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Pure Religion: Help in the job market

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Rene Fuenzalida felt ashamed. He was a leader of the Church in Chile. He had more than 20 years of management experience. He had a wife and six children. He had always been the one others came to when they needed help.

He had also been out of work for more than a year.

The economic situation was difficult in his country and it wasn't uncommon to hear of people being laid off, but he never thought it would happen to him. When it did, he assumed his background of logistics and international commerce would serve him well and that he would be back on his feet quickly.

But he wasn't. And every day that passed took a little more out of him, made him feel a little more discouraged, a little more defeated.

One evening, during a priesthood leadership meeting, he heard a report on the LDS Employment Resource Center in Santiago. The speaker claimed that those seeking employment could find real help there, that many had found new and better jobs.

"I felt very skeptical," said Brother Fuenzalida.

The job counselors at the employment center told him about the job search seminars they conducted and invited him to attend. But he couldn't bring himself to commit. Then another week passed without income and he knew he had to seek help.

"When I finally entered the center," he said, "everyone there treated me with such love and with such warmth, I knew that I was in a place that would be good for me."

Brother Fuenzalida began attending classes where he felt the Spirit. He realized that in spite of his extensive management experience, there were a number of things he was doing wrong when it came to finding a job. During the seminar, he learned how to write a resume that would grab an employer's attention, how to set up interviews and how to present himself during an interview.

Although he did not find new employment immediately, he did not allow himself to become discouraged. He continued to apply what he had learned until he finally accepted a management position with a large construction firm.

Today, Brother Fuenzalida still visits the employment resource center once a week where he teaches job-finding skills to those who are now facing what he had experienced himself.

— Neil K. Newell, Welfare Services