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Expand Your Job Search with Place-Based Research

job search

job searchClients come to me all the time wanting to find a job that is stable, in an industry that is foolproof, sometimes to the detriment I think of really looking for something they truly enjoy. And we all know the story about stability now; it doesn’t truly exist. The job market has changed dramatically. Now this is not to say “throw caution to the wind and dive into an area that is doomed.” Simply consider other factors as well, like job satisfaction, when you are choosing your next move or looking for that new job.

Once you have done that, and are happy with the direction you are pursuing, do take the time to find out what industries and companies are big in your area. Some of my clients have found success by researching the job market specifically in the places they would consider working, whether it is where they are now or elsewhere if they are willing to relocate. When researching, they expand their range of industries and positions.

Employment figures by industry — and even position — are available on a local basis and it can be very useful to understand what those stats are to understand the local job market. One industry might be flooded, for example, and competition stiff, whereas another might be just on the rise and a perfect place for you to look. Rather than using national statistics about hiring for nursing, IT professionals, or any other job description, it can be more productive to evaluate resources that drill down to the local level. Subscribe to or regularly read articles from the local newspaper or business publication to stay on top of what is happening. You can find out who is opening a new office, who is laying off, or who is bidding on an office space with the intent to move.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers a wealth of geographic and local area unemployment (LAE) information that provides insight into hiring, wage rates, and even mass layoffs. This tends to be overview data, but it is still helpful. For example, the LAE report breaks every state down by its largest metropolitan areas. Also look at job-search sites, some of which have started releasing geographic and industry statistics based on the number of postings on their sites.

The key to making this approach work is to look at results across many industries and positions and determine where hiring is picking up considerably. Those who find opportunities for which they have some of the qualifications can pursue career development training and/or education to better target those opportunities.

For those willing to travel — or even relocate — it makes sense to expand place-based research to include as many locations as possible, as hiring recovery can be very localized. One city may have no medical jobs, but another only 20 miles away might have a hospital preparing for expansion.

Anyone interested in relocation has nearly limitless opportunity for exploration. I recommend my clients research the hiring market in every city or town where they would even consider moving. Dream jobs can be just beyond a job seeker’s reach, unless he or she has the courage and determination to go locate them.