Not What I Do, But Where I Do It

I went on a bit of a job hunt this past week. Availing myself of some big-name job boards and some lesser-known (to me) ones, I found 10 positions that, with a little elbow grease, I could see myself in. They range from a destination manager for a tour company (basically, selling the company to the attractions in the area) to a plain, old salesperson. What they all have in common: A desirable location and person-to-person interaction.

I began looking using LinkedIn, as it’s the platform with which I’m most familiar. I then moved onto Indeed because it’s the only other platform I have used before. I also used Ventureloop, themuse.com, Uncubed, and Built In NYC to find the other jobs. My favorite of those was Uncubed. The interface was easy to understand and the search worked quite well. Built In NYC also had excellent search filtering for a site that was so specific.

Initially, I narrowed things down by typing in “sales” or “marketing,” checking the “entry-level” box, and going to town. I soon found this to be a waste of time—not because my queries were too vague, but because there is an upsetting amount of spam job postings. I don’t really want to sell knives door-to-door for the rest of my life, or work for any one of dozens of shady insurance companies.

Eventually, I learned how to separate the wheat from the chaff by keeping an eye on how postings were written. Lots of words in all capital letters? Probably junk. Non-specific job description?  No thanks. Salary ranging from $10k-$75k? Goodbye.

What was most surprising, aside from the spam listings, was just how valuable coding is as a skill. Even when I did my best filtering, some jobs involving coding would still trickle in, and when you removed all filters, it seemed like 80% of the jobs were coding-related. It was a little disheartening to see how many more people want coders than copywriters, but I suppose that can be taken as yet another challenge.

I soon realized that to me, the most important thing in this process is location. I don’t have a problem with many jobs as long as they’re in the right place. What that means is entirely up to me—I could live anywhere from New York City to Rapid City (in South Dakota) and be as happy in one as I’d be in the other. But what’s important is that I find value in the location. I’m willing to do work that’s less enjoyable if the location is high on my list.

I also found that the second most important thing is interaction with others, be it one-on-one stuff like sales, or more “general audience”-type stuff with marketing. What matters is that I’m communicating with—and potentially influencing—someone else.

What I’m focused on right now is not really a role type, but an experience. The role is secondary. What matters to me is living somewhere valuable and gaining skills that are valuable. Whether I gain those skills in St. Louis writing copy or D.C. making cold calls is irrelevant. What matters is that I squeeze every bit of potential out of whatever opportunity I land. If I do that, I’m confident I’ll be able to learn whatever skills might be important down the road. In that case, why not make location a first priority?

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