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Midlands Market Abuzz with Tech Jobs Advanced Manufacturing and Nuclear Close Behind By Kristine Hartvigsen


he field of information technology (IT) reigns supreme in the Midlands job market, with health care and insurance IT jobs comprising a significant subsection of the pot, according to local job experts.

“The number of vacancies in the IT field in our area is just amazing,” says Marshall “Sonny” White, president of Midlands Technical College. The reasons are many, including the influence of the web, social media, cloud computing and big-data analytics.

Insurance IT In the specific area of insurance IT, the Columbia area is way out front. “We are the insurance technology leader in the nation here in the greater Columbia


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area,” White says. “People just don’t realize that Blue Cross Blue Shield is mainly a technology company that just happens to handle insurance applications” and related matters. Vicki Hamby, associate director of the University of South Carolina Career Center, concurs. “IT is a particularly strong need in the Midlands market,” she says. Job candidates with IT skills have a leg up in today’s competitive market, especially since Columbia has become an insurance IT hub. A study titled “Insurance Technology

and Services South Carolina,” published in March 2012, found that the insurance IT industry in the Midlands alone supports some 15,000 jobs and contributes an estimated $6.7 billion in economic impact annually. Supplemental insurer Aflac in Columbia added 1,000 jobs in just the past couple of years, White notes, and the upward trend continues. Changes coming to health care also will influence what the market is likely to do in the coming year or two. “We have over 37,000 jobs in the Midlands of South Carolina in health care,” White notes, with a significant portion of them in insurance IT. The Affordable Care Act only portends additional shifts in demand for skilled workers. “We all know that it is changing,” White says. “We don’t know what the landscape is going to look like in the next five to 10 years. We know electronic medical records is going to explode.” In fact, Midlands Tech is looking at how to expand its offerings in health care records/information management to meet the need. It’s also shoring up its programs for nurses, dental lab technicians, nuclear medicine technicians, and other in-demand health care areas. “In the health care field, all of our programs are always full up,” White says. White spends a majority of his time out in the local business community learning

about the latest employment trends. In discussions with area hospital administrators, he has learned that hospital officials are expecting to see a significant increase in the number of perhaps newly insured people seeking front-end care as well as an increasing need for health-care generalists who not only have patient care skills but some IT skills as well. They will be looking for the “double-threat” candidates to fill this anticipated need.  

Manufacturing on the Rebound

Another hot area for jobs in the Palmetto State is in technology-driven advanced manufacturing. “What we’ve been seeing in recent years is a ‘re-shoring’ of advanced manufacturing,” White explains. “South Carolina is particularly ahead of the curve. The governor and (Commerce Secretary) Bobby Hitt have done a great job,” he says, helping to clear the way for expansions of companies such as BMW, Boeing, and Michelin. “This is so very important to the United States and especially for South Carolina.” A U.S. Commerce Department report released in June showed that since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than 23,000 jobs in manufacturing, along with more than $9 billion in capital investment.

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Two nuclear reactors are under construction in Jenkinsville. Photo by Sean Rayford

“I’ve said before that South Carolina makes things and makes them well,” Hitt said in a Commerce news release. “South Carolina remains a leader in the manufacturing renaissance. Manufacturing GDP in South Carolina grew 8.5 percent last year compared to the 7.8 percent U.S. rate.” BMW announced in January that it planned to add 300 jobs to its 7,000-strong manufacturing workforce in Greer. Boeing this past spring announced an expansion in Charleston that is expected to create 2,000 additional jobs over eight years. Smaller manufacturers also are growing in South Carolina. For example, taking advantage of the state’s burgeoning automotive manufacturing and supply cluster, the German company ZF Friedrichshafen AG opened its first U.S. plant in Gray Court in late July. The company makes automatic passenger car transmissions for such customers as Land Rover and Chrysler. And Monteferro USA, which makes elevator guide rails, recently announced a $2.1 million expansion in Orangeburg County.  

Nuclear Energy

With two nuclear reactors under construction in Jenkinsville, the nuclear field also is booming locally. “The skillled craft jobs are very much August 14-20, 2013

needed to build those plants up there,” White says. “Plus, we have six other nuclear reactors in South Carolina.” Plant construction jobs include welders, electricians, and pipefitters. Construction at Jenkinsville is expected to continue through 2019. Once complete, they’ll also need nuclear operators and technicians. Midlands Tech continues to see strong interest in its nuclear operator program and is helping turn out workers not only to SCE&G but also to neighboring utilities Duke Energy and Georgia Power.  

Strategic Internships

Hamby notes that postings both for full-time jobs and internships are on the increase at USC’s Career Center. “The most significant trend occurring nationally is a strategic move by employers to hire interns and co-op students in an effort to groom students and develop a pipeline for eventual full-time hires,” she says. White has seen a similar trend at Midlands Tech. Employers are forging relationships with students before they graduate. For example, SCE&G and Michelin, White asserts, “they know all our students” through internship and scholarship programs.

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Resumés Still Matter LinkedIn Is Fine, But Don’t Neglect the Basics By Katie Alice Walker


e hear you: It’s 2013, and you’re already on LinkedIn. But even in the digital age, and at a time when connections seem to be the key to landing a job you’ll love, the all-important resumé is still an indispensible tool for job seekers. Some things never change, and writing an effective resumé that conveys your credentials, capabilities and accomplishments can still be as daunting — and as important — as ever.

“Yes, resumés are still important,” says Justin Lofurno, director of human resources at Providence Hospital, which hires approximately 475 employees each year. “The resumé is an opportunity for the employer to learn more about the prospective employee than they would learn from the employment application or from information on social media sites, such as LinkedIn.” Read on for our list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to resumé writing. Let’s get the hard stuff out of the way. The don’ts: Don’t have typos or grammatical errors. Even if it means you have to ask three friends to review your resumé, any grammatical errors or typos are a red flag that you aren’t as “detail-oriented” as you’re claiming. Spellcheck is helpful, but not reliable, so check and double check for mis-

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spelled words or errant commas. Don’t use unnecessary graphics or difficult-to-read fonts. “We prefer for resumés to exclude graphics and nontraditional fonts,” Lofurno says. “We accept resumés in electronic format as part of the online application process. Some fonts or graphics may not be supported during the transmission process. Also, they can be distracting to the person reading the resumé.” Don’t use an unprofessional email address for contact information. If you’re applying for your first job, there’s a good chance your email address may still contain your favorite high-school nickname. Sure, that address served you well, but it may be time to consider transitioning to a simpler address using your name. Skip the objectives section. The person reviewing your resumé will know what

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your objective is: to land the job. And you’ll probably need every inch of space for your qualifications and experience. Another skip? If you attended college, skip your high school graduation information, particularly if you’ve also got a job or two under your belt. Again, space is always an issue in resumé writing, and college or graduate work is more important than where you went to high school. According to Luferno, don’t include personal information such as marital status, number of children, religious affiliations or other information that isn’t pertinent to your professional experience. So what do great resumes have in common? Keep your resumé to one page — or at least make your first page worthy of standing on its own. If you’re applying for your first or even second position, you can probably keep your resumé to one page. If you think your qualifications and creden-

Don’t use an unprofessional email address for contact information. If you’re applying for your first job, there’s a good chance your email address may still contain your favorite high-school nickname. Sure, that address served you well, but it may be time to consider transitioning to a simpler address using your name. tials need more than one page, edit and edit again, but then be sure the accomplishments listed on the front page are most noteworthy. Your resumé reader will probably get a lot applicants for the same position. Make yours easy on the reader’s eye. Use bullet points. Bullets points are an easy way to convey a lot of information. State your positions, tasks and accomplishments and leave the interview for conveying more detail. Include a cover letter and references. “The cover letter is a way for the job applicant to communicate to the employer why they are interested in employment with the organization, and it also provides an opportunity to summarize his/her experience and education,” Lofurno says. “We ask for references during the application process, but we do not contact references until a mutually agreeable time.” Do tailor your resumé for your industry and career stage. In some creative fields, a portfolio is necessary, while applicants for senior positions may want their resumés to read a bit more formally. List your accomplishments, not just job

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duties. “Too often, job seekers simply list their job duties on the resumé. While that information is important, it is even more important for potential employers to know what the person’s accomplishments have been on the job,” Lofurno says. “Employers don’t simply want to see what they were responsible for — they want to see their achievements; actions for which they have received recognition. We also like to see their professional affiliations or memberships and community service organizations with which the job seeker is involved.” What else is important when it comes to resumés? Consider what your online personality says about you, especially to an employer. In today’s job-application world, it’s imperative to realize that potential employers might look up your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts. At the very least, don’t use social media as a playground for posting anything offensive or unprofessional. What will earn

you brownie points in the eyes of a potential employer? Using social media as a platform for sharing articles, information and your knowledge about your career field. When it comes to more technical positions, resumés aren’t always necessary and applicants may be able to fill out an application online or in-person. But a well-written resumé can help potential employees stand out for these positions. “While it may not be required for a resumé to be supplied for these positions, the information on the resumé is helpful to us,” Lofurno says. “A well-prepared resumé presented by entry-level job applicants will set them apart from other candidates who may not prepare a resumé.” Need more resumé-writing tips? Richland Library offers resumé assistance and career coaches at its Business and Jobs Center. Visit for more information. And if you’re a student at the University of South Carolina, the Career Center offers resumé-writing services. Visit for more information.

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for Smart families Midlands’ Magazine

fall 2013

Getting Back Into the Rhythm of School Planner or Procrastinator? How to Get Your Kids Transitioned Back to School


Extracurricular: A Balancing Act


The Meals, They Are A-Changing


family finance

Social Media: Yes or No for Your Teen?

Moms Are Making Stay-At-Home Work

Follow us @FTParentSC

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August 14-20, 2013

August 14-20, 2013


Get Ahead Fall 2013  

Your guide to career advancement.

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