How to Find Jobs in My Area

Job Fair
Elizabeth Walton (L) introduces her insurance company to potential new employees at a job fair December 02, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. Natalie Behring/Getty Images

Here are five smart steps to take to find a good job in your area. These steps will save you a lot of time and frustration, even if you just need a minimum-wage job to start next week. 

First, find out if anyone is even hiring. Why beat your head against a wall? Some states have higher unemployment rates than the national average, so you are less likely to find a job in those areas. For more, see Which States Have the Best Economies?

Second, you'll want to see what types of jobs are being added to the economy. For that, check out the most recent jobs report. For example, you'll see that healthcare has been adding jobs even through the recession. For the latest trends, here's the Jobs Opportunity Outlook.

Third, and now that you know what you're up against in your area, look at the top 10 skills that are in demand. Then look at your past experience, and think of where you've demonstrated those skills. If you can point to times where you've either made your employer money, or cut costs, write down those exact amounts. You want to be specific on your resume and in your interview. You are being hired for those specific skills to contribute to the company's bottom line. Make sure you understand how the profit motive works in businesses. Even non-profits and the government want to prove you are worth what they pay you.

Fourth, now you're ready to go to any of the online job boards and type in your zip code.

One of the most popular, SnagaJob, is for hourly workers, retail, and entry-level position. 

The U.S. Government is the largest single employer in the country. These jobs offer good benefits, as well. To find a government job in your area, check out this guide to U.S. Government Info, Find a Government Job.

The fifth step is to consider the following alternatives that work very well for people who want jobs in their area.  The Great Recession forced many employers to switch to contract, freelance and temporary employment. Initially, they were afraid to add full-time workers because it just didn't seem like the economy was ever going to get out of recession. They soon realized they preferred employees that they could bring on when business was strong, and drop when business slowed down. They liked being able to hire someone with the exact right skills for a particular project.

Here's how to find work in the Freelance Economy.  For example, you'll want to learn about the types of temporary jobs, and see if your skills match.

Call centers are always looking for workers. One of the greatest new trends is call centers in your own home. Here's all you need to know about home call centers. Here's more about how home-based call centers are bringing jobs back to the United States.

Create your own job allows you to be your own boss. This works best if you live in or near a heavily-populated area, a wealthy area, or a resort. Here are some great ideas if for summer do-it-yourself jobs or small businesses you can start for $20 or less.