Finding a job can be an exhausting process of resume writing, application submissions, interviews and phone calls -- not to mention all the stress, anticipation and potential rejection. If you're focused on a finding a job close to your home, there are some particular pros and cons to consider. You don't have fly to another city for an interview or worry about relocating if you get the job, but you're considerably narrowing the field of potential jobs.
You can reduce some of the stress of a local job search by starting with the right tools and a clear plan. The right job isn't going to come looking for you, so you have to be proactive. Start by updating your resume. Don't just print out a dozen copies of a resume and cover letter -- once your job search starts, you'll need to tweak your resume to suit every listing you pursue. A customized cover letter is important, too. A generic cover letter is easy to spot and will send your job application straight to the rejection pile. If you know (or can find out) the name of the person who will be reviewing your application, consider personalizing the cover letter. Just make sure to avoid resume pitfalls: Keep it to one page -- two at the most if you have a lot of relevant experience; don't use fancy fonts, colors or paper; tell your potential employer why you'd be good for them, not why the job would fit you.
Once you've got an updated resume, it's time to look for job openings in your field. The abundance of search options can make it hard to know where to start. The key is to use all the tools at your disposal -- you never know where you'll find a job opening perfectly suited to your skill set. We're going to open up the job finder's toolkit and show you how to conduct a job search focused on your hometown.