Job hunting is already difficult; job hunting when the only things within walking distance of your house are a field of sheep and a post office is even harder. The most obvious answer is to move house, but what if you can’t or don’t want to?
Never fear, you’re not doomed to unemployment and there are plenty of things you can do to improve your job prospects.
Make Sure You Have Transport
Unless you’re planning to work within walking distance or from home (more on this in a minute) you’ll need a way of getting to work. Public transport is often infrequent or unreliable in the countryside, so having your own transport will give you more choice of jobs.
However, if this isn’t an option for you, all is not lost. If you house share with someone who has a car, ask them if they’d be happy to give you a lift in exchange for petrol contributions. Both of you will save money and your job search area will increase. There are even car share websites these days.
If you have to make do with local bus routes, check what’s available to you before committing to a job. Rural businesses are often quite understanding about travel difficulties, and there’s a good chance one of your new colleagues is happy to lift share.
Consider Remote Working or Freelance
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, it’s now easier than ever before to work away from the office. All you’ll need for many roles is a laptop and an internet connection. Freelancing is generally easier if you’re already established in your field, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting off in a new industry as a freelancer either.
The best way to go about finding remote working roles with existing companies is – you guessed it – recruitment websites. As long as you stick to reputable ones, you’ll find plenty of great opportunities.
These kinds of jobs don’t suit everyone; they can feel isolating and you might find it harder to stay motivated. However, they can be great for people who value flexible working hours or those with family commitments.
Consider Local Businesses
Plenty of people make their living in the countryside and there’s no reason you can’t do the same. Working at (or running) an independent business presents unique challenges but this is part of the reason many people love it.
Generally speaking, fewer staff means you’re more likely to be able to have a go at a bit of everything, which is great if you thrive on variety. For local businesses, having great relationships with their community is also really important, so working for one can give you a real sense of connection to you home and the people who live there. Talk about rewarding.
Make the Most of Contacts
Rural communities are often quite close-knit; everyone knows everyone, and you’ll struggle to walk anywhere without seeing someone you know. This can be brilliant for job hunting. You might find that some businesses don’t even advertise – they just find candidates through word of mouth.
If you’re friendly with your neighbours, mention that you’re looking for a job and ask them to let you know if they hear of anything. Places like village shops, post offices and pubs are also information hubs. Even if they don’t have any vacancies themselves, one of their customers probably will, so it’s worth putting some feelers out.
Get a Monday-Friday Let
So what if you really can’t move for work, but you also really can’t find anything locally that interests you? Renting a room close to your workplace for 5 days a week is a great halfway house (literally).Monday-Friday lets are generally quite a bit cheaper than full-time renting and you’ll save petrol money by cutting down your long commute from home.
This option can be especially good for young adults who can’t afford to move out completely but don’t want to live at home full time, or for a working parent who doesn’t want to re-locate the rest of their family for a job.
Of course this has its disadvantages, but job hunting is all about weighing up pros and cons. Finding work in the countryside can be tough, but as long as you have a good idea what your priorities are, you’ll find something that works for you.
Jen Anderson writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.
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