Hired! Map out your next career move
By pinpointing potential employers across the country and contacting them, one job seeker was able to land a new job - and a new home.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- There are jobs out there, but it might just require a map to find them.
For nearly 14 million unemployed Americans, finding a job is an arduous process that can take almost six months on average, according to the Labor Department.
But for some job seekers, getting that next offer can be relatively quick if they broaden their search. One way to find opportunities across the country: Google Maps.
When Timothy Buys decided it was time for a new start, his possibilities were only limited by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Buys, 25, was laid off from his accounting job at a small accounting firm in Kalamazoo, Mich., right in the middle of tax season.
Instead of looking for other accounting positions in the region, which has been particularly hard hit by the recession, Buys branched out. "I was totally up for just moving anywhere in the U.S.," he said.
To find his pool of potential employers, Buys literally zoomed in on large public accounting firms in cities like Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Phoenix, by using Google Maps to guide his search.
With the search engine's satellite views of the U.S., Buys could easily access the location of firms that met his criteria, plus find a quick link to each accounting firm's Web site. From there, he sent his résumé and cover letter explaining his desire to relocate out of Michigan.
It worked. "I was surprised by the response I received," he said, "I talked with recruiters and firms all over the country and had several phone interviews."
After only 4 weeks of searching, Buys had several in-person interviews at firms across the country and one job offer with Crowe Horwath at its Springfield, Ill., location.
"I used the satellite view to see the area and see what the buildings looked like and used street view to see the building itself," he said. He could also determine the proximity of malls, parks, schools and housing, to get a sense of whether the neighborhood was a fit for him.
After accepting a position with Crowe, Buys packed up his belongs and moved to the suburb of Chicago and started as a staff accountant on May 4.
He even used Google Maps to find an apartment near his new office. But as for finding a roommate, that's when he turned to his other key online source - Craigslist.
"You can find everything on Google Maps and Craigslist," he concluded.
So far, Buys says he loves his new job and the people he works with in Springfield. "It has also been very rewarding to see a new area of the United States and to learn from it," he added.
Our career experts say that in today's tough labor market, it helps to find a creative way of job searching.
"Because most people are going through conventional methods of finding a job, you're going to meet the most competition going the conventional way," according to Cheryl Palmer, an executive career coach at Call To Career in Silver Spring, Md.
Dan King, principal of Career Planning and Management Inc. in Boston, recommends developing a list of desirable employers and then finding industrious ways to get in front of them.
"It's a buyers market and the employer is the buyer, they don't need to find you, you need to target the employer," he said. "Whether they use Google maps or another resource, job seekers should target the areas they are interested in and find the major employers there," King added.
Palmer encourages job seekers to think outside the box, particularly by bypassing job boards and going directly to the employer. As long as your tactics are "within reason," she said, they will likely be impressed with your resourcefulness.
"If you're doing the same thing everyone else is doing, how do you stand out?" Palmer asked.
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