“Job hunting in new city”

It seems like a lot more people want to work in another part of the country or move from Canada to the U.S. or visa versa. What hasn’t changed is that they still go about looking for a new position all wrong.
“I live in (fill in the city) and I want to move to (new city),” people from all over tell me, then say, “I’ve been answering online ads for six months and get no response. Since that’s not working should I sign up with a headhunter?”
Recruiters and ads. That’s nearly everyone’s approach because they’re looking for a simple, single source solution. Which is understandable. Simple is easier because it takes less energy to understand.
But if you want to discover positions in your target city or create a new job that doesn’t yet exist, you need an overall strategy which takes thought and planning.
This strategy may include answering ads and talking to recruiters. But the missing–and most effective–piece of your strategy takes a lot more energy to understand. It is based on advice you’ve heard before–that people are the most direct link to finding your next job. Because by holding meaningful, purposeful conversations, you’ll tune into what’s going on in a community and then potentially be introduced to other people. So your strategy should be to talk to people in the city where you want to live.
To find them, meet with people where you live now who might know people in your target area–or be familiar with the market. Ask people in a local professional group if they know the area and can refer you to others there. By reading the newspaper in that city, you’ll discover people you want to talk to. Contact them.
Your approach, however, must be thoughtful. You want to ask folks if they could help you understand their market–not ask them for a job. This way you’ll discover:

Who the movers and shakers are there, who owns what and who’s planning to expand
Types of industries that are growing or are having difficulties in that city
New acquaintances, who, if they like you, will want to help you and may be willing to introduce you to people they know
Problems a particular business owner is trying to solve and therefore, may need someone like you
Who’s hiring, who got fired or who’s leaving a job–positions that are open but haven’t been announced

If you’re like most job hunters, you’re still thinking, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to answer ads?” Easier, maybe. More effective, no. It can be one thing you do. But it’s limiting because:

1. Most jobs aren’t listed anywhere.
2. Everyone is responding to the same ads you are so you’ve got competition.
3. You have no control over what happens next. Once you answer the ad, someone may call. But if they don’t–which is usually the case–there’s little you can do.
4. You don’t have a clue about the possibilities, just the few positions listed in ads.
What about headhunters? As long as you’re not making a career change, you can connect with some in your industry. But they won’t be looking for your next job. That’s not what they do. Your odds of finding a job through them are slim.
When it comes to a long-distance job search, put your energy into activities that will get you the most bang for your buck–having thoughtful conversations with people who know the score.

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Talking about workin’ for a living with WGRR hosts Janeen Coyle and Chris O’Brien.