The 5 First Things to Do When You Want to Work in a New Town


Or, maybe it's a desire to get closer to family. Or a spouse who just landed a new job, in another state.

Or, perhaps, you just can't take another day of the stinking cold weather.

Whatever prompts your goal or need to find work in a new town, the common denominator is typically this:

It's intimidating. Confusing. Kind of foreign feeling. Not fun.

But it certainly doesn't have to be impossible. In fact, there are a few reasonably easy things you can do -- right away -- to help accelerate the time between now and when you sashay through the doors of your new employer, in your new town. Here are the five first things to consider:

1. Figure Out Who The Players Are, In Your Field (In this Town)

One of your most immediate goals should be to line up with the thought leaders, the movers and the shakers in your geography of interest. Follow their Twitter feeds (and retweet their most interesting stuff), ask questions in geography-specific LinkedIn groups, study the local business journals and try to ascertain the "who's who" in your sector. Head over to and find a gathering (assuming you can pay this town a visit) at which these types gather. Go to said gathering.

Introduce yourself to these people. Politely ask a quick question.

The more efficiently you can meet and align with the key players in your sector, in the town you want or need to move to, the better. This tactic will increase the odds that you'll hear about something you'd not have found otherwise, and give you a solid jump start on making new contacts and friends in your new town.

2. Use the "I'm New Here" Thing to Your Full Advantage

On this same note, by all means, use the "new kid in town" (or, "about to be the new kid in town") thing to your full advantage. I live in Portland, Oregon, and we are one of the most welcoming communities I've ever seen when it comes to helping out the recent transplants.

We all tend to root for the new guy. We want him to win, and we'll go out of our way to help him (or, of course, her). That being the case, be sure and use your "I'm going to be moving there soon" status as your door-opener when working to start conversations and figure out what's what and who's who in this new geography. 

3. Find a Recruiter Who Specializes in Your Field, In the Town You're Targeting

You're for sure not going to be any sort of an expert on which employers are amazing and which ones to steer clear of when you're looking in a new town. Likewise, you're probably not going to have many direct or indirect connections to people on the inside of companies of interest.

That said, you may find tremendous value in figuring out who the top recruiters are in this new town, especially the ones that represent clients, industries and / or job functions in which you're most interested. Call them up and introduce yourself.

One of the primary functions of a recruiter is to go out and find talent that aligns with their clients' current job openings. If you contact one who specializes in your sector, and introduce yourself proactively, you're likely doing them a favor -- you're taking one step out of the job that they're paid to do (go find you).

4. Find a Few Companies You Love, And Then Get to Their People

And don't just look for the obvious ones. (e.g. Nike = Portland, General Motors = Detroit, and so forth). Everyone and their brothers will be applying for jobs at the smack-in-the-forehead obvious employers in your future hometown.

Instead, try and uncover smaller regional (or local) firms that are doing work that you love (and have experience doing) and seem to have amazing corporate cultures. Pick your top 3-5 and then set about a plan to introduce yourself to people working in roles you admire, at companies you're eyeing.

You don't have to be weird or too in their faces as you approach. Simply introduce yourself, alert them that you're moving to town (Here's that "I'm the new guy" thing again), and see if you can ask a couple of questions about the company and / or their specific roles there.  

5. Make Your Plans Clear in Your Cover Letter

Employers sometimes wonder "What the heck?" when an out-of-town (or out-of-state) candidate applies for their open positions, especially if they have no budget dollars or plans to offer any sort of relocation package. Thus, unless you explain right out of the gates the reason why this gal from Tampa is applying for a job in Duluth, decision makers may swiftly dump your resume into the "no" pile before they've given it a second glance.

If you're specifically targeting one particular geography -- and, especially, if the wheels are already in motion for you to move there, you should clarify this in the cover letter. Imply that the wheels are already in motion and that this move is imminent. That way, you immediately and proactively ease worries on the part of the decision makers as to why you're applying, and if you're going to expect a handsome relocation package.

Try something like this: 

"As I prepare for a family relocation to Minneapolis, I've discovered that XYZ Company is currently looking for a senior project manager..."

Simple, and to the point.

Keep in mind that no one on the receiving end is a mind reader. They don't just automatically know why you're applying for a role so far from your current residence. Make this step easy for them.

While you may wish to sit behind the safety of your laptop screen and just apply for job after job that looks cool in the town that you're targeting, you're going to do yourself a HUGE favor by taking on a more proactive, networking-based approach.

Get on their radar. Endear yourself. And see if that doesn't get things moving along a bit faster.

Because, remember: Everyone roots for the new kid in town.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Austin Kirk)

How to Satisfy Your Entrepreneurial Spirit (Without the Terror of Going it Alone)

This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100 percent mine.

So many of us dream of taking control of our careers in a way we often can’t when employed by another company (vs. working for ourselves). We’re given limited opportunity to do our jobs in ways that are even a smidge outside of the box. We’re expected to be at our desks for these precise hours every day. We have little or no control over our incomes or salary growth.

For all these reasons, entrepreneurism can seem like a mighty appealing career option—until you factor in the risk. And the potential for feeling isolated and under-supported. And the scariness of having to learn the many (MANY) things required to operate a successful business.

For a lot of professionals high on entrepreneurial spirit and drive, these possible downsides will outweigh the potential upside to the point that they stay on the side of safety, in those jobs with limited flexibility, no room for growth, and little freedom or control.

But, what if there were a way to take command over your career and salary without the terror of going it alone?

Come to find out, there is. 

More and more companies today – including some of the largest, best-known brands in the world – are out looking for professionals with this hunger, drive and entrepreneurial spirit. They’re looking for people to help their organizations grow and thrive, while simultaneously offering roles (plenty of them are sales-related) that enable professionals to operate in much the same way a full-on business owner does, yet with the training, tools and ongoing support that small business owners rarely receive when going it alone.

(I can vouch for this – My primary “training” when I launched my first business involved searching the internet for hours, until I found the help or answers I needed.)

We’ve joined up in a campaign with one such company, Aflac. 

Aflac is a Fortune 500 insurance firm whose agents are all independent contractors – or entrepreneurs. But the key here is this – they’re entrepreneurs who are gaining that flexibility, freedom and earning potential while also enjoying optional company-provided training, tools and hands-on support to help ensure that they’re successful in their roles.

Sound like your cup of tea?

You can learn more about it right HERE:


Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Aflac agents are independent agents and are not employees of Aflac.
FORTUNE 500 is a registered trademark of Time Inc. and is used under License. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Aflac.


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Ranting: Cathartic (Maybe), But It Won't Land You a New Job

Over the weekend, I was looped in (read: dragged in) to a politically charged Facebook thread. It was one of those posts in which the initial author gets everyone revved up and then his responders spend the day trying to enlighten one another (or put one another in their places), in suppppperrr long rants back and forth (think: 500+ word blobs of text).

Always terrific fun.

I admittedly could not, would not, did not read through the entire thread (because: BAKING, PEOPLE. I was baking), but I did catch the gist of why I was being copied into the conversation -- It was a post intending to get small business owners all fired up about the taxes we're unfairly paying and how outrageous the entire system is. If I understood correctly, it was assumed that I was going to jump in and gripe and complain about my hard earned money being wrenched from my clutches and used in stupid ways by the government.

I did not get sucked in. I made one quick response about how I believe I'm here on this earth to support and help others, both through the services I offer and the tax dollars I contribute. And then I went back to my cookie baking.

Does that mean I'm not annoyed when stories of wasteful government hit the media? Nope. Does it mean I'm a Socialist? Nope. Does it mean I don't pay attention to or care about what's going on in my country, in our world? Absolutely not.

It means that I refuse to spend a precious Saturday blowing hot air out onto Facebook, because it doesn't just waste my time ... 

... it doesn't do anything to improve the situation.

These characters spent at least half of their Saturday madly attempting to set one another straight (which, as we all know, is not going to happen on FACEBOOK), to get the other guy to "see the light."

And at the end of the day, guess what? Nothing was different, for any of them. Sure, you had a half dozen people feeling significantly more riled up than they had earlier in the day, but from the standpoint of actually making an improvement or change, not one of them made their personal situations any better.

A similar thing plays out sometimes among frustrated job seekers.

When you're trudging through a lengthy job search, it can start feeling tremendously unjust. You may feel angry at HR people for being so impersonal, at hiring managers who judge you unfairly, at the software system that weeds you out without even giving you a chance, at the U.S. government for shipping so many jobs overseas, or at robots for doing things faster, more accurately and cheaper than we mere mortals can. (Don't be mad at robots. They're awesome.)

You may rant and rave to anyone who will hear you out.

And this is understandable. There's a lot to get angry about when you get down to it, because the overall staffing and recruitment system (much like the system that decides on the formulas for who pays what in taxes) is convoluted and imperfect. It's messy. It's overly complicated. It doesn't always deliver fair results. It's a beast.

But guess what? It's the system we're working with right now.

Given this, you really have a few choices:

  1. Get mad at how the system works and complain and complain about how unfair or bad or stupid it is (a la the Facebook rant), 
  2. Decide that you're not willing to play this game, and find another way to earn a living (e.g. start your own small business, so long as you can deal with the aforementioned "paying taxes" part), or
  3. Accept that you're dealing with a messy, imperfect system, and figure out strategies that enable you to move forward in spite of its messiness and imperfectness.

I mean, that's really it. Sure, you can commit yourself to helping the universe make a better system -- for both job search and for the tax code -- but that's probably not going to improve your personal situation in the short-term. 

So, what are you going to do?

Are you going to spend hours and hours griping about the ugliness of the system, or find tangible ways to improve your situation, take control and roll forward?

I vote the latter all day long.

I'm sure you do, too.

Please know that my heart is truly with every frustrated job seeker. Every one of you. I know it's ridiculously hard and overly complicated. I know that it's not fair. I know it shouldn't be about your age, or what you look like or if match up exactly to the job description or not (because, who does?) And I know that the technology that supports the staffing process benefits the hiring companies much more than the job seeker. (Because, duh, that's where the money is.)

But I also know it's not hopeless. I've worked with and seen so many, many people who have won at this, even when they were quite certain everything was working against them. Even when all they wanted to do was yell and kick and scream about how awful it all is.

I've helped them build strategies. I've redirected their energy toward activities that will actually move them forward. I've helped them negotiate better offers or launch small businesses. And I've raised a glass (both in person and virtually) to celebrate with them when they prevail. 

And I will gladly break away from my cookie making to help you do the same.

If you're interested ...

We're just about to begin booking new clients into January 2017. If you want to strategize on your job search (or throw around some ideas to launch your own business in the new year), I invite you to grab one our (few) remaining December consult slots right HERE

You are not broken, the system is. Let's get you into something great regardless.


How to Score a Professional Resume, When You Can't Afford a Pro

I joke often that I need a life manager. And it's really only halfway a joke. If money were no object, I'd bring in a hyper-organized, personable, proactive and incredibly versatile professional to help me keep my family and household running on all cylinders. 

I fantasize about having a live-in right-hand resource at the ready to help me with shopping, meal planning, organizing, dog walking, getting kids from point A to B at the precise moments they're supposed to be at point A or B, homework, you name it.

Unfortunately, that's not an option I can budget for quite yet, so I do my best to piecemeal my way through my personal affairs, with here and there help, extreme creativity and endless energy exerted.

It's not ideal, but I do my best to make it all work.

Do you have a similar challenge when it comes to your resume or job search?

Do you wish you had the budget to lob the whole darned thing over the fence and have a professional take over from there?

Do you have questions that you need answered?

Do you wish you had a good template you could work from?

Do you wonder if you're saying it right, doing it right or formatting it right?

Do you dread the assignment entirely?

If this sounds at all like you, this is one deal you want want to miss.

For the first time since we launched our Weekend Resume Course, we're offering it publicly for just $129.00.

This is $100 off our regular price of $229.

The self-paced course is designed to walk you step-by-step through the same process our team uses when creating professional resumes for our clients -- at a fraction of the cost. It includes worksheets, sample resumes, templates that you may wish to use, and a Q & A session that'll answer all the questions we hear most often about resumes.

Better yet -- It's designed to not just be survivable, but even moderately enjoyable. (Because that is how we roll at This doesn't all have to be torture, sheesh!)

If you're interested, you can check out a couple of preview modules of the course, or enroll right HERE

Just be sure and use promo code RESUMETHANKS at checkout, which will take $100 off. You'l have immediate access from there.

The deal's on through Sunday, 11/27.

If you're planning to re-do your current resume or create one from scratch over the next couple of weeks or months, be sure and take advantage of this $100 off deal.

And, for those who celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, have a wonderful, warm week and we'll see you back here on Monday!

(Looking for a lower-cost solution? Check out our Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit.

Crisis: It Will Shred You, or Shape You into a Warrior

Less than 24 hours ago I shared, very publicly and for the first time (on Facebook's Pantsuit Nation), a story that, 5, 10, 15 years ago, I never, ever imagined I'd share. 

It is the story of crisis. My crisis. An event that gave me staggering pain, shame and fear for a very long time. 

Pinned to a cold, hardwood floor, by a stranger whose friends were also gathered round to take it all in, I didn't know if I'd make it out of that room alive, no less live on to become a mother, wife, teacher, coach and business owner.

But here I am. 

What I share here today is not a political post, at least it does not intend to be.

It's not designed to solicit pity or discomfort.

It's a post that is designed to show you that, no matter your crisis -- whether that's in your personal life or your career, whether you caused it, or it was imposed on you without warning or fairness -- you pretty much have two choices:

Let it shred you, or use it as fuel to shape you into a warrior.

With the help of this election season, an amazing counselor, and the overwhelming goodness and support of 40,000 strangers on Facebook yesterday, I choose the latter.

Today, I fill out my application to serve on the Speakers Bureau for RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. If accepted, I will continue to use my voice to help others heal, rise up and then announce very loudly, "This will not be the end of my story, folks. Not by a long shot."

If you're in the midst of any kind of crisis right now, I am so sorry. I want you to know you are loved, you are supported, and that you matter.

If you're in the midst of crisis, I beg you not to let it shred you.

Because, now more than ever, the world needs more warriors.