Job-search resources expand at Los Altos JVS

"Anyone who walks in" is eligible for the low-cost assistance, says Finetti.

At the office, Finetti — who holds a master's degree in psychology — advises visitors on such job-search necessities as writing resumes, maximizing job contacts, utilizing newspaper listings, interviewing and — perhaps most crucial of all — choosing careers.

The initial consultation is free, with a nominal charge for subsequent services. A $50 basic employment package includes two individual 60-minute appointments with Finetti, one workshop and unlimited access to support groups, job listings and the office's resource library.

Meeting fellow job seekers at workshops and in support groups is invaluable, Finetti says, enabling group members to develop their networking skills.

At some JVS workshops, participants assess each other's interviewing skills, clarifying what does and does not "work."

"Sometimes people can't see their own faults until they see them in someone else," Finetti explains.

Faults are often "easy to fix," she says, adding that most clients should see results after only two to five sessions.

"Maybe it's the way they carry themselves." Or perhaps, she says, a job seeker has been repeatedly foiled because of not knowing certain essentials, "like that you should never fax a cover letter."

Or maybe someone has "worked 15 jobs, all different," and needs help making this scattered job history look good on a resume.

After assessing a client's needs, including relevant emotional and personal issues, Finetti addresses them directly and frankly.

"When someone says, `I don't understand why I can't get a job,' what they really want is honesty," Finetti says. "You can't afford not to be honest where there are finances involved."

In addition to expanding in-house services — a move facilitated by a Jewish Community Endowment Fund grant — Finetti is working to establish the South Peninsula Jewish Employment Network. The network aids job-seeking Jews throughout the South Peninsula area, linking them with potential employers.

Finetti meets weekly with consultant Harriet Schiftan to update the network, which job-seekers can access either through their rabbis or at the JVS office.

JVS always welcomes new job listings. Finetti emphasizes that employers pay no fees either to list jobs or to hire JVS clients. The office handles jobs in all fields — from high-tech, biotechnology and the arts to management and medicine.

The Jewish Vocational Service is a constituent agency of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation.