The most important tip for local job searches is simple: Don't get discouraged. Finding a job is a difficult and frustrating task at the best of times, and when the economy is on a downturn it gets even harder. You might fill out dozens of applications, go to countless interviews and make hundreds of phone calls in hopes of landing a job, and after a while it can feel like you're banging your head against a wall. Don't give up. Eventually, you'll apply for the right job and have the right set of skills to get hired.
Still, when it starts to feel like "head against the wall" time, there's no reason to plow ahead with the same methods that haven't been working. Broaden your search. Expand the geographic area you're willing to work in. It could mean a longer daily commute or actual relocation, but that might be worth it for a good job. Consider related fields -- even they aren't exactly the ones for which you've trained or earned experience. You may have to reduce your salary expectations or work your way up from a lower position within a company. It isn't always fair if you feel you've paid your dues in your chosen career already, but it beats the proverbial bread line.
Don't hesitate to look for help wherever you can find it. State employment agencies are there to connect people with employers who want to hire them.
If your job searches aren't turning up any openings, try cold calling companies you want to work for. Make a list of the local businesses where you'd like to work. Start with their Web sites -- many companies post job openings in a special section, often called "Careers." Failing that, call their main telephone line and explain briefly who you are and that you're looking for a job. It's a not a surefire way to find an opening, but it only has to work once.
Finally, work those local connections. You already told everyone you know that you're in the job market, but ask a select few if you can use them as local references. Your college professor or boss from five years ago might give you a glowing reference, but putting a few local people on your resume might give you an edge. Even if the employer doesn't recognize the names, it might make you seem like someone with stability, roots and commitment to your community -- all positive attributes in the eyes of business owners and hiring managers.
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