Skip to main content
Job Search, Networking, Topics

Small Town Job Searches: 4 Ways to Hit the Ground Running!

Job searches in smaller towns require a slightly different approach, as there are not as many employers, and the existing employers are usually smaller. There is a greater emphasis on relationship building and becoming a known entity, as hiring managers prefer to hire candidates they know or who are recommended by someone they trust.

Whether you are seeking a new opportunity, returning to the workforce or have just moved to the area, here are 4 ways to prepare, become a known entity and increase the likelihood of success!


Networking is always an important step in the job search process; even more so in smaller towns where people are more likely to know one another. Reach out to employers or fellow alumni to ask questions or request an informational interview.

Let friends and neighbors know you are looking so they can open their networks and help generate leads for you. Don’t forget the people you come in contact with regularly at your gym, school, place of worship, etc.; they will want to help you!

Brush up your LinkedIn profile and while you are there, research local alumni and employers via the alumni dashboard!


If you haven’t already done so, join the local branch of your professional association and attend meetings. Look for less formal professional networking groups in your area too, many of which can be found on MeetUp.

Contact the nearest UVA Club and make connections with fellow ‘Hoos!  Consider joining other local organizations based on your personal interests, and network with fellow participants.


Volunteering is a great way to make contacts while performing meaningful work. Research opportunities for work or board membership with local non-profits by contacting them directly or using sites like Volunteer Match or Idealist.


Explore the opportunities and resources in your area!  Search the member directory of your Chamber of Commerce website to identify employers.  See what other career resources are available through the public library or the local Career One Stop.

Are you the partner or spouse of a faculty member at a local university? If so, the school may have resources to help.

Alumni Career Engagement can also help with your strategy; contact us to make an appointment!