Thursday, September 26, 2013

Setting Realistic Goals for your Newton County Jobs Search

I hesitate to give anyone advice about finding a good job in Newton County, GA. I am one month into my search and I am not any closer to finding a decent paying job in my areas of expertise that is actually in Newton County. The problem for me is that most large companies in Newton County want applicants to have healthcare or manufacturing industry experience. Most small companies stick a sign on the door to let people know they are hiring. Driving around looking for places with available Newton County jobs is not a smart way to conduct a job search, especially with the price of gas these days.

I absolutely get that I cannot apply at Newton Medical Center expecting to get a job as a nurse without the proper training, experience, and credentials. In fact, I do not apply for any jobs at Newton Medical Center because the medical profession is a very specialized skillset that takes years to build. However, I do not have the same reservations about companies that provide products and services to the medical industry. Even some of the other large employers in Newton County have no good reason to require applicants to have umpteenth years of experience in a manufacturing environment. I guarantee you, they are not doing anything there that the average person cannot learn in a few weeks or months.

Many people have skills that are transferable to any industry, so I see those requirements as just another hurdle to jump through in this incredibly competitive job market. I say all this to make the point that when looking for a job in Newton County, it is important to keep your goals realistic and accept that commuting is a very real possibility. Here are some tips to help you manage your job search so that you can get a job sooner while still maintaining your quality of life.

  1. Be clear about the job you want (job title or function), where you want it to be (city or county), and who you want to work for (industry). If you are like me and have experience in several different industries performing essentially the same job, decide which industries you enjoyed working in the most. For me, real estate and insurance are in my top five. If your skills are transferrable, don't be afraid to add industries that interest you. I added nonprofit organizations to my top 5 list after developing my career vision statement with help from Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand. I have also found Marcus Buckingham to be a great resource for getting clear about your career direction.
  2. Always remember that quality of life is important. Sure, you can get from Covington to Alpharetta in time for an 8 to 5 job, but do you really want to? To avoid major traffic, you would need to be on the road by 6 am. Do not get me started on the nightmare that will be your afternoon commute home. It is important to prioritize your quality of life and set a reasonable commuting distance during your job search. I have set my acceptable commuting distance to 35 miles in any direction from my house. From Covington, GA, a 35 mile commute can be done in about an hour barring major traffic delays like an overturned tractor trailer.
  3. If you have a family, target employers that offer flexible work arrangements (compressed work week, flexible hours, telecommuting). Running a household and getting kids to and from school and other activities can be a full-time job. Employers that offer flexible work arrangements understand this and working for someone that allows parents to have that work/life balance will remove a lot of the stress we feel trying to keep all the balls we juggle in the air.
  4. Consider part-time work and temporary assignments. If you really have your heart set on working in Newton County, then looking into temporary and part-time opportunities may be the way to accomplish that. If nothing else, it will prevent large gaps in your employment history and will also help you build up your experience and local network which could lead to viable referrals for full-time, local employment.
  5. Always remember that it is, most likely, not you or your resume. If you have taken the time to target your resume to specific jobs and employers, it is not you. It is the lousy job market. The most recent (July 2013) unemployment figures show that Newton County's unemployment rate is 10.3%. The statewide unemployment average is 8.8%. Meanwhile, Newton County continues to hang its economic future on the film industry.

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