hickel jobs

Paula Hickel updates a job board listing at the Williston Job Services ND office in Williston. She's been posting a photo of the board on Facebook daily.

Job seekers have been outnumbering jobs for the past several months up through April, but the tables are turning, Williston’s Job Services ND office manager Paula Hickel says.

“It’s turned on its head,” she told the Williston Herald. “It went from slow and clearly more job seekers than jobs. In the last month, month and one-half it has gone the other way. We have seen the listings explode.”

It’s not just job postings, however. Interest in jobs is also exploding.

“We did a Facebook post that has over 50,000 people viewed,” Hickel said. “That is huge for us. You know, pretty much five times any posts we’ve ever had.”

And that was before the announcement that federal pandemic unemployment benefits would be ending.

“People are really getting that word circulated,” Hickel said.

While the numbers for May are not yet out, Hickel said it looks like the biggest jump has been for CDL drivers so far. Construction and extraction jobs are also on the rise.

“Those who were looking for those, they’re back,” she said. “Of course, we continue to have a lot of medical positions still at the top. But what was surprising inn the April report was that office and administrative support was No. 3 for job openings.”

And many of those had partial work from home type of opportunities, although some of those weren’t listed under Williston, but under telecommutes.

“You know, you have to be thinking outside the box with some of these things of what the possibilities are,” she said.

In the oil and gas sector, anything with the word technician in it seems to be on the rise, whether you’re looking at gas plants and pipelines, exploration, and auxiliary services like IT, hydrovac, and many others.

“If you have some oil and gas-related experience and you like to you know tinker, there’s probably a spot for you,” Hickel added. “We do see a lot of workover rig work picking up.”

Mechanics are also in demand, and were throughout the pandemic.

“We’re seeing really high demand for mechanics right now,” Hickel said. “Working on heavy equipment or being a diesel mechanic is a huge plus.”

Another category that’s posting lots of jobs right now is the hospitality sector, particularly in the Watford city area.

“They have some new restaurants in the last year, and they are always looking for servers, even managers, hotel front desk folks and things of that order,” Hickel said. “So there’s lots of opportunities in that sector and that’s in Williston as well.”

The oilfield listings are not quite as concentrated as they have been in the past.

“We kind of went fro when you looked in our job system for the Williston area it would be oil field oil field oil field and maybe the 10th job would not be oil field,” Hickel said. “I would say now you know every third job opening is something not directly oilfield.”

Listing jobs with Job Services ND is free, Hickel said, as are all the services they provide for job seekers, which includes everything from reviewing resumes, to more extensive help throughout the employment process.

“We can help people on either end of the spectrum,” Hickel said. “Come use the services, our computers, and whatever assistance we can provide you. With some people, it’s very little. Just hey, could you look at my resume and give me a little feedback. And some people really need to be assisted and walk through the entire process.”

In particular, Hickel said, if you’re not hearing back from employers, take advantage of expert advice to up your game a bit.

“You know we had a lady come in a couple of weeks ago and she had three different versions of her resume from different places,” Hickel said. “She spread them out and she said, which one do you like? And you know the direct answer was none. But I like some components of each of them.”

So they talked about how to mix and match components, and added a few things the woman had not thought about.

“You also really need to keep those things flexible and nimble, and suited to the job for which you’re applying,” she added. “using the language the employer used.”

Many employers these days are using keywords to sort resumes. If your resume doesn’t pop the right key words in, the sorter will miss it, despite perhaps having all the right experiences.

Hickel said she encourages people to use as many sources of job intelligence as possible. Some jobs are only advertised through word of mouth. She also hopes folks will follow Job Services ND Williston on Facebook, and help her spread the word on job postings by sharing posts.

“We really are trying hard to get the information out to people in a way that works for them,” Hickel said. “We realize that people don’t always want to sit through the job system every day. But (Facebook job posts) may catch their eye or one of their friends or family who are looking and if they just click follow, then it will naturally come through our feed to their feed.”

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