Employment in semi-rural area?
September 7, 2016 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Recently moved to a semi-rural area, a place that is a 45 minute drive from lots of bigger places but seems to lack employment opportunities in the immediate vicinity. But, I need a job. Anyone have any ideas for websites, online employment, even small business options I could look into?
posted by erattacorrige to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What are your skills? What country is this in? What is the local industry?
posted by AFABulous at 1:30 PM on September 7, 2016

It's in the USA- the local industry appears to be beer and wine. My skills are all the usual for someone in my age range (mid-late 20s); computery stuff, I've taught abroad, worked in public welfare, done nannying, I can actually draw and paint pretty well, speak a couple languages, have worked in restaurants....
I feel like I'm pretty qualified to do, well, a lot of things. I just don't know how to FIND things around here.
posted by erattacorrige at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2016

Have you tried networking with whatever institutions exist, such as chamber of commerce, career center at local community college or other schools (including local high school), hospitals, city government, nonprofits? Are there temp agencies (perhaps based in larger cities) that have placements in your area? Have you contacted local schools to ask about subbing or tutoring? Have you talked with neighbors?
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:55 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could try to find work-from-home positions elsewhere.

The local newspaper should still run job classifieds, although the quality may vary. Craigslist in the bigger nearby cities might also have some listings for

Beyond that, networking. Presumably, you didn't just move to a random small town for no obvious reason. Something (family, school, spouse's job, etc.) attracted you there. Whatever that was, it's a good place to start networking. Ask those people if they know of anything, or if they know of anyone who'd know. And then keep expanding the circle. This is easier said than done (I moved to a large city once like this, and it took me months), but it eventually works.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:05 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

What's keeping you from looking for work in the nearby bigger towns?
posted by lazuli at 2:48 PM on September 7, 2016

A lot of people in this situation do commute the 45 minutes to their jobs if they can't find a local position. If you moved there for a partner's job, you can decide to split the difference (live in between the two places) so each of you has an approximately 20 minute commute instead of one shouldering the full burden.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:19 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ask the local library. They are typically used to assisting with employment searches anyway and will be able to give you invaluable local knowledge of what other people do and potentially local opportunities.

Relatedly, churches tend to be the local hub in rural areas for anything. If you are the sort of person that joins one, it would be a good place to ask advice.
posted by veery at 7:53 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Around here, the rural towns aren't particularly wired: jobs are posted in the tiny newspaper, on the bulletin boards in the truck stop, library, church, and grocery store (if you're lucky enough to have all four), and word-of-mouth. You may have to do footwork to find one; also, that word-of-mouth part means friends of friends tend to get preferential treatment, so if you haven't networked much you might have the short stick.

Those routes are also used for "looking for work" messages -- put an ad in the paper, on those bulletin boards, and maybe even walk into places you think you might fit and ask if they are hiring.

Small town people are accustomed to driving to get things, around here people as much as 50 miles out drive into Fargo for work every day, so as others above mentioned, you may be looking too local.

But: a lot of small towns around here have a computer handyman guy -- if your small town doesn't have one, you could be it if you're a computery person; if you can teach your other skills offer to teach a class; offer babysitting/daycare services (get licensed of course), etc, and all those services get advertised in the little paper, on those bulletin boards, and by word of mouth.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:22 AM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I live in a semi-rural area and agree that you'll likely do better pounding the pavement and meeting face to face rather than looking at websites.

If I had your skills/experience and were looking for work in my tiny town, these are the places I'd visit:
- Local schools for teacher support, substitute teaching or some kind of computer or A/V maintenance role
- Local library where they might hold classes on topics you know about (e.g. maintaining your pc/laptop, etc.)
- Sole-proprietor law and accountant offices where they might need office support or a receptionist
- A regional bank or credit union office, possibly as teller or customer service; possibly start part time and work up
- A larger restaurant where there's likely to be turnover (there are only three in my area)
- Big box stores like Wal-Mart, Menard's, Lowe's, etc.
- We have three grocery stores which might need overnight shelf stockers, etc.
- Retail shops, especially along Main Street where business might be a bit better
- Small manufacturing plants that might need office support
- Look for the inevitable hobby shop, where your art and teaching background might give you an edge (scrapbooking is huge in these parts)
- Reception at a car dealership or an auto repair place
- Local pharmacies, of which there are several in my area
- If there is a large local employer nearby--Abbott Labs in my case--they might hire daycare service or office clerical employees
- Home cleaning/pet care service providers

While you're looking, be open to small one-off projects for all of the above, like fixing a bum pc or securing a wifi network, etc., for a flat fee.

Most of these possible employers will have nothing approaching an HR department, so you'll likely be talking to decision-makers. Be sure to emphasize that, while you're looking for work, you're also new to the area and are enjoying getting to know folks in your community (e.g. networking).

Hope this helps. Good luck!
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:51 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Networking is probably your best bet. I live in a town like the one you describe (except actually rural, not just semi-rural), and I got my most recent job because my husband's sister's friend mentioned that her workplace needed somebody for a part-time job and it sounded like it fit my skillset. Voila!

Have you considered substitute teaching? You'll have to get fingerprinted, but that might be a good avenue for intermittent money. You might luck into a long-term sub job which would mean a steadier paycheck.

Look on Craigslist based on the nearest large town. My "local" CL is for two cities that are 45 and 90 miles away, and I set up an email alert for jobs (any jobs!) that mentioned my tiny town. Also check your state's Department of Labor website and see if they have a "job seekers" section (for instance, this is the Idaho one) as sometimes companies will post there but not on CL.

Find and join a neighborhood/city Facebook group. Yes, it will probably be a garbage fire most of the time but occasionally people will post that they are hiring, or you could post that you are looking for work and specify what you're good at - someone might give you a lead.

Best of luck!
posted by meggan at 12:28 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you everyone! Wonderful suggestions.

You guys rock.
posted by erattacorrige at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2016

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