprehensive sites such as monster.com to those dealing with specific career fields.
Many large corporations, as well as local, state and federal government agencies, also list job openings and provide downloadable applications on their Web sites.
Job seekers can log on to the Internet at any branch of the library. Patrons are permitted two sessions per day, 15 to 55 minutes each. You can make a reservation for the next available computer, or reserve one for later in the day.
There also is free, unlimited wireless service during library hours for those with their own laptops. If you need to fax your resume or other documents, fax service is available for a fee.
If you don't already have an e-mail account, you may want to set one up before you begin your search. Applying for a job online usually requires an e-mail address, and e-mail is a good way for job seekers to network, stay on top of the job market and communicate with prospective employers.
Many e-mail accounts are free and take only a few minutes to set up. Ask a librarian if you need assistance.
Most employers require completion of an online application or posting your resume to their Web site. Library staffers can guide you to the appropriate Web page and get you started on the application process.
Use caution when completing an online application or posting your resume. The librarian at your branch can help you find information on protecting your personal data and avoiding scams as you search.
An effective resume and cover letter are important to getting an interview. Whether you need to update your resume or write a new one, the library offers a large selection of books on how to write resumes and cover letters.
The public computers at all branches include word processing programs and resume templates. Computers designated for word processing only are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and printing is available.
There are also books that offer advice on how to prepare for an interview.
The library's electronic databases are valuable resources for the job seeker. It's a good idea to be on top of recent trends and research in your field of interest, and the InfoTrac database is a great source for academic and magazine articles in many fields.
Another helpful database is the Testing & Education and Reference Center. It includes complete online study guides and practice tests for professional licenses, civil service and college entrance exams, as well as the GED and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
Interviewers expect applicants to be familiar with the company to which they are applying, and the Reference USA and Newsbank databases are quick and reliable ways to get news and background information related to corporations.
All of these databases are available via the library home page — www.hcpl.lib.fl.us — inside any of the library branches and from home.
If you're considering a new career, the library carries books exploring various career fields, such as the Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance and the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Both are published annually and contain a wealth of information about training and education requirements, salaries, working conditions and the job availability outlook. (The Occupational Outlook Handbook is also available online.)
The demand by employers for computer skills, both basic and advanced, grows daily. If you are a computer novice or just want to improve your skills, the library offers free computer classes at our West Hernando and Spring Hill branches from September through May.
We also have books on Word, Excel, surfing the Internet and computer basics. Librarians can also provide brief, impromptu one-on-one assistance if needed.
Visit your local branch and learn how we can help you find your new job. All library locations and hours are available on our Web site: www.hcpl.lib.fl.us.
Peter Tuite is a reference librarian for the Hernando County Public Library System.