2015′s Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job

by Richie Bernardo

WH Best Worst Cities to Find a Job BadgeIt’s a new year, which, for many, is also a time to renew one’s goals. Some will resolve to make small changes while others might consider overhauling their lives. But among the most popular New Year’s resolutions, finding a job or getting a better one consistently makes the list.

For those in search of employment opportunities, 2015 seems a good time to be on the job market, depending, of course, on where one lives. According to the National Association for Business Economics, nonfarm employment will grow by nearly 220,000 jobs per month while unemployment will fall to 5.4 percent by the fourth quarter.

In terms of job prospects and earning potential, college grads will have the upper hand. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that nearly 80 percent of recruiters expect to hire graduates with bachelor’s degrees in 2015, compared with only 2.9 percent for those with an associate degree and 14.2 percent with a master’s though these numbers are relatively unchanged from the previous year. In addition, a record two-thirds plan to raise starting salaries by an average of 3.7 percent for Class of 2015 graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

In order to assess the relative strength of local job markets, WalletHub analyzed 150 of the most populated U.S. cities across 16 key metrics. They range from job opportunities to employment growth.

Main Findings

 

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Overall Rank

City

“Job Market” Rank

“Socioeconomic Environment” Rank

1 Seattle, WA 2 12
2 Des Moines, IA 1 19
3 Gilbert, AZ 15 7
4 Sioux Falls, SD 12 8
5 Fremont, CA 10 14
6 Chandler, AZ 18 6
7 Omaha, NE 30 5
8 Salt Lake City, UT 4 61
9 Scottsdale, AZ 37 2
10 Plano, TX 33 9
11 Anchorage, AK 14 22
12 Irving, TX 3 67
13 San Jose, CA 11 36
14 Peoria, AZ 28 13
15 Santa Clarita, CA 16 25
16 Fort Worth, TX 7 65
17 Raleigh, NC 27 17
18 Lincoln, NE 51 3
19 Madison, WI 50 4
20 San Francisco, CA 6 94
21 Denver, CO 24 33
22 Columbus, OH 22 35
23 Virginia Beach, VA 29 29
24 Tampa, FL 19 53
25 Tulsa, OK 8 115
26 Dallas, TX 5 118
27 Overland Park, KS 73 1
28 Saint Paul, MN 26 34
29 Arlington, TX 20 47
30 Grand Prairie, TX 21 46
31 Honolulu, HI 17 69
32 Oklahoma City, OK 9 112
33 Pittsburgh, PA 39 26
34 Kansas City, MO 13 89
T-35 Huntington Beach, CA 41 31
T-35 Tempe, AZ 53 20
37 Austin, TX 44 26
38 Boise, ID 74 10
39 Washington, DC 23 82
40 Garland, TX 25 68
41 Minneapolis, MN 47 32
42 Irvine, CA 78 11
43 Henderson, NV 72 18
44 Wichita, KS 52 40
45 Lubbock, TX 55 38
46 Houston, TX 31 88
47 Amarillo, TX 54 54
48 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 100 16
49 Jacksonville, FL 38 79
50 Nashville, TN 46 75
51 Atlanta, GA 58 55
52 Fort Wayne, IN 64 42
53 Garden Grove, CA 42 80
54 Grand Rapids, MI 81 23
55 Durham, NC 65 44
56 Oceanside, CA 35 96
57 Corpus Christi, TX 61 64
58 Cincinnati, OH 40 113
59 Tacoma, WA 66 57
60 Charlotte, NC 67 56
61 Baton Rouge, LA 45 99
62 Richmond, VA 49 91
63 Chula Vista, CA 84 51
64 Louisville, KY 71 62
65 Santa Rosa, CA 89 45
66 Rochester, NY 48 106
67 Lexington, KY 103 24
68 Chesapeake, VA 91 49
69 Albuquerque, NM 83 52
70 Vancouver, WA 110 28
71 Phoenix, AZ 56 87
72 Pembroke Pines, FL 98 50
73 Cape Coral, FL 86 58
T-74 Colorado Springs, CO 119 15
T-74 Saint Louis, MO 43 131
76 Baltimore, MD 34 143
77 Montgomery, AL 75 73
78 San Antonio, TX 93 60
79 San Diego, CA 106 37
80 Riverside, CA 69 81
81 Aurora, IL 124 21
82 Boston, MA 57 98
83 Orlando, FL 60 105
84 Yonkers, NY 32 139
85 Mesa, AZ 102 59
86 Reno, NV 115 30
87 Glendale, AZ 91 76
88 Worcester, MA 88 78
89 Portland, OR 113 41
90 New York, NY 36 147
91 Greensboro, NC 107 62
92 Spokane, WA 111 48
93 Indianapolis, IN 69 109
94 Laredo, TX 80 93
95 Aurora, CO 99 77
96 Huntsville, AL 121 38
97 Akron, OH 76 116
98 Anaheim, CA 63 122
99 North Las Vegas, NV 101 86
100 Saint Petersburg, FL 67 120
101 Little Rock, AR 77 117
102 Glendale, CA 84 109
103 Buffalo, NY 95 101
104 Long Beach, CA 87 114
105 Cleveland, OH 59 141
106 Springfield, MO 82 127
107 Sacramento, CA 114 71
108 Providence, RI 79 129
109 Shreveport, LA 89 132
110 Bakersfield, CA 130 43
111 Jersey City, NJ 62 140
112 Knoxville, TN 109 108
113 Santa Ana, CA 94 128
114 Los Angeles, CA 96 134
115 Ontario, CA 117 92
116 Chattanooga, TN 108 126
117 El Paso, TX 129 71
118 Chicago, IL 120 101
119 Fontana, CA 135 66
120 Toledo, OH 122 97
121 Port Saint Lucie, FL 132 70
122 Las Vegas, NV 127 85
123 Miami, FL 97 146
124 Philadelphia, PA 104 142
125 Birmingham, AL 112 133
126 Milwaukee, WI 123 111
127 Fort Lauderdale, FL 125 119
128 Newport News, VA 133 95
129 New Orleans, LA 126 125
130 Tallahassee, FL 141 74
131 Oakland, CA 116 137
132 Norfolk, VA 118 135
133 Brownsville, TX 128 120
134 Oxnard, CA 137 100
135 Columbus, GA 139 103
136 Fayetteville, NC 144 83
137 Augusta, GA 143 84
138 Jackson, MS 131 138
139 Mobile, AL 134 130
140 Stockton, CA 136 136
141 Newark, NJ 105 150
142 Winston-Salem, NC 145 123
143 Tucson, AZ 147 104
144 Modesto, CA 148 107
145 Fresno, CA 146 124
146 Memphis, TN 140 144
147 Hialeah, FL 138 148
148 Detroit, MI 142 145
149 Moreno Valley, CA 150 89
150 San Bernardino, CA 149 149

 

Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job Artwork 2

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Ask the Experts

Although the employment projections for 2015 appear to be promising, the job hunting process can still be daunting, especially for those entering the workforce for the first time or facing particular obstacles. To ease the burden on job seekers, we consulted a panel of experts to share their advice on some of those challenges and how to overcome them. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. Which fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?
  2. What are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?
  3. What are the most common mistakes job seekers make when finding employment?
  4. What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?
  5. What types of programs have proven effective in helping unemployed persons find work?
  6. Should benefits be extended for unemployed people who have been out of work for a long period?
  7. Should unemployed people be required to do something in order to earn their unemployment benefits? If so, what?
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  • David M. Tirpak Assistant Director, Career and Employment Counseling, Howard Community College
  • John Bradac Director of Career Services, Ithaca College
  • Dale Austin Director of the Career Development Center, Hope College
  • Paul Thompson Dean of College to Careers, Harold Washington College
  • Steve Langerud Deputy Director of Global Development, Maharishi University
  • Ryan Brechbill Director, Center for Career & Professional Development, Otterbein University
  • Burton Nadler Assistant Dean and Director, Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center, University of Rochester
  • Jennifer A. Dillenger Director, The Space in The Mungo Center, Wofford College
  • Patty Bishop Director of Career Development, Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Kilinyaa Cothran Director of Professional Student Affairs, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
  • Elaine Boylan Senior Associate Director, Center for Career Development, Adelphi University
  • Bethany Lindsey Director of Academic and Student Affairs, Pinchot University
  • Jennifer Whitten Director of the Graduate Career Center, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

David M. Tirpak

Assistant Director, Career and Employment Counseling, Howard Community College
David M. Tirpak
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected that a number of professions and industries are expected to grow within the next 10-20 years. For specific occupations, dental hygienists, home health aides, marketing research analysts, medical secretaries, personal care aides, and physical therapists all have a projected growth rate of 30 percent or greater. With regard to career industries, cyber security, engineering, higher education, computing, health and health technology careers all have excellent occupational forecasts.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

We all are not immune to today’s economic landscape; however, many of the biggest challenges that job seekers face today involves our own attitudes and efforts. It is critical to stay positive, be realistic, and above all – do not give up! With growing competition (both in the United States and across the world), it is increasingly important to get noticed and articulate your personal brand.

To paraphrase career development legend and author of the best-selling job-hunting book in the world, Dick Bolles, “Google is your new resume.” Familiarize yourself with the constantly evolving technology (e.g., LinkedIn) and continually expand your network. It has never been easier, using today’s technology, to connect with people and identify mentors in your specific area of interest.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

The single most common mistake that job seekers make when seeking employment is not doing your homework and neglecting to fully research the organization or position. The person who reads your cover letter must see that you unmistakably “sell” the connection of “fit” between you and the position.

Relatedly, many job seekers fail to tailor their resume and cover letter for each position they apply for. Haphazardly “over-applying” to positions creates further work and frustration, and simply is not tactful. Today’s job seeker must appreciate that the job search is an investment and “job” in and of itself. Only apply to positions once you have researched the position and the organization. This process will allow you to assess your thoughts and feelings and determine your level of enthusiasm to perform the specified duties and responsibilities.

Another common mistake that job seekers make is that they may shy away from doing an internship. Many job seekers, especially recent college graduates, may feel entitled only to a paid opportunity. Internships provide a “foot in the door” and critical experience, which in turn, may allow you to break into a specific industry or organization. Everyone’s financial situation is unique, however, never rule out an unpaid internship. According to the NACE 2014 Internship & Co-Op Survey, employers made full-time offers to 64.8 percent of their interns!

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

The job search process can be incredibly taxing, frustrating, and anxiety-provoking. It is commonplace to receive many rejections before hearing that one “yes” that is needed to go from unemployed to employed. The job search process can be damaging to one’s ego. Not only dealing with ambiguity of not knowing if you will be hired, but also other components of the job search process (e.g., salary negotiation) can elicit anxiety for anyone. Anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. However, it is critical to effectively manage one’s anxiety so that it does not negatively impact your everyday functioning, or overall mental health. Connect with your support systems and consider seeking personal counseling with a psychologist or licensed counselor. Many counseling psychologists are specially trained in the area of vocational psychology and are well equipped to work with career development concerns across the lifespan.

What types of programs have proven effective in helping unemployed persons find work?

Less than three months ago, The White House announced $170 million in grants to support partnerships that connect the long-term unemployed to work (click here for article). Howard Community College in Columbia, MD features a program titled, Career Links, which aims to assist students who are low-income single parents or displaced homemakers. The program helps students’ access resources for academic, career, and employment success. Feedback from Career Links members has been overwhelmingly positive with regard to academic, career, and employment success.

John Bradac

Director of Career Services, Ithaca College
John Bradac
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

In the future we will see increased demand for health care providers at all levels form direct care to the allied health professions. We will also see fields associated with health care, namely the insurance industry grow at all levels. I also believe that we will see a dramatic increase in the demand for technical fields such as engineering and computer related areas. In the short term we will also see an overall demand in the job market in areas such as personal services and sales.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

Today’s job seeker needs to demonstrate a clarity of direction with the willingness to be very flexible in their search. It is difficult to lump all job seekers together. In the collegiate market, I believe it comes down to knowing what you want as a job seeker and discovering who does what you want to do. New job seekers often get stuck in only knowing a handful of branded organizations and/or job titles that they can do. I recommend that job seekers do their homework and discover the many opportunities available to them.

For experienced workers often it comes down to how flexible they can be. Needing or wanting to stay in their current location or requiring a certain salary may not be conducive to a successful search.

For all seekers it is important to understand your VISA (values, interests, skills and abilities), being able to share your skills and accomplishments with others.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Employers are often looking for both hard and soft skills. Candidates often are able to share their previous experiences but often forget to demonstrate their communication skills, teamwork skills, work ethic and problem solving skills.

A potential employer often is looking for a “fit” within an organization. Seekers must do their homework and demonstrate why they are that fit.

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

The job search is a never-ending, really big task often requiring a great deal of energy and time. I encourage seekers to break the job search down into small and measurable steps. Things like tuning up your resume, joining LinkedIn and other professional media sights or organizations, cleaning up and/or managing you social media presence and applying to a finite number of jobs per day and joining networking groups are good ways to combat becoming overwhelmed.

I also encourage job seekers to remember that getting to “Yes” means you have to have some ” No’s“ along the way. Few job seekers are successful in their first attempt and this process takes time and energy.

Dale Austin

Director of the Career Development Center, Hope College
Dale Austin
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

Health care is a major area, with a range of opportunities, from tech roles through primary care physicians.

IT and engineering and other technical specialties will grow and be in demand.

Major demographic shifts in the insurance world, with average age of professionals in their 50's and many expected retirements coming; this is a major employer group with a strong cross section of professional roles available.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

The need for initiative: critical to find work successfully.

The need for relevant experience, gained through internships and relevant summer jobs.

Another challenge is having a clear career goal and understanding and effectively articulating how your background has prepared you for the role.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Not investing sufficient preparation for their search.

Poorly crafted resume and cover letter.

Not practicing interviewing before going in for an interview. Not researching well the role and the company/organization.

Paul Thompson

Dean of College to Careers, Harold Washington College
Paul Thompson
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

Over 600,000 new jobs are anticipated here in Chicago over the next ten years in the most in-demand fields. To respond to this demand, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman launched College to Careers (C2C) in 2010. The C2C program forges partnerships between City Colleges and industry leaders and four year colleges to better align City Colleges’ curricula with the demand in growing fields. These partnerships also provide City Colleges’ students access to real-world learning experiences via teacher-practitioners, internships and top-notch facilities, and offer City Colleges’ students and graduates a first pass at job opportunities.

Each of our seven City Colleges has a designated College to Careers (C2C) focus area. Each of the programs outlined below were selected based on current and projected industry demand and growth. We worked with industry partners and analysts to not only project which jobs are and will be in demand, we also built curricula to prepare our students to meet this demand.

C2C Focus Area, College, # of Jobs

Business & Professional Services, Harold Washington College, 300,000

Culinary Arts& Hospitality, Kennedy King College, 44,000

Information Technology, Wilbur Wright College, 24,000

Healthcare, Malcolm X College, 84,000

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, Olive-Harvey College, 110,000

Advanced Manufacturing, Richard J. Daley College, 14,000

Construction Technology & Drafting, Kennedy King College, 23,000

Education, Human & Natural Sciences, Harry S Truman College, 39,000

Steve Langerud

Deputy Director of Global Development, Maharishi University
Steve Langerud
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

People, young and old, who are seeking growth industries should look to their right and left to see the baby boomers. Ten thousand per day are reaching retirement age. And they will live longer, be more healthy and active than any generation in history.

Home health care will be high on the list of growth industries in the coming decades as government assistance and personal preferences will keep seniors in their homes longer.

Financial services professionals who look holistically at health, extended family, and finances will serve boomers and their adult children in increasing sophisticated situations related to wealth management.

Food experts who produce, deliver, and prepare high quality, nutritious, and fresh food will be increasingly necessary and desirable. Low cost food production and distribution will be important. I predict we'll rely less on the government sanctioned 'organic' label in favor of locally sources and certified food sources.

Energy. People who seek to reduce our carbon footprint and make a profit are growing every day. Pay attention to the range of roles that will emerge related to renewable energy.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

Changes in the nature of relationships with employers.

Remember, by 2020 more than forty percent of the workforce will be self-employed or independent contractors.

Be prepared to change employment relationships more often.

Be autonomous and resilient by focusing on skills that can be applied to a range of industries.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

1. Focusing on experience is the single most damaging mistake for job seekers.

Skills are timeless and transcend the topics of industries. Remember that employers hire skills, not experiences. Experiences are simply the platform on which we display our skills.

2. Writing about yourself and for yourself. You must write LinkedIn sites, resumes, and letters about you, but for an employer. The job seeking process is about putting yourself into the context of a potential employer.

3. Asking for help from the wrong people. Everyone has an opinion about what we should do to get a job. But spending a lot of time and energy with people who don't work in our preferred industry or who are in a position to refer us to opportunities is a waste of precious time.

4. Be clear about what you seek to do - not what it is called - to stay open to new opportunities. Focus on the skills you need to use; issues you wish to engage; people with whom you thrive, as colleagues and clients; and the environment that gives you energy. THEN let people tell you what that is called in different industries.

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

Stay active and continue to engage other people.

Isolation is the enemy of job seekers. Remember, you are not the first person to be unemployed and you will not be the last.

While you have to find a job by yourself, you do not have to do it alone. There are so many people who want to help. But you have to ask.

We consistently underestimate the power of connecting with our broader community of people who care about us.

The active part of being in community is to do things that help others. Using our skills to help others improve their situation will come back to us tenfold if we seek out opportunities to help.

Keeping our skills sharp continues to remind us that we are competent and productive.

Should benefits be extended for unemployed people who have been out of work for a long period?

Yes, I would support extending unemployment benefits.

Should unemployed people be required to do something in order to earn their unemployment benefits? If so, what?

As I have worked with clients, they continue to talk about the history of the civilian conservation corps (CCC). Across ages, they speak about their desire to be busy, see results, and help others.

Younger clients want to change the world. They see a CCC-like program as one way to do well and do good while they continue to seek meaningful and lucrative work. They speak of underemployment as more damaging to their emotional lives than being part of a community of people working with a common mission.

Ryan Brechbill

Director, Center for Career & Professional Development, Otterbein University
Ryan Brechbill
Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

Some of the biggest challenges that job seekers face are connecting directly with hiring managers and effectively representing their skills and experiences to potential employers. Though it's easier than ever to identify and apply for opportunities, it's become increasingly difficult to contact individuals at prospective employers due to the technologically streamlined application processes.

Additionally, candidates struggle relating their experiences to the needs of potential employers. Conducting significant research on the organization and infusing that knowledge into application materials can really set candidates apart.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Candidates are not typically conducting enough research on an organization and explicitly stating why they want to work for that organization and how their skills and experiences can add value.

Burton Nadler

Assistant Dean and Director, Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center, University of Rochester
Burton Nadler
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

Sadly, this commonly asked question causes more harm than good. Given we cannot truly predict field growth, and diversity of student intellectual, academic and personality profiles, "what's hot and what's not" questions should never inspire career goal setting or goal attainment.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

The inability of students/candidates to express field, function and firm focused goals, then take steps to attain those goals are the biggest challenges. Students/Candidates who take advice to "stay open," without focusing on specific academics that target career fields, job functions, and related firms, are, ironically, "closing" themselves to opportunities. Bull's eye targeted academics, internships and more yield success!!!!

But, many well-meaning, yet unaware faculty, advisors, deans, as well as bloggers and writers give bad strategic advice. Employers seek focus and specialized training, not (although one can use vague surveys that seem to cite contrary views) generalized adaptable individuals.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Implementation of "general" versus "targeted" strategies, including "multipurpose" versus targeted resumes and cover letters. Students/Candidates who are "open to anything" are diminishing their chances for success. Those who can focus on "the three Fs" field, function and firm; and who can act upon "the 5 Ps," postings, places, people, programs and projects can be successful.

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

Take or, better, audit (doesn't cost) a course. Offer to complete a project (as a volunteer if needed) within a setting related to targeted field, function and firm (even for faculty who taught past courses). Serve as an intern (completing many projects) or as a "volunteer" within targeted field, function or firm. If possible (and you perceive the tuition as an investment in the future), participate in Dream Careers (www.summerinternship.com) or other "comprehensive fee based internship programs."

What types of programs have proven effective in helping unemployed persons find work?

Internship and apprenticeship or, as I would call it, "volunteership" programs that "prime the pump" project by project to employment.

Should benefits be extended for unemployed people who have been out of work for a long period?

Of course, but "free courses" related to their chosen field, function and firm targets would also be valuable.

Should unemployed people be required to do something in order to earn their unemployment benefits? If so, what?

Taking courses and volunteering within settings related to their chosen field, function and firm targets.

Jennifer A. Dillenger

Director, The Space in The Mungo Center, Wofford College
Jennifer A. Dillenger
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

While everyone points to technology as the largest growing sector, I think we will also see a resurgence in fields that require superior craftsmanship. Locally sourced and designed clothing, leather goods, arts & crafts, micro brewing, micro-distelling and other hand-crafted items will re-emerge. I think energy and sustainable manufacturing are also areas with a high growth rate. We need cleaner energy, environmentally friendly consumer products, and processes that will help undo a millennia of human strain on our planet. Our graduates will address these issues with knowledge, innovation and old-fashioned, hard work.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

Differentiation, how do you separate yourself from the masses? It isn’t enough to obtain a degree, you must also work more hours, gain experience, develop a deeper understanding and bring a unique set of skills to the position. The application process is different, the jobs are different, and the networks are different, how do job seekers adjust?

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Thinking they offer something special just by the essence of their experience or degree. You need to take steps to effectively communicate your skills, experience and knowledge. It isn’t enough to list your education and previous job titles. Find creative ways to illustrate your strengths. Do you have a career portfolio?

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

Schedule your job search. Treat it like your full time job, put in a full day, every day. Also, get outside, don’t sit at home. Try new coffee shops, the library, or even a McDonald’s with Wi-Fi. Changing your venue, staying focused on your task list, and working diligently will prevent moments to overthink and worry. Find a cheerleader, you don’t need this person for advice or recommendations, you just need them to speak kindly and thoughtfully during your tougher days.

Patty Bishop

Director of Career Development, Saint Mary’s College of California
Patty Bishop
Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

From my perspective, in working in a college setting, it’s trying to communicate that job seekers need to attain tangible work skills that employers seek in order to close the growing skills gap. The skills I am speaking of are both technical and good communication skills (both written and spoken), analytical, problem-solving, time management type skills. One of the best ways for students to do this is for students to engage in internship opportunities and learn from within what they need to learn in order to better prepare themselves to enter the workplace upon graduation.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

According to a Talent Marks poll, 95% of grads don’t have a career plan in place. We are not born job seekers, we need to pull in our resources, such as those found in a career center on your college campus. That’s step one. From there, come up with a strategy to find a job…consider this your job…to find a job. Perfect your resume to where your experience showcases your accomplishments. Have tangible examples that best explain why you feel you are worthy of the position you are applying to. And most importantly, frame every answer to what would be a benefit to the hiring manager you are speaking with. This all assumes you’ve made it to an interview, before this can happen, network like no other person you’ve met, at the local Starbucks, in line at the grocery store, join a professional association in the field you are pursuing….network, network, network.

What types of programs have proven effective in helping unemployed persons find work?

Going to your local Employment Development Office, run by the state is a good place to start. The job placement department usually has programming to offer job seekers and leads on future work. Aside from that, sign up for temporary positions with a staffing firm, there are a gazillion out there! When you go into to sign up, be sure you are wearing the proper interview attire and have a resume in hand. This way they will know you are dead serious and more likely to place you if you look prepared. Then, this is your opportunity to shine once you are given a job assignment. From there, it is up to you to prove you have a can-do attitude.

Kilinyaa Cothran

Director of Professional Student Affairs, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Kilinyaa Cothran
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

Forbes Magazine just highlighted pharmacy as the top health care profession in 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field to grow 14 percent by 2022. That means thousands of new jobs will be created. Another recent story by U.S. News and World Report cited many of the same reasons why a career in pharmacy is one of the best in the country.

It’s an exciting, challenging profession. Pharmacists of the future will be asked to counsel patients on the correct use of medications, and contribute their expertise into discussions on patient care with other members of the health care team including physicians and nurses. Pharmacists are the most accessible members of the health care team. As more and more Americans enter their senior years, pharmacists are on the front line to help patients manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

The biggest challenges of today are not all that much different than years past. Recent graduates need to think about how they’ll be able to stand out amongst the field of applicants. Often, that includes not only education but also work experience and demonstrating leadership qualities. Taking on a job while in school, or participating in job-specific training can help you stand out.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

For pharmacists and other medical professionals looking to graduate, the biggest mistake can be waiting too long. Some wait until graduation or passing professional licensing exams before applying. By that time, though, many jobs will already have been filled. For applicants looking to secure their first job, I would recommend going to an annual conference. In pharmacy, securing a position is often directly related to networking. Attending conferences is one way to perfect networking skill, meet the right people and secure that first job. For other industries, I’d recommend asking around about a similar situation.

When you do get that interview, it is not the time to be modest. Be proud of your accomplishments and talk about them honestly. Be specific in your answers to the interviewer’s questions. Another nice touch is a follow up after the interview. It might be the thing that puts you over the top. I recommend putting a hand written thank-you card in the mail that day, if possible, or the next day at the latest. Once interviews start, hiring decisions can be made very quickly.

Elaine Boylan

Senior Associate Director, Center for Career Development, Adelphi University
Elaine Boylan
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

1) Two main factors have been impacting the job market recently: the strengthening U.S. economy, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Due to the growing health needs of an aging population, the healthcare field continues to dominate the employment picture. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for those seeking jobs in the healthcare and medical fields, and fields reliant on healthcare, is strong from now through 2022.

While Registered Nurses, Home Health Aides, and Physician Assistants top the list of healthcare-related opportunities, prospects abound for those wishing to work in in an administrative or technical capacity, rather than in a position directly related to patient care. Opportunities exist for Pharmacy Technicians, Radiologists and Medical Laboratory Specialists, as well as Medical Coders and Database Administrators, which will need people with knowledge of medical equipment and terminology, medical billing (CPT / ICD-10 coding), and understanding of insurance reimbursement changes due to the ACA. Individuals with these skills will find countless opportunities.

Independent health practitioners who provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, hearing or speech services to patients with functional limitations or disabilities will also be in demand. Closely aligned are wellness or fitness services, as well as educational, recreational or social activities to enable those with disabilities to regain physical or mental functioning. Individuals with technical expertise, knowledge of medical terminology, and ability to administer diagnostic imaging techniques will find opportunities providing analytic or diagnostic data to health practitioners and their patients. Opportunities in these areas are expected to grow between 35-60% between now and 2022.

2) Information Technology, Management Information Systems and Cybersecurity are expected to add numerous jobs in the coming decade. Given the increase in mobile technology, along with the proliferation of data breaches within financial and credit institutions, opportunities exist in data management, systems analysis, software development, computer hardware and communications equipment, as well as in fields integrated with those technologies. Not only do workers need technical know-how, they need solid interpersonal and communication skills to be able to train and support users of their systems. Positions in IT and MIS, particularly those aligned with the medical and financial fields, along with programming, networking, software publishing, and software support, are projected to increase by up to 15% in the next eight years.

3) Accountants, Auditors, and Budget Analysts will continue to be in demand, as they analyze the financial health of private and corporate clients. Skills needed in these areas involve calculating, checking and recording numerical data to manage financial records, while abiding by federal and state regulations. Actuaries and Risk Assessors who analyze statistical and demographic data will be relied upon to forecast risk and liability to determine insurance rates and ensure financial strength. Between now and 2022, positions in these fields are expected to grow between 13% and 26%, making Accounting one of the strongest choices for a college major in the coming years.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

Whether a candidate is brand new to the job market, or has years of relevant experience, unique challenges may hamper the job search. In the former case, new college grads lacking relevant experience might not attempt competing for the job, particularly when an employer posts a laundry list of sought-after attributes. In the latter case, an experienced worker who is confident about his relevant knowledge and skills may price him or herself out of a new position because of higher salary or benefits expectations than what is being offered. HR Managers are often caught in the middle: seeking the most skilled candidate, while simultaneously trying to keep costs down by not hiring the overpriced candidate. The dreaded “overqualified” or “underqualified” justification for why he or she was not hired is a stumbling block to many job seekers.

A second, and increasingly common, strategy that employers rely on is information gathered from non-traditional sources (other than applicants who respond to a job posting). Personal recommendations, of course, carry great weight, but so does a candidate’s online presence. To get yourself noticed on the job hunt, you need to be more pro-active than ever in making your name -- and what you have to offer -- known to prospective employers. Personal marketing efforts such as a LinkedIn profile, along with a professional presence on other social media, enable you to showcase your abilities, accomplishments and knowledge, and present yourself as a viable candidate. The biggest challenge is in distinguishing yourself from every other job seeker out there. One good way to manage this is to target online communications (photos, Tweets, Pinterest posts, Instagrams and other messages) to particular industries, and ‘follow’ companies that you’ve had your eye on.

Bethany Lindsey

Director of Academic and Student Affairs, Pinchot University
Bethany Lindsey
1. Be specific. What are your talents? What are you good at? What type of work fulfills you? Refine your elevator pitch so you can be very specific about the type of job you want to pursue. It makes for a difficult search when you do not know a field you want to pursue.

2. Be organized. Make sure you have the correct company name and title in all your communications. Learn the names of those on the hiring committee. Send thank you notes. A little politeness goes a long way.

3. Going solo. Once you know more about what you would like to do, use your network to help you find your ideal job. Your network wants to help you get placed in the job that is right for you. Feel free to email out your resume to your entire network with the type of job you really want to pursue. Ask them for introductions to people who you can conduct informational interviews. Ask them to look for job openings that fit your skill set. Ask them for recommendations for jobs. The goal is for your network to help by finding a job that is the right fit for you. They know you and your talents and will help you seek the appropriate job.

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

It is rough looking for a job. The daily grind can really wear you down. It is very important to keep positive throughout the job search. You can do that by doing at least one active activity for the job search every day. Take someone out for an informational interview, send out resumes and cover letters, and/or search for interesting jobs. Once you have completed some "work" do something for yourself. It is a rough time with an uncertain future, but you have to take care of your physical and mental self while conducting an active job search. Try to keep active physically. Studies have shown that even 10 minutes a day outside can make dramatic improvements on a person's mood.

Jennifer Whitten

Director of the Graduate Career Center, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
Jennifer Whitten
What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?

Technology and health care are fields that have been experiencing growth and will continue to flourish. In technology, the greatest growth will be in understanding data as it relates to making impactful decisions in organizations. As technology keeps evolving and changing, so will the related careers.

Throughout all different industries and functions, the demand for leaders will rise. As managers retire, we’ll see a need to replace them with leaders who can motivate teams and bring innovative ideas to the table.

Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?

One of the greatest challenges is that most job applications are now online, affording no opportunity for a personal connection. Creating those connections and networking can be hard for some to candidates to master, but if they can find ways to get out in their communities and meet people, then they will be more successful.

Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?

Similar to the previous question… They need to start thinking about getting out from behind the computer, where they’re applying for jobs, and start networking in person.

What should unemployed people do to combat depression and anxiety while looking for a job?

The job search is a roller coaster, with ups and downs and twists and turns, but eventually it stops, and you get your feet back on the ground. One of the best ways to keep motivated is to set small daily goals for your job search. They need to be goals that are reasonable to achieve, so you feel successful and can move on once they have been met. For example, set a goal to find one job lead a day for a week, and then progressively add on other tasks. One often-overlooked strategy is to add volunteering to a job search plan. By volunteering, you can build your resume, network and fulfill a need for a sense of purpose.

Methodology

To find the best and worst job markets in the U.S., WalletHub analyzed the 150 most populated cities across two key dimensions, namely “Job Market” and “Socioeconomic Environment.” We assigned a heavier weight to the former as these factors most heavily influence a job seeker’s decision in terms of relocation for employment. We then identified 16 metrics that are relevant to those dimensions. The data set and the corresponding weight for each metric are listed below.

For our sample, we chose each city according to the size of its population. “City” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

Job Market - Total Weight: 10

  • Job Opportunities (Number of Job Openings Minus Number of Unemployed People): Double Weight
  • Employment Growth (Rate of Annual Job Growth, Adjusted for Working-Age Population Growth): Full Weight
  • Monthly Median Starting Salary: Full Weight
  • Unemployment Rate for High School Graduates: Full Weight
  • Unemployment Rate for People with Bachelor's Degree or Higher: Full Weight
  • Industry Variety: Full Weight
  • Full-Time Employment (Number of Part-Time Employees for Every 100 Full-Time Employees): Half Weight
  • Percentage of Employed Workforce Living Under Poverty Line: Full Weight
  • Disability Friendliness (Percentage of Employed Workforce with Disabilities): Half Weight

Socio-Economic Environment - Total Weight: 5

  • Median Annual Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living): Full Weight
  • Time Spent Working & Commuting (Average Commute Time & Length of Average Workday): Half Weight
  • Benefits (Employees with Private Health Insurance): Half Weight
  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight
  • Safety (Crime Rate): Full Weight
  • Social Life (Number of Cafés per Capita & Number of Nightlife Options per Capita): Full Weight
  • Emotional Health: Half* Weight
    *Data for this metric were available only at the state level.

 

Sources: Data used to create these rankings were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council for Community and Economic Research, Yelp, Indeed and Gallup Healthways.

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Richie Bernardo is a financial writer at WalletHub. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a minor in business from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Previously, Richie was a journalism…
994 Wallet Points
Good to know the Lone Star state is ahead of the curve in staving off the 'recession'. Minor note though, the football stadium you made note of is in Arlington, TX not Dallas. The Cowboys haven't actually played in Dallas since 1970.
Mar 5, 2014  •  Reply  •  Flag