Monday, September 22, 2008

Do you want to work in a smaller city?

This isn't a proper review of Job Searches Beyond the Big Cities: Finding Employment in Medium to Small-sized Markets, which is a scaled down version of the Guide to Internet Job Searching. Job Searches Beyond the Big Cities is an ok starter resource, but it shouldn't be the last place that you search, especially if you are looking for work in a "smaller center".

There are basically two different types of "smaller center": a small city or town, or a town or city that is the satellite of a much larger city. If you are fine with commuting, you have more options if you live in a satellite--but the cost of gas and the cost of living outside of the satellite may negate the benefits.

There are also three types of job seeker who look for work in a smaller city:
  1. Footloose. Can go anywhere, but want to live in a smaller city. These job seekers have the freedom to choose any city or town--provided that there is a job at the end of the rainbow. These job seekers sometimes forget about smaller cities in their rush to court a big city. For a footloose job seeker try looking with vertical search engines, such as indeed or simplyhired, or my favorite widget on the right. Read Cities Ranked and Rated and Who's Your City? to find communities that match with the lifestyle that you would like to have.
  2. Trailing. Partners of academics used to be called the trailing spouse--just some extra baggage that you brought along to your tenured position. I use the term trailing here to invoke that image of the person who puts love first, who followed someone home for love...a person who has an aging parent or sick family member. You may be heading back to a community that you know, or a place where your partner will have ties and some clout. You need to make use of the network that your partner or family has created.
    Try searches on the Inside Higher Ed Dual Career Search. Make like Lysistrata until your partner contacts someone with human resources who can tell you about hiring policies for the partners of academics, or if there is a service that will help the "trailing" partner of an academic. For a trailer, you need to make the most of your network, or the connections that your spouse or family has built. Look at the Chamber of Commerce, every directory you can lay your hands on, and make a Yahoo! Pipe that will keep you up-to-date on job matches. Military spouses can also take advantage of any career services, networks or job boards that are available to them--and they should.
  3. Trapped. This is not a judgment on smaller cities, so don't send me any hate e-mail. Sometimes, people get trapped in a city: they own a house, the kids are happy, your partner still has a good job, you finally found a good veterinarian...but your well seems to have dried up. First step: are you going to stay with the type of library that you have always worked at? Can you transfer from academic to public to school to special? If not, what are you going to do that is similar to library work and still in your community? Is there a library type job that you can do as a telecommuter? Finally, will you stay in libraries? Is this the time to explore another alternative? You are looking for information on a career transition, so your local labor market information office--state, provincial or municipal--can get you started. In that case, you will need Job Searches Beyond the Big Cities: Finding Employment in Medium to Small-sized Markets, since it has all of the links to labor pages in all of the states. If you live in Canada, try Service Canada, Looking for a Job, or select your region for local labour market information.
People begin or find themselves in a smaller center for a variety of reasons, but they have to tailor their job search to match their region, as well as their professional needs.

No comments: