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Tips for Job Hunting in Northern Virginia

Networking for Job Search

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Northern Virginia is a great place to live and work. It’s close to Washington DC, has easy access to the rest of the country, and is home to some of the most famous companies in the world. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level job or a senior role at one of these top companies, there are many resources available for job hunters. Below are some tips that will help you land your dream position in Northern Virginia:

Establish Your Career Goals

The first step in the job search process is to identify your career goals. Before you start applying for jobs, take some time to think about what you want out of your career and where you see yourself in three to five years. Your goals should be realistic and specific enough so that they can guide your decision-making as you look for work. You want to look for employers who can help you grow toward your career goals and not just get stuck.

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Research the Companies You’d Like to Work For

Once you’ve determined what type of role will best help achieve your long-term objectives, it’s time to start looking for opportunities that match those criteria by targeting companies whose values align with yours and researching their open positions. Many will require a background check in Virginia, but if you have no criminal record, you have nothing to worry about. You can leverage job search engines like Indeed, LinkedIn, and CareerBuilder to help you find available positions within those companies and their requirements for employment. If you want to hear what others say about working in those organizations, you may even check out reviews on Glassdoor.

government careers

Look For Government Jobs

Northern Virginia is home to numerous government jobs including contract and regular roles. With military bases, government offices in Washington D.C., and even other government-based options, you can often find roles in these places. One of the best ways to land a job in Northern Virginia is by looking for government jobs. Government agencies hire many people every year, and they tend to be more stable than private sector companies. In addition, government employers often offer diverse work environments and excellent benefits packages that are appealing to job seekers.

Consider the Commute Time

Have you been to Northern Virginia? If not, then brace yourself. While there is the option to commute using the VRE, some people find other commuting options more convenient. There are carpools, and you can even use the express lanes if you pay. Commuting is quite the event when you live in Northern VA and it is famous for its horrible traffic. When you are job hunting, consider the commute time from your home to the job during the busiest parts of the day. How long will you spend in traffic, are there alternate routes, and can you use other forms of transportation?  

Focus Your Resume and Cover Letter on Northern VA Industries

When you’re looking for a job, it’s important to focus on the companies that are most likely to hire you. This means researching the industries in Northern Virginia and tailoring your resume and cover letter(s) accordingly. You may have one resume that you tweaked for government roles and another that you adjusted for the private sector. You may have a few cover letters that you also tweak to help you give the best first impression possible.

Practice Interviewing

Applying for jobs is hard and interviewing can be nerve-wracking. Most companies ask similar types of questions so think through your answers to the most common ones and practice saying them out loud. Practice is the best way to get comfortable with the process and to feel confident when you’re actually sitting down with a real person.

Find Northern VA Networking Groups to Connect With

Networking is always a great way to connect with potential job opportunities. Find a northern Virginia networking group to connect with. You’ll meet people from many different industries and in a variety of roles. From business owners to senior leaders, you never know whom you will meet. These groups can be a critical part of finding the right job for the next season of your life.

Attend Washington DC Area Job Fairs

Attending Washington DC area job fairs is a great way to meet people and learn about companies. You can network with other job seekers as well as employers, who may be looking for new employees at these events. Job fairs give you the chance to learn about different industries and companies, as well as ask questions about the job market in Northern Virginia.

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