OAKLAND (KCBS)— At 13 percent, Oakland’s unemployment rate is far above the state and national average but, a series of classes at Oakland and Berkeley’s public libraries is helping those looking for work tap into the hidden job market.

About 20 people searching for work gathered in the basement of the Oakland Public Library’s main branch for Job on!, a series of four classes taught by teacher, small-business owner and librarian Nancy Rhoda.

“People are the ones that make the hiring decisions. So you can be friendly with the internet, but unless you’re friendly with some of those people you’re not going to get a job,” she said.

Rhoda explained that networking in person exposes you to unadvertised jobs or what she calls the hidden job market.

Among those in the class is an attorney, a stay-at-home mom looking to get back into work, a couple of recent college grads as well as a dissatisfied receptionist.

Lee Saffron has a masters in library science and wants to work in a library, archive or information profession.

“I work as a hockey referee to pay the bills for now,” he said with laughter in his voice about his current situation.

Rhoda stressed the importance of keeping emotions in check and not taking rejection personal, honing your job goal and to remain patient, persistent and positive.

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