While the unemployment rate here in Virginia is sitting below the national average at 5.6% the demand for full-time work is still high, especially for minorities.

The latest data shows that the national unemployment rate is about 7.3%.
And although the economy is slowly recovering, employers we spoke to tonight say they're eager to hire all people who are eager to work.

It's all about a strong handshake, a positive, confident attitude and the ability to network.

That's what Cassandra Williams says are her secret weapons to get the attention of prospective employers.

"Having that direct interview, even it's only for 2 minutes, having that direct interview kind of shows your personality, and it compensates for exactly what they might be looking for."

A former teacher who was recently laid off, Williams is currently working two part-time jobs. She says in this economy, she's got to manage her career expectations.


"I'm looking at opportunities for different avenues to open,work fields to open. My family is big time into health care so I've been looking at the health care field." "It's just looking at different options."

Cassandra is one of many trying to find steady and reliable work. That's why Pastor Dowell and Shiloh Baptist Church brought together some of the leading companies in the area. Although a small gesture, the pastor says, you never know.

"Individuals throughout the valley who attended the job fair that found employment, who was unemployed and also there were individuals who were able to find new employment to better themselves," Dowell told WDBJ7.

Dowell says, his church is a predominantly minority one and these events are as much for the employer as they are for potential employees. Companies like Carilion Clinic and BB & T Bank agree, saying they're looking to broaden the workforce.

"We are always looking for good associates, excellent associates. We're looking for diversity in our work force," Connie Pool of BB & T Bank told Your Hometown News Leader.

Kim Gonce of Carilion Clinic said, "We're always looking for diversity and just different cultures to come into our clinic and to work with our clinic."

By the end of the event, Cassandra, had made the rounds to all the employers on hand and was fresh out of resumes. She hopes the next handshake will come with the words, "you're hired."