Location, Location, Location

The job market is extremely competitive, and one small disadvantage can cost you the offer.  Location can be an advantage for you or hold you back, especially for young jobseekers competing for their first job.  Here’s how.

Jacksonville, like many sprawling cities, is really a series of neighborhoods rather than a cohesive city.  If you live at the beaches, you usually eat, shop and play there – and would work there if you could.  The same is true for our other unique neighborhoods; people seldom venture out of their part of the city unless there’s a great enticement.

That means that if you work in service, retail, or hospitality, you have a chance to work in your neighborhood.  You may also have a chance to work in a local professional office (think doctor, attorney, accountant, etc.)  If you live near where you want to work, use it in the interview to stand out as a potential employee.  In most retail and professional offices, dependability is one of the most important characteristics for a worker – and believe it or not, one of the hardest to find.  Yes, just showing up every day on time will make you a standout employee.  So if you’re local, say so, and talk about how you’ll be on time every day and available to come in on short notice.

If you are great with directions, and your job requires any travel, talk about that in the interview.  You can make a case for efficiency, savings in time and fuel, and more productivity if you know your way around the city.  If you are in sales, you can talk about how being local gives you insight into local business and neighborhoods, an advantage if you’re competing with new college grads who may also be new to the city.

If you’re the one who is new to the city, make it your business to become familiar with the local landmarks and the major commuting routes.  Invest in a GPS system that will help you get around.  Make the case to your employer that native knowledge of the land is good, but the ability to adapt to challenges with technology is even better.  If you’re savvy enough to find a solution to your shortcomings with directions, you’ll be more likely to solve more of your own problems on the job.

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