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Placement company provides free job-search advice

Tuesday - 12/27/2011, 4:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON - For the next two days, a Chicago-based placement firm will suspend normal business operations and offer free job-search advice to callers from across the country.

For the 26th year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. is offering its staff of professional counselors to America's unemployed.

The call-in takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Dec. 27 and 28. The telephone number is 312-422-5010.

Due to the popularity of the service, the phone lines have gone down intermittently. Colleen Madden, media relations manager from Challenger, Gray and Christmas, recommends callers keep trying the number every half hour or so in order to get through.

"The employment situation did see some improvement in 2011," CEO John A. Challenger says in a news release. "Employers in the private sector have added 1.7 million workers to their payrolls since January 1 and, last month, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since March 2009."

"Unfortunately, the recovery has a long way to go with more than 13 million Americans out of work, another 6.6 million who have abandoned the job search but still want a job, and nearly 5.7 million have been unemployed for six months or longer," he says.

The firm found planned job-cut announcements are up slightly from 2010.

During the two-day free job advice call-in, counselors try to provide callers with strategies that will increase their odds of being in the best position when job openings materialize, Challenger says.

He recommends taking advantage of professional and social networks: Don't be afraid to let everyone you know that you are looking for a job.

The most common complaint counselors hear during the the two-day event is that after submitting hundreds of resumes, job seekers never hear back from anyone.

"Unfortunately, simply posting resumes on Internet job sites and answering classified ads rarely work, even in a good job market, " he says.

Challenger encourages job seekers to look outside the box -- include a wide variety of industries, companies and cities.

The company provides job-search training and transition counseling to those who have been laid off. Their services are normally available to individuals who receive outplacement benefits from their former employers.

For more tips on finding a job, follow this link.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)