As I described in my last blog post, many people do their job searches by doing the equivalent to sending bulk mail to the four corners of the universe, and hoping somebody offers them a job. In this newer, tougher job market, you are more likely to be in a crowded group of all the other people throwing their resumes into a pile for a hiring manager to review. Everyone looks pretty much the same when they are in those piles so I recommend that you choose which place you want to be so you have the time to know what those hiring managers want and you can then shine like a diamond in those places.

So, here are some things to think about when you are trying to narrow down where you want to be:

  1. What are the industries that interest you ( or at least don’t repel you): We all know that there are cultures to different industries and each if us is going to be more comfortable in some than in others. A biology lab will have a very different feel than a hotel catering office.  Choose which are the industries that are most interesting to you and you think will be the best culture fit for you. (A key indicator of this is what I call the “Ooh! Shiny!” affect. If you look at it and it piques your interest, chances are there is something about it that will make you want to work there).
  2. Where do you want to work: If you ate currently in a place where you can’t relocate, you probably know how long a commute you are willing to consider.  If you can move, you probably know which cities/states/countries really interest you. Whichever it is, look at a map and draw a line around the actual area that you would be willing to go to.
  3. What’s the overlap: Now, using your research skills (and if you don’t have any, ask a librarian),  find all the employers in the industries you are interested that have offices in the locations that you’ve indicated. You should be able to find 30-50 companies. If you find fewer, it might be a more difficult time, but then you have to know these particular companies and employers better, since they should know you before the job even opens up.

So, have you done your homework and know the places you want to work for?