careerBy Jacquelyn Brookins, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at American Public University

You’ve reached the finish line. After years of learning new methodologies, skills, and job specific knowledge, you are obtaining a college degree. Whether it’s your Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or beyond, the degree you sought is a reflection of the direction you have decided to go. With a vision and degree in tow, one question remains: What’s next?

Likely, it’s the goal of finding a new career to match your hard earned educational accomplishment. Check to see if your university has a career

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center to assist you with developing a focus and a plan to execute in order to find the job you desire. By now you have studied the different avenues you can explore within each field that fits your program of study, the private vs. public sector, and the average income you can expect from different occupations. This is a fantastic head start. I have one more suggestion as you continue on your journey: location, location, location!

 

Perhaps you have served in the military, or you grew up in a military family, so you’ve made your rounds and have a lot of experience with different states and countries. Maybe you haven’t, and you have been in one area for far too long or even (gasp) forever. Have you thought about incorporating a geographical element into your job search? Many job seekers are “open to relocation” or throw out two locations that they are interested in. If you are feeling adventurous, or just ready for something new, here are my tips on how to narrow down preferred locations.

First, make a list of all of the cities you have ever been curious about living in; especially ones that are known to have the types of jobs that align with your background. Watching HGTV for the last five years definitely helped me to generate a healthy list. Next, determine your desired climate. I created temperature perimeters with an average high of 85 degrees and an average low of 55 degrees. That’s right; I didn’t want to freeze, but I also didn’t want to live in sweltering heat. After that was the most realistic portion, the real estate market. I set a number I was comfortable with to buy a house; something slightly comparable, yet much less than my current residence. Lastly, because I have a family, it was imperative to throw in school ratings. Great Schools is my go-to resource for school research. After I had my perimeters in place, it was time to narrow down the list and see how many locations made the cut.

Surprisingly enough, there were seven cities I was interested in that fit my climate requirement, fell within my budget, and had above a seven for the school ratings. For the next two years, we made it our mission to visit each practical city on the list. We waited for flight flash-sales and penciled road trips into our schedule. Exploring new cities provides insight that can’t be gained from watching a TV show or doing research on the internet. By incorporating a geographical component into your job search, you are going beyond the occupation and expanding your horizons to new possibilities and adventures. Take that degree to a place you want to work, live, and create new memories.

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