Standing out among thousands at a job fair

Sili Lemafa
Sili Lemafa
Curt Vaughan
Curt Vaughan
Steve Lopez
Steve Lopez

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - With today's tough economy, getting a job, isn't easy.

Just ask the thousands who showed up today at WorkForce, Hawaii's oldest and largest job fair.

Thousands packed the Neal Blaisdell Center, all competing for the same jobs. So how do you stand out from everyone else?

"Pretty much dress the part," said Sili Lemafa, jobseeker.

"I guess I can say I'm trying to be confident," said Roxanne Perez, jobseeker.

They're trying to land a spot with any of the 125 local and Mainland companies at WorkForce. Employers from a variety of industries, including retail and food service, are sifting through the 6,500 people who are here.

"We've handed out 500 applications and received about 200 back and hired a couple people on the spot," said Steve Lopez, director of distribution/facilities at Jeans Warehouse.

So what are employers looking for?

"Basically just for experience, skill set and basically store needs and warehouse needs," said Lopez.

"Usually it's personality. We look at experience but ours is more personality because we're tourism-based. We deal with a lot of people," said Curt Vaughan, product operations manager with Star of Honolulu.

Some job candidates are aware of that.

"Keep smiling. I noticed a lot of people out here look so serious, they're not smiling. I mean, this is Hawaii. Smile," said Lemafa.

Some of these people go to great lengths to set themselves apart from the rest. Vaughan, a former University of Hawaii volleyball player, gives us an example.

"I had a couple guys from Bulgaria show up at the office yesterday, all fill out their applications really wanted to come. The first thing I do, is I walk in the door here, and they're waiting for us somehow, I don't know how they knew I was coming in," said Vaughan.

Organizers of the job fair say, this is the second highest turnout they've had. The only other time more people attended this event, was right after 9/11.