WESTFIELD-As businesses across the region continue to post “help wanted” signs, and as more states continue to opt out of extended federal unemployment benefits, local residents who are unemployed are reminded that the Westfield Athenaeum can be a valuable resource for resume assistance and job hunting.
“As everything in the area has begun to open up more, we’ve noticed an uptick in patrons needing resources and support for job hunting,” said Kelsey Socha, head of adult services at the Athenaeum.
Socha noted that the Athenaeum has been offering job hunting resources and now with a refreshed, easy to use website, the links are easier to navigate.
“Our whole reference department is working on this project,” said Socha. “While no one at the Athenaeum is a job hunting expert, we’re happy to connect patrons to resources that might help them write cover letters and resumes, work with online resume coaches, and learn what jobs might be a good fit for them.”
Socha said one of the resources, Peterson’s Career Prep, is being offered free to all Massachusetts residents thanks to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).
“Our new website launched at the end of April and while our resources were available sooner, they’re much easier to find now,” said Socha, adding the Athenaeum also recently added the database Brainfuse.
“While Brainfuse is primarily a homework help resource for school-aged learners, it also offers live resume and cover letter help, GED prep, and MS Office skills training,” said Socha, noting a Westfield library card is needed to access Brainfuse.
Socha said Peterson’s Career Prep is a “fantastic resource” because users can create their own account to save their resumes, as well as link it to their email.
“Peterson Career Prep also makes it super easy to input your information from various jobs, and it looks professional and clean without needing to do a lot of design work,” said Socha.
“We recently chose to add Brainfuse primarily to help families who may need additional homework help, but we’re thrilled that it also offers job hunting and lifelong learning opportunities.”
For some unemployed individuals who may be job hunting for the first time in a long time – navigating career resources online can be challenging and frustrating.
“Many resume builders and cover letter services are hard to use, and some may even charge fees,” said Socha. “We are proud to be publicizing resources that are totally free, relatively easy to use, and have been evaluated by professional librarians.”
On the Athenaeum’s website, a section of resources on “Careers and Job Searching” can be found at https://www.westath.org/online-resources/
“We’ve always been happy to connect area residents to resources that might aid them in their job searches,” said Socha. “While Brainfuse and Peterson’s Career Prep are relatively new additions to our resources, we have offered both books and online resources for job seekers for quite a long time, and we intend to keep upping our offerings for a while to come.”
Socha said that Athenaeum staffers are not trained career counselors so they are unable to review resumes or cover letters, however, there is help through MassHire and with live online help from the Brainfuse database.
“For anyone who just needs a little help finding out how to put together a resume, finding online resources, or using our computers to apply for a job, we are always happy to help,” she said.
For persons interested in making an appointment to use a computer, call (413) 568-7833.
“We offer computer appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” said Socha. “If you just need internet access, our wifi is always free and open 24/7 in our parking lot or children’s garden, thanks to Whip City Wireless.”
Socha said that plans to expand hours during the summer are being finalized at press time.
Resources also offered include access to the Vocations and Careers Collection through the MBLC.
“It is a great resource to help patrons figure out their vocation and start their job search,” said Socha. “We link to MassHire, which has sites in Springfield and Holyoke, and is a fantastic local job hunting resource, and currently is totally virtual. In general, there are a lot of library and state resources out there that are really reputable and helpful that folks looking for jobs or planning for career transitions might not know about.”