How to Customize Your Search to Find Local and National Jobs

It takes energy to put together an effective job search. Between updating your resume and organizing your references, you must prepare before you even apply.

While there are many things that could make looking for a job a difficult task, one of the most difficult is not knowing where you want to work. You might be searching locally, which means pounding the pavement and tapping into your personal network. Or you might be searching (and competing) nationally.

If you’re on the hunt and open to local or national positions, here’s how to perform a smart search that takes advantage of the different tools, strategies and tactics available to you.

Tweaking Your Resume, Cover Letter and Networking Habits

The first division between a local and national job search comes down to your behavior, including your resume, cover letter and networking habits.

For local…

A local job hunt used to require a completely different approach to these job search assets. However, most professional positions now expect you to complete the application process entirely online. That means designing and formatting a digital resume and cover letter, as well as establishing a professional email address that includes your first and last name. When signing up for a free email address from a provider such as Gmail or Yahoo, avoid using nicknames, slang terms, or numbers.

You’ll also want to establish yourself within your community by including local references and increasing your local networking efforts. Consider looking into Simply Hired discussion boards based on your physical location or joining a local Meet-Up group, BNI group or church-affiliated Jobs Assistance Program.

For national…

When you take your application national, it may require a few tweaks. For example, instead of including your full mailing address, use that space to indicate that you are interested in relocating for this position or that your relocation is in progress. You’ll also want to address the relocation process in your cover letter, including how and why you are considering the move.

When it comes to networking, skip the local groups in favor of virtual networking opportunities in the form of LinkedIn groups, popular blog forums or by starting and promoting your own blog within your industry. Not only could each new connection lead to a new job opportunity, but the more plugged in you are within your field, the more attractive you are as a candidate.

Identifying Useful Online Tools

Whether or not your career lends itself to digital technologies, the most successful job hunt will take advantage of online tactics.

For local…

Look to local job search engines that organize position descriptions by physical location. Both Craigslist and Simply Hired offer extended local job search listings that allow you to connect with potential employers within a given zip code. You can also use Simply Hired’s company pages tool to learn more about companies that are hiring in your area.

For national…

For national job searches, your work is a little less specific. Search by position descriptions and job titles to find jobs that suit your work history. To save time, sign up for email alerts related to the positions you are seeking so the job search engine will notify you when new jobs are posted. Since you may not be as familiar with companies across the country as you are with those in your backyard, you can also use Simply Hired company pages to be introduced to new, recommended companies based on the local opportunities you identify.

Using Data to Your Advantage

Whether or not you are right-brained, you’ll be surprised how valuable science can be when performing your local or national job search. Employment data can often provide valuable insights into making your job search less stressful and more successful.

For local…

Local searches might seem too simple for big data. But if you can make a connection between national hiring trends and your talents, you can position yourself to appear much more polished to a potential hiring manager.

You can also use employment data to determine the optimal starting range for salary negotiations. The more prepared you are to discuss your salary needs, the more successful your negotiation will be.                                                                                                               

For national…

When you’re performing a national job search, employment data plays a much more direct role in how and where you look for a job.

The most important data can be found in relevant employment outlook reports that share significant statistics about your field, including how many positions are hired for this career each year, which states are hiring the most and each state’s average starting salary. Other important data include the relative cost of living of each location and whether or not employers within your field typically cover relocation costs.

Ready to start your search? We hope we’ve given you a number of helpful suggestions that will make your search more efficient and less stressful. Good luck.