Your Portland Job Search Survival Guide

Just like the CDC prepared you for the zombie apocalypse, I’m here to prepare you for your Portland job hunt. Finding a new job in Portland can be a scary proposition, but it can be done.

If you plan ahead and follow these 10 survival tactics, I assure you that it won’t be nearly as bad as a zombie apocalypse.

1. Create an emergency kit

If you’re unemployed and thinking of moving to Portland, I’d advise you to have some money in your bank account. The job market is competitive and you’ll want to make sure that you have a financial cushion in case employment doesn’t happen right away.

Have an interview outfit picked out, along with business cards, resume paper, ink in your printer, and a professional briefcase or portfolio binder to carry your stuff. This way you’ll be ready when an interview request strikes!

2. Take shelter

During a Portland job search, go immediately to the nearest coffee shop with free Internet. Looking for a job can feel lonely so working on it in the company of others can make it more tolerable.

3. Stock up

It can take time to find the right job in Portland. Successful folks stock up in patience and are resourceful. Before starting your job search, know that it might be a longer road to meaningful employment in Portland than in other metropolitan cities.

4. Find your people

In every survival situation, it’s important to find your people. In your Portland job search, this means that you’ll have to network and build community.

Most jobs go unadvertised and the majority of people are hired because of a personal connection. Go to networking events in the industry where you want to work and conduct informational interviews of people who have the job you want.

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5. Lend a hand

Emergency situations require that you not only take from others but that you lend a hand in return.

Look for the sweet spot of mutual benefit in every encounter. Volunteer at an organization that works on something you’re interested in. Helping others is the best way to build relationships in Portland.

6. Improvise

When disaster strikes, we have to use the tools we have at hand. Consider freelancing in your area of specialty, take a contract position, work two jobs to make ends meet, go back to school for a degree or certificate, or take a class to improve your skills.

7. Keep a watchful eye

You must be alert to threats and opportunities in all crisis situations and the ones who survive a Portland job search open the door when opportunity knocks.

Look for those who might have information, use their advice to guide you on your path, pay attention to your surroundings, and keep a watchful eye for an opportunity you hadn’t even considered. It might be just the door you’ve been searching for.

8. Get your affairs in order

Being prepared will increase your chances of survival. Update your resume and complete your LinkedIn profile. Freshen your references and draft a cover letter.

When a job opens that you’d like to apply for, you’ll be prepared for sending application materials over right away. Sometimes, the early bird really does get the worm!

9. Tell yourself you will survive

Don’t freak out over your job search emergency. Just do the work! Employers can tell the candidates who’ve done the self-work from the ones who haven’t.

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Take a self-assessment like “Strengths Finders” to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Read the classic, “What Color is Your Parachute” and know yourself before reaching out to potential employers. You’ll be a stronger candidate for it!

10. Have a Plan B

In every survival situation, there is a worst-case scenario. Look at your finances, your debt, your timeline, and your needs to paint a picture of the worst possible outcome and then prepare an action plan for that.

Make a plan B in the event that things don’t go as expected. Be flexible and roll with the punches.