Guest Author - Kristy Jackson
So you’ve graduated from college and now you’re moving across the country to launch your career. If you have a particular city in mind, here are a few resources you can use to jumpstart your long distance job search. Best of all, these resources are almost always free!
* Contact your college alumni association. Have your school help you get in touch with graduates from your college who are currently living in the city (or state) in which you want to work. If the alumni office is unable to assist you, then get the Career Services (Placement) office at your college to help you out by initiating contact on your behalf. It shouldn’t be too difficult for them to email a few alumni on your behalf. Once you’ve made contact with an alumnus from your college, you’ve got the first link in your new long-distance job search network! Many times, alumni will be able to provide you with information about companies in their area, perhaps even key contact people's names. They might even ask for a copy of your resume to forward to their business acquaintances. (Hint: If you belong to a sorority or honor society, perhaps that organization has an alumni network, as well. It’s worth checking out).
* Chambers of Commerce. If you aren’t familiar with “Chambers”, you’ll want to check them out. Their purpose is to help promote businesses in their area. You can usually find a Chamber’s website via a simple online search (ex: Tulsa + “Chamber of Commerce”). In general, Chamber websites will have job listings online, lists of local businesses, and information about which businesses are coming to town. There will probably also be a list of the “largest employers in town”. All of these will be great sources of job leads in your relocation job search.
* Online versions of local newspapers. I recommend “bookmarking” the website for the local newspaper. Of course, you’ll want to review the Sunday classified advertisements. But you’ll also want to read the Business section, as well. This way you’ll get a better feel for the new community and you’ll get ideas about places that you might want to work. Keep an eye out for things like online job fairs that you could attend from afar. To find the website in the first place, use a simple online search (ex: Seattle + newspaper).
* Community colleges and universities in the new town. See if you can figure out which colleges are in the town you want to live in. Your Chamber of Commerce link might very well have a listing of all of the colleges in the area. Once you get a list of the colleges, check out their websites. Often times, there will be links of actual job openings, schedules of upcoming job fairs, and links to the major employers in the area. Some colleges are particularly helpful, and will even offer additional job search services if you ask them. In my work as a career counselor, I’ve seen other colleges offer my students access to their resume referral services as well as their campus interview schedule. Of course, their main obligation is to their own students, but it is surprising how helpful some of them are. They might ask you for a “letter of reciprocity” before they work with you, which is just a simple letter that is written by your career center on your behalf.
Some Final Words: As you can see, there are several resources you can use to locate job leads if you are trying to relocate. Make sure you “bookmark” all of the websites you locate, and check them frequently. Be sure to be courteous to all of the people who are trying to assist you during your long distance job search, from the alumni contacts and the career service personnel. They will be much more helpful if you acknowledge that they are doing you a favor! Good luck!