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Hundreds of job seekers attend fair in Pictou County

Allison Hartson and Ashdenne Pitts of Pictou Lodge speak with job seeker David MacKinnon at a job fair hosted by Career Connections Nova Scotia Works Pictou County
on Wednesday.
Allison Hartson and Ashdenne Pitts of Pictou Lodge speak with job seeker David MacKinnon at a job fair hosted by Career Connections Nova Scotia Works Pictou County on Wednesday.

Armed with resumes, job seekers by the hundreds stopped by a job fair at the Pictou County Wellness Centre on Wednesday looking for employment.

David MacKinnon was one of them, travelling to Pictou County from Halifax to see what jobs are available because he and his wife want to move their young family away from the hustle and bustle of the urban area.

“We don’t want to live in the city anymore,” he said. “We have two kids and we want to move to a rural area. We thought it would be a good opportunity to come check it out.”

Pam Keizer of Sunny Brae also attended to see what jobs are out there. She and her husband relocated from Ontario fairly recently, after he retired, and she’s ready to get back into the workforce. She said she found a lot of interesting prospects, including jobs she hadn’t considered before.

“It’s great to see that there are employment opportunities available. That’s the impressive thing. I don’t think people realize how much is out there. These job fairs can open your eyes to that.”

Organized by Career Connections Nova Scotia Works Pictou County, the job fair featured 37 employers representing various industries such as health care, construction, hospitality, sales and service. The event attracted unemployed people, individuals looking for a different job from their current one, and students seeking summer work.

Pictou Lodge Beach Resort was one of the employers. General manager Wes Surrett said the lodge always has seasonal openings. While there’s a great employee return rate, because of a 10 to 15 per cent increase in business in each of the last several years and a lot of bookings for the upcoming season, he will be hiring more people than usual this year.

Surrett said Pictou Lodge used to have its own job fair, but the Career Connections event works much better. “We get to meet a lot more people here than doing it on our own,” he said, noting that sometimes they meet people who didn’t come to the event seeking a job at the resort, but who are a great fit for the industry.

He said it’s also a chance to have quick interviews with people that provide more information than reading a cover letter and resume. “Here you get that first impression.”

Ryan Northover, the director of client services for web.com, agrees that participating in the job fair is useful for that purpose and “getting to speak with them face to face. You only get so much from a resume. I like the interaction and I get a stack of resumes really quick.”

The company, which provides a range of Internet services to small businesses, set up in New Glasgow in September. Initially starting with 70, it has now doubled its workforce to 140.

Although not currently hiring, web.com expects to take on another 20 employees within the next few months, said Northover. “We are continuing to grow our employee base,” he said, adding that projections are to eventually employ 300.

Heather MacIsaac, an employment engagement specialist with Career Connections Nova Scotia Works Pictou County, said the fair had a great turnout, with more than 700 job seekers attending.

She said this is the fourth time Career Connections has hosted the job fair at the Wellness Centre, and it’s grown each year.

MacIsaac noted that next year the fair may move to the arena surface in order to accommodate more employers. “We have a waiting list of 12 employers we had to turn away because there’s just no room.”

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