Store closures may open new opportunities for retail workers

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Many people who work in retail in our area may be considering a career change after several national chains recently announced store closures.

Both Kmart and Sears will close three central Pennsylvania stores within the next two months. While the limited just shut down all of its stores on Saturday.

Pennsylvania CareerLink offers help for job seekers.

The Sears store at the Capital City Mall in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County is scheduled to close its doors sometime in February. It may come as unsettling news to some workers but this could also open up new opportunities for job seekers.

Now that the holidays are over, the crowds are gone and for some retail workers, so are their jobs after several major retailers announced the closing of hundreds of stores across the country. Not all is lost for those employees.

Pennsylvania CareerLink administrator Lori Rank said "there are still a lot of retailers out there, and they are always looking for employees. I actually had someone call of a large mini-market calling me who is very interested in when these layoffs occur, to connect with the individuals that are being laid off."

With Sears, Kmart, and The Limited shutting five central Pennsylvania stores, many of their employees may be shopping for a new job. Rank is one person who can help.

"When you come into a CareerLink, they're learning to get a job all over again. If you haven't written a resume in two to three years, you need to learn how to write that resume again. You need to hear what are the right buzz words to say in an interview, what not to say in an interview," Rank said.

While some retailers are closing doors, the loss of a job may open up new doors for some retail workers.

"That means you work with the customers ,every day. This will really revolve into a customer service position or it could revolve into a warehouse position. It could revolve into clerical work. So, there are a lot of opportunity with those individuals that are being laid off," Rank said.

Rank believes the outlook for future job opportunities is good.

"The one thing about a CareerLink that a lot of people don't know that they need to know, is that we can help individuals take their skills, and write that up correctly so it looks good on a resume, and will lead them into a next job," Rank said.

CareerLink has about 40,000 job listings available. The organization will often pay employers to train temporary workers, who may be hired as full-time employees after completing a six-month training period.