Raleigh job fair is a daunting experience

More than 1,700 people flooded the Hilton North Raleigh on Wake Forest Road on Tuesday in search of an increasingly elusive prize: a job.

They came toting resumes packed with experience, management positions and on-the-job training.

And they also came knowing that with the state's unemployment rate now at 10.7 percent, all those credentials likely would not be enough to land a job.

“I'm just frustrated now,” said Donette Harper, 49, who moved to Raleigh from Norfolk, Va., eight months ago with a new degree in fine arts and aspirations for a new chapter in her life — teaching.

"All the experience and all the education, and it doesn't help you,” she said. "I just need a job. I came down here thinking this was going to be a better opportunity, but so far, it's been crashing down like a balloon with a rock tied to the end of its string."

Some, who found themselves back in the work force unexpectedly, were still absorbing the emotional blow of a layoff.

"I think a lot of people are in the same boat, especially when you're older and you think, 'I'm getting ready to retire,' " said Andy Preston, a 51-year-old from Morrisville who was laid off from his software engineering job at Nortel in October.

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