Help wanted - finding a job in Duluth
October 9, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Jobless in Duluth (MN). How to become job-ful?

My kid has been living in Duluth for a year or so, and has yet to find a job. She says the job market is really tight because of all the college students in the city.

I was going to suggest she go through some temp agencies to maybe find some sort of office/clerical/receptionist job, but I did a search on Career Builder and was shocked at how few jobs came up. One page of results, most of which was spam from the Army and some other place that is probably offering crappy telemarketing gigs. A quick search on a couple of the local temp agencies didn't yield much either.

She's 24, has a GED but no college to speak of. She's got basic computer skills, competent with Word, passing familiarity with Excel. She's had some experience in restaurants but her job history is so spotty that her experience doesn't amount to much. (She's had issues with ADHD and depression which she is getting under control with therapy and meds.)

She has a car but it's not great on gas so she doesn't want to commute too far out of Duluth.

Is the job market in Duluth really that hopeless? If there are jobs to be had, where should she be looking? Are there websites other than Career Builder where Duluth-area jobs would be more likely to be listed? Is there a particular industry she should focus on for submitting applications? A particular company/institution that hires a lot and is a decent opportunity?

Any suggestions? She's seriously broke at the moment and needs to find something ASAP.
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What does she do for fun?
posted by parmanparman at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2012

AT&T and many others are hiring for the holiday season. I know AT&T is hiring for retail stores now and many companies retain 20-30% of the holiday work force. May not be her job of choice but a paycheck is a paycheck.
posted by shaarog at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2012

Response by poster: She doesn't have any money for hobbies or entertainment. Mostly she likes to read and hang out with friends. No particular talents, if that was the reason for the question. Well, she writes quite well but not enough to get paid for it I don't think.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:48 AM on October 9, 2012

Is the job market in Duluth really that hopeless?

Career market, not so bad. Job market, yes. When I used to live in Duluth, the economy was tanking. Is it still? It is hard to get a job in Duluth without special skills in general; a lot is based on the tourist season and it really is just a gigantic college town, though locals insist that it isn't.

She's 24, has a GED but no college to speak of. She's got basic computer skills, competent with Word, passing familiarity with Excel.

Well, then her competition is really with other college kids, and there are plenty of those up there seeking part time employment, so she already has that going against her.

See if Target or Menards will hire her for a bit for the holiday season. There may also be jobs on the UMD campus that can't be fulfilled by student workers because of their schedules. I knew a lot of people how worked on campus but didn't attend classes on campus.

Beyond that, she may need to focus on getting a specific skillset in her toolbox.
posted by TinWhistle at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2012

The Duluth paper has entry-level jobs. Much better than the net. She should also walk the mall and harbor and look for help wanted signs.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:12 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Volunteer work? United Way of Greater Duluth has a website packed with opportunities.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2012

Seconding United Way. Ask her to try to get volunteer work in the fundraising office. If she's good it will lead to a job (somewhere else most likely)
posted by parmanparman at 10:56 AM on October 9, 2012

Has she thought of looking at the U? Part time jobs, and maybe she could work her way into taking classes, too.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2012

To be clear she should get a subscription to the Duluth News-Tribune. Just looking on the net won't get her many entry-level jobs. Most jobs my friends have/had were retail or personal care, or social services like working at a group home. As you can imagine, many young people do not stay in Duluth as the career paths aren't there.

Also have her look on the hospitals and colleges (including St Scholastica and UW -Superior) websites for cleaning/janitorial/maintenance jobs. No shame in an honest job and they sometimes have benefits or union representation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I read an article a while back about how Duluth is tough (especially for outsiders) because local businesses tend to hire people they already know.
I'd recommend hitting the streets with a résumé, dropping it off at places she'd like to work, even if they aren't hiring. Asking to talk to the owner might help, too. Make some small talk and express interest.
Retail might be starting to think about the holiday shopping season.
posted by starman at 12:23 PM on October 9, 2012

Totally agree with starman, personal connections are important. I really should emphasize again how important it is for her to get out of the house and talk to potential employers. Ask everyone she knows for leads. My in-laws hired some kids who just knocked on their door offering to lift heavy things. Now those kids have a great local reference and network.

If she can get connected to a church she'll meet some people too and probably get some free meals. The UUs there are good people. If she's interested in childcare she can volunteer in the nursery and make connections that way.

Also it would be great if you mefimailed me as I thought of something else that might work to tide her over.

Best of luck to her.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2012

Have her take a look over the river into Superior. I know that Superior is down and out as well, but if geography is a limiting factor, then the jobs will be limited. As I imagine you already know, the main parts of Superior are pretty close to Duluth proper so there may not be a long drive.

In line with looking for roles in the harbor, make sure you figure out what companies work at the Duluth and Superior airports doing cleaning, administrative and luggage handling. There may be openings for those roles on the websites of the companies that work at the airports.
posted by lstanley at 12:44 PM on October 9, 2012

I'd try a temp agency like Manpower anyways - they should be able to contact her with some opportunities that fit her skills in fairly short order.

Also, local government agencies, since they're always looking for people for entry-level positions in various departments as people move up to higher positions.
posted by flod logic at 2:08 PM on October 9, 2012

Several Duluth friends have recently been hired by Enbridge Energy.
posted by carmicha at 3:16 PM on October 9, 2012

She could try banks. Banks are always looking for tellers and personal bankers. They don't pay a lot to start but there are good opportunities to move around once you're in. Wells Fargo in Duluth is listing 13 jobs on their website right now. Also try US Bank and TCF. Teller positions are probably the more entry level of the two if she doesn't have much work experience, but if she does well, she could easily move into a banker position and could go anywhere from there.

Also retail stores, as mentioned, will be hiring for the holidays, so check the malls (JC Penney, Kohl's) and grocery stores as well as Target and Wal-Mart.

Probably the best way to find jobs these days is to go to the website of the company you're targeting and look on their Careers page. Don't put any filters on the search aside from location - Duluth is small enough that there won't be hundreds of results coming up - and she can look through them and see which ones she think would be a good fit. I'm not familiar with all the big companies up there but try the banks to start and maybe hotels as well for desk clerk positions.

Would she be interested in going back to waitressing? I was a server for years and you can make a decent living at it. A spotty work history won't necessarily hurt her here. She doesn't (and shouldn't - for any position) need to mention her depression and a lot of spottiness can easily be explained away.

Here are all the employment agencies in Duluth.

This is a list of all the businesses registered with the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. I would probably just start looking through them and visit the companies (or websites) of the places that interest me.

Good luck to her! I hope she finds something.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:48 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Lots of great suggestions, I will pass them along to her. Thanks a bunch!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:46 PM on October 9, 2012

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