They tried to make me go to London, but I said no, no, no!

A recent report by the RSA Think Tank argues that encouraging graduates to live and work closer to home could be the ideal way to boost local economies. There are talks of help for employers to pool resources so they can offer “golden handcuffs” over a range of industries and sectors to those graduates who commit to working in an area for a set number of years (from bbc.co.uk).

Here are my top 10 tips on how to get a job locally rather than with a national company:

  1. Research the local job market – Find out who the employers are and what sort of employment is on offer in your local area. Local Government sites and the Office for National Statistics provide information about the local labour market. The Careers and Employability Service ‘Working in Kent’ page is a good starting point.
  2. Use local papers and magazines – Local newspapers and magazines can be an excellent source of information to aid your job search. They will often contain job adverts for local businesses as well as featuring stories about new and existing organisations. For example the Canterbury Index magazine has a business section which includes a business of the month feature.
  3. Use social media – follow local companies on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media again is an excellent source of information for job searching. Smaller companies will often advertise through their social media as this is free. Follow local councils, MPs and business partnership organisations as they will often offer breaking news on the local job market as well as advertising events. Start My Biz is a good example of this.
  4. Use job sites – Search job sites for opportunities. Some sites will be national such as Monster and Reed. Some sites will be more localised e.g. Jobs in Kent and Kent Jobs.
  5. Attend local job fairs – Job Fairs often run locally and offer an opportunity to meet with a number of local employers under one roof. Do your research before attending- find out what companies are attending and what opportunities they may have on offer. Prepare your CV before you go and make sure that you can talk about why you would be suitable for the job. Look out for the Careers Fair at the University in November.
  6. Go to local networking events – These are often advertised in local newspapers and magazines as well as via twitter. The Canterbury Innovation Centre often has networking events, The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce offer them as do Kent Business Tweetup.
  7. Make yourself a spreadsheet of local employers – Build up a bank of local employers by entering them on a spreadsheet when you come across them. You can then easily refer to this on a regular basis to check if they are recruiting.
  8. Consider temping – Temping can potentially lead to full time jobs, give you an idea if you like the job and provide you with local contacts as well as experience. Sign up with a local recruitment agency. Recruitment agencies can offer short and long term work and may be a good route into jobs.
  9. Volunteer – Many local organisations will recruit volunteers. Volunteer positions can sometimes lead to paid work and they will certainly lead to experience that you can put on your CV. Consider connecting to your local volunteer centre for a full list of opportunities. Canterbury and Herne Bay Volunteer Centre are a good source of advice as are Kent Union.
  10. Go and talk with employers/speculative application – Write to or ring employers and ask to speak with them. A lot of jobs are not advertised so speculatively approaching them can uncover opportunities. Local business centres have a lot of employers under one roof. These are often start-up companies who are unlikely to recruit via external measures.

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