You need a gig. Bad. You tossed caution to the wind and moved to Asheville cold turkey — that is to say, ignoring the BYOJ advice of your Land of Sky acquaintances (Bring Your Own Job). Or you told your boss to shove it. Or you were unfairly blamed for an idiotic mistake made by your boss’ nephew, and you were canned. Or your grant-funded project wasn’t re-upped. Or … well, you get the picture. You need a gig. Bad.
Everyone knows that a successful job search is highly likely to begin and end with who you know, so the following suggestions assume that you’ve already exhausted your network — really exhausted it. You’ve tapped your parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, in-laws, outlaws, kissin’ cousins and feudin’ kinfolk, friends and friends of friends as well as the old giz at the corner store and the barista at your coffee stop … and, nothing.
So, it’s time to get creative. Here’s a grab bag of tips and tricks that just might land you a job:
• First, the obvious: want ads. Unfortunately, the law of supply and demand operates full-tilt-boogey in the want-ad department. You’ll often find that the pay is lousy, the hours are wretched or the skills and education required are rare as hens’ teeth. And listings tend to be long on commission-sales jobs and food service and short on whatever it is you most want to do with your life. The advent of online want ads has at least made it easier to conduct targeted searches. You can readily access www.mountainx.com/classifieds/employ.php, www.ashevillehelpwanted.com, www.careerbuilder.com and other Web-based ad services for free. Just type in your criteria and get an instant answer. You may not find your dream job at first, but you can widen your search and widen it again. Something will come up. Teaching oboe to ambidextrous Suzuki-violin dropouts is a lovely and lofty goal, but wrapping burritos is an art form too.
• The North Carolina Employment Security Commission operates a Web site, www.ncesc.com, with listings broken down by city, county or region as well as job category.
• For jobs with the city of Asheville, visit www.ci.asheville.nc.us and click on “City Employment” under the “Featuring” button. For jobs with Buncombe County, visit www.buncombecounty.org and use the drop-down menu under “Departments” to locate and click on “Human Resources,” then select “County Job Openings.”
• Construction companies often have trouble keeping basic jobs filled. The work can be hard and the remuneration marginal, but showing up on a regular basis can lead to rapid advancement. Pay attention, learn from everyone you work with, know where your fingers are when you use power saws and where your feet are when you use pneumatic hammers, and you will remain in one piece and possibly create a fulfilling career. This is where successful building contractors begin.
• There are a sizable number of private employment services out there, most of which seem to specialize in placing temporary workers these days. Temp work is better than no work, and if you make yourself invaluable during your short-term stint, you may get the nod from an employer looking to fill a permanent position.
• If you are looking for something a cut above fast-food flipping, look under Executive Search Consultants in a phone directory. So-called headhunter firms will match your skills with needy employers in nearby cities like Charlotte or Atlanta. (Don’t be persnickety. You can always visit Asheville on three-day weekends, and your love for the Paris of the South will unquestionably grow while you sit in traffic in your adopted metropolis.) Take note: In researching this story, Xpress called all of the executive-search consultants listed in one local phone book and heard essentially the same message from most of them: “Leave your name and number after the tone and we’ll get back to you.”
• Sonopress, among the largest employers in this region, is online at www.sonopress.com. Click on “United States” and “About us” to get job-application info. Mission Hospitals, also one of the largest, is online at www.missionhospitals.org. The first button on the left is “Find a Job,” where a click will let you know that you must apply via Kelly Services (call them at 654-9444), which handles all of their hiring. Kelly Staffing Supervisor Amy Caughorn reports that “we have 82 job openings listed at the Asheville office at this time, not including positions at Mission or at Thermo Electron Laboratory Equipment in Weaverville, each of which has a separate Kelly office with numerous jobs available.” (Caughorn herself knows something about finding a job — she says she’s had her current one for only one week.)