Take it from a 4th generation native: Colorado is an amazing place to live, work and raise a family! There is so much to do! Incredible museums, mountains, ski slopes and diverse communities are thriving all throughout our state! The people are laid back and friendly and the politics are pretty middle of the road. But the best thing? There are tons of jobs here! As a matter of fact, according to recent unemployment stats, Colorado is hovering at 0% unemployment! Colorado employers are actively searching for professionals to fill position.
But there are a few things you also need to know.
For one thing, we hope you like traffic. You’ll be joining the thousands of others who are making the “Rocky Mountain Rush” to live and work here. Colorado is consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing states in the nation and has added roughly 100,000 new citizens per-year for the past 5 years! With all of these new citizens, the cost of living here (particularly housing) has become extraordinarily expensive and salaries typically haven’t caught up with our high cost of living.
1.) Secure a local phone number and address as soon as possible. If there’s a hint on your resume or cover letter that you are not already located here in Colorado, it’s a red flag to many recruiters. Most companies don’t want to pay relocation costs for your move and someone with a local address will be seen by recruiters as more ‘stable’ for a local job. Some applicant tracking system software is programmed to reject applications based on out-of-town addresses.
2.) Research! Becoming knowledgeable about Denver – its culture, its economy, its local businesses – will give you a serious advantage in your job search. I highly recommend ordering the Book of Lists, an annual publication of the Denver Business Journal which serves as sort of a Colorado industry and business encyclopedia. It not only provides you a ranking of companies based on revenue and size, but it also gives you an overview of our economy based on local industry sectors. (Insider tip: Get a subscription to the weekly DBJ paper and you also get the Book of Lists. It’s cheaper. Plus, the DBJ is the best business publication in town with lots of leads, news on trends, companies, business leaders, etc. CLICK HERE to subscribe.)
In addition, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp, (the economic development arm of the Denver Metro Chamber) has a wealth of helpful information on its website www.metrodenver.org
3.) Here are the best local job boards for Colorado. Set up job alerts and start getting a sense of the types of jobs, salaries and location of opportunities.
– Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List (best for all kinds of jobs) CLICK HERE
– Colorado Nonprofit Association (for jobs in Colorado’s robust nonprofit community) CLICK HERE
– Lews List (Financial Jobs emailed to you) CLICK HERE
– Built in Colorado (For start ups/IT jobs) CLICK HERE
4.) Start networking. Call everyone you know who already lives here. See if your college has an alumni group located here. Check on LinkedIN for any connections that might be helpful. Connecting with people you know in your new state will be incredibly helpful to your job search. Family friends, former colleagues, vendors, clients….make a big list of potential contacts and start reaching out for help.
5.) Find a local industry/trade association that matches your background. There are hundreds of local professional associations that hold regular professional development meetings, networking luncheons and after-hours meetups. They also provide volunteer opportunities for events that can help you meet and connect with people in your career field.
6.) Get involved in other civic organizations like local Chambers of Commerce. Local chambers have great networking events. The largest chamber here is the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (http://www.denverchamber.org/) which has unique leadership programs and young professionals groups. There are also local chambers serving suburban communities and local chambers such as the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber and many others that serve Denver’s diverse professional communities.
7.) Volunteer with a local nonprofit. There are more than 20,000 registered nonprofits in Colorado and most of them are looking for volunteers. Find one where you can use your skills to lend a hand and start to make connections and new friends that can help you in your Colorado job seeking journey.
Finally, you have to engage! Sitting in front of a job board all day and sending out resumes to random job postings is not enough. Get out of your comfort zone and work the phone! Cold call people. Ask for meetings. Shop your resume around. If you are currently looking for a job while you are living outside of Denver, plan a 2-3 day trip to Denver and schedule times to meet with people.
Good luck in your Colorado job seeking adventure! We look forward to seeing you on the slopes!