Goodwill job fair aims at addressing one of economy’s lingering challenges


By Chase Kamp

Many know the dozens of Valley Goodwill retail stores as great places to find deals on donated items. However, the nonprofit company is primarily dedicated to providing employment opportunities and training for those facing the biggest uphill climb in today’s tough job market.

As part of that mission, Goodwill of Central Arizona will hold a job fair on Thursday, July 18, from noon to 4 p.m. at Embassy Suites, 4400 S. Rural Road, Tempe.

There, an expected 30 or more employers will meet with potential candidates and conduct interviews.

Summer Dunham, marketing communications manager for Goodwill of Central Arizona, said the company holds similar fairs around the Valley nearly every week. However, fairs of this size come around only about once every quarter. This time, a few hundred job hopefuls are expected to attend.

In order for prospective hires to stand out and help boost their chances of getting a job, the company has a few simple tips on how to best prepare for a sit-down with a hiring manager.

Before coming down to the fair, Dunham said applicants should set some employment goals. “We encourage thinking about what kind of job they are looking for and to explain why they would be an asset to a company,” she said.

Those looking to apply for the many available positions should arrive early to make time for each one, she added, while others with more specific goals should emphasize those particular employers on which they’ve set their sights.

The companies seeking applicants range from retail to banking to customer service, and are looking to fill a variety of positions from entry level to professional. Some of the bigger names include American Valet, Circle K, Fed Ex, Fry’s, Verizon, Domino’s and Charles Schwab.

Dressing professionally is a huge factor. Dunham advised against any ripped clothes, flip-flops or heavy makeup, saying conservative dress is the best bet.

Once in the door, candidates should keep a positive attitude and put on a big smile, she added.

After sitting down with a company representative, candidates should not ask about pay or vacation time right off the bat. They should also be sure to leave the kiddos at home.

“Make sure you focus on the employer and not get distracted by a little one that needs your attention also,” she said.

In 2012, Goodwill of Central Arizona provided assistance in the job hunt for nearly 42,000 youth and adults, securing more than 15,563 employment opportunities. The company is an advocate for those with vocational disadvantages or disabilities, aiming to serve those hindered by mental and emotional barriers, physical disabilities, welfare dependency, illiteracy and age.

Dunham encourages attendees that may need a leg up on preparation to visit a Goodwill career center. “They can meet with one of our advisers at no cost and get fully prepared for our job fair,” she said.

The company has 16 career centers Valley-wide. A full list of career centers, as well as more information on Goodwill of Central Arizona, can be found at



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