Finding work in your local area
Job hunting can be a daunting task, whether you're currently out of work or looking for a change of career. It can be even harder if you're looking for work that matches your skills, enthusiasms and experience within a limited geographical area.
Most of us would like to work close to where we live. In some cases we may be prepared to relocate in order to take a job, but in some cases that's simply not possible. Family commitments or other ties may mean you simply can't leave the region where you currently live. If you're reliant on public transport to get to and from your job that may limit the options open to you still further.
New in town
Perhaps the most difficult situation may be when you've just moved to a new area and need to find a job locally. In this case you have no contacts and no local experience. You don't know what the local job market is like or even if there is any demand for someone with your experience and skill sets. Finding your way around is more difficult and it will often seem as if those who've lived locally for a long time will always have the advantage.
The important thing is not to become disheartened. The right job for you is out there and you have the means at your disposal to find it. By using a range of different strategies and a large amount of persistence, finding work in your local area can be achieved whatever your circumstances.
For many of us in today's digital world, the first step in finding a job is to look at the many job search and recruitment websites that can be found online. The internet is a great resource for job hunting, but there's so much information out there it's easy to be overwhelmed. Going in unprepared could mean you find yourself wading through pages of job ads that are unsuitable, a process that is only likely to wear you down.
For this reason it's essential to filter the results. Most job sites will have an advanced search feature that allows you to filter the jobs it comes up with by type, region, requirements, and so on. Doing this will save you a lot of time and effort. There may also be specifically local job sites and ones dedicated to particular areas of work, such as hospitality, engineering or retail.
For those looking for flexible short-term employment, Workchain is a website that connects employers with people looking for work in specific towns and regions across the UK. Its strength is its flexibility: individuals seeking employment list the days they're available for work alongside their skills and experience, and this is shared with locally-based companies in need of staff at short notice.
It's also worth looking at the company websites of businesses in your area to see if they're currently recruiting. For smaller concerns, a personal call can make a good impression: even if they're not currently looking for new employees, you may be able to leave your CV in case a vacancy comes up. Community websites and social media sites are a good place to look for casual jobs like cleaning or gardening, and you can also post yourself to say briefly what kind of work you're looking for. You'd be amazed how often this approach can bear fruit.
As a general rule ask everyone you know if they have any leads, and generally put the word about that you're actively seeking work. You shouldn't be embarrassed to do this: it shows a commitment to seeking worthwhile employment that will be admired. Even if people aren't in a position to help they'll appreciate you asking, so long as you're polite and don't impose too much on their time or resources.
If you're still struggling then you could look into local opportunities to gain new skills or qualifications. Evening classes and community colleges offer a range of vocational courses, and you may be able to get help with the fees, especially if you've been out of work for six months or more. Volunteering with a local charity is also a good way to get valuable experience, and it always looks good on your CV.
The important thing is to keep looking and not to give up. You'll discover that there's much more going on in your local area than you ever suspected, and that the job you're looking for may be just around the corner.