Time for a Road Trip?
When all else fails, it’s probably time to hit the road to explore your options.
Does this sound familiar? You have spent months trying to land an internship that was more than emptying garbage cans and fetching coffee, but came up short. You’ve networked every possible opportunity, yet leads produced nothing promising. And you applied for every job opening on the planet, but didn’t even land an interview. Now, you find yourself with a diploma, a lot of student loan debt, living at home (once again) with mom or dad. What’s next? Time for a road trip!
The type of road trip I’m referring to starts with a few short questions, a state map, a little investigating and planning. Are you game?
If you don’t have a clue what the correct answer is, find out. There could be vast differences between the unemployment rate in your particular county vs your state as a whole. 1) Do you live in a county (and state) with a high unemployment rate? 2) Do you live in a county (and state) with a high home foreclosure rate? 3) What are the representatives in your state and county doing to bring in jobs?
If your county has an unemployment rate of 15%, but your state has a rate of 10%, research what counties have the lowest unemployment rate in your state, circle those on your state map. However, if you live in a county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state, you’re in the best place to find employment. But go further.
Now, discover what the home foreclosure rate is in your county and then your state. Circle the area in your state that has the lowest foreclosure rate. What you may find is the areas circled are one in the same (or close to each other). It shouldn’t come as a surprise that where there is employment, there are less foreclosures.
The next thing to do is find out what the representatives in your county and state are doing to create jobs. What about the areas you’ve circled? One way is call their office directly. You can also Google the names of the representatives to see what comes up, anything about job creation? If representatives are not involved in actively trying to create jobs, in one form or another, make a note of that. Should they be on record as pursuing job creation, write down exactly what is being done and where. The key is: they’re trying to create quality, long-term employment opportunities, not just minimum wage or short-term positions.
Your investigation might turn up a few interesting prospects for your future. For example: the representatives in your state and county have been hard at work trying to get green energy projects (and jobs) moving, circle the areas earmarked for these projects on your map. On the other hand, you find some disappointing information–the representatives are doing little (or nothing) to create jobs–discover why that is the case.
Like most grads living at home, your parents want progress reports on what you’re doing to find work. By showing them how you’ve investigated your county and state–giving them the good, or bad news–they’ll have a better understanding of what the next realistic step in the process may be for you. Enlist their assistance.
Let’s say your county and state has high unemployment, high home foreclosure rates and nothing in the way of job creation in the near future. It’s time to go across state lines. Start to look at all the possibilities in the states directly surrounding yours, using what you did above, collect information. Make a list of the areas that look promising. Further investigate the job opportunities–are there a wide range, or a few very specific types–do you qualify for any?
Next, look at how much it costs to live there. Are apartment rentals cheap? What about food, utilities, medical care and gasoline? Do you know anyone living there: relative, friend, former college roommate? If so, call them to get additional information, verify what you have obtained. A local can tell you things about a place you can’t find on the internet.
Once you narrow down cities which might be worth investigating, plan a trip. Make a list of specific places: employers, apartments, etc., to see while there, taking copious notes of what you eventually find. Bring along interview attire, resumes and whatever else you’ll need should an employer stand out, or networking opportunities present themselves. Don’t be afraid to do a little cold calling! What have you got to lose? And one last thing, bring a parent with you, here’s why: they could pay for the trip, see things you don’t, pay for the trip, lend moral support if you get overwhelmed, pay for the trip, and be less apt to get on your back about job hunting when they see the effort you put into this road trip. Did I fail to mention they could pay for the trip?
* For information about relocating, see blog post under Career Advice, Should You Relocate for a Job?
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