Library offers career services

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net
The Examiner

Because of the pandemic, many people have had to look for new jobs, or want to find better employment.

But in some cases, limited comfort with digital skills, resumes and interviews can hinder that search.

Mid-Continent Public Library’s Brian Cavender has met virtually and socially distanced with customers to help with various career services such as building resumes, interview prep and digital skills.

Helping people cross that bridge has become one of Mid-Continent Public Library’s non-traditional offerings. Brian Cavender, who oversees career services support as part of Mid-Continent’s Square One Small Business Services Team, said the rise in nearby unemployment numbers that he witnessed in the beginning of the year indicates a continuous, if not greater, need for such services.

Even during the pandemic, Cavender has been able to meet one on one with clients around the metro area, though right now such meetings are strictly virtual, while Mid-Continent decides on a more permanent setup.

“When the pandemic started and there was that initial spike (in unemployment), that of course was a huge deal and everybody was talking about it,” Cavender said. “People end up in these situations, and there’s a kind of a panic moment. It can be a paralyzing moment. Trying to make sure people have access to the information is what we mostly do.”

Even through Zoom or Facebook messenger, Cavender can help customers with building resumes, preparing for interviews and generally becoming more confident with computer programs. 

“We try to keep it with the people who have a digital divide, who have limited access to information and digital skills,” Cavender said. “We have several programs you can use to build a resume that don’t need many skills. I help them get comfortable and get started with it.”

Earlier, Cavender could meet some clients in a socially distanced setting at the Red Bridge branch, using two connected computers. The same idea can work virtually, though.

“They’re connected and set apart so we have access to the same computer,” he said. “I work on it with my laptop and set up a second monitor.”

To set up a career services appointment, people can call 816-518-1558 or visit mymcpl.org/career or inquire about the program by visiting their most convenient library branch.

“A lot of people don’t necessarily think about all the additional resources we provide,” Cavender said. “What we want to do is build a sense of transition for customers to take that next step, to more stable employment. We show them that they’re not just starting from scratch. There’s almost always some overlap with skills, and we help them see that.

“I’m willing to work with whoever needs my help in any capacity I can.”