Getting a Job in the ATL Top recruiters and staffing agencies offer tips for finding your place in Atlanta’s job market
If you’re relocating to Atlanta and in search of your next great job opportunity, then you’re in luck. Jobs in a number of growing industries are plentiful in the ATL if you know where to look.
According to a 2019 study conducted by the personal-finance experts at WalletHub.com, Atlanta ranks third on the list of the best places in America to jump-start your career, compared to 182 other U.S. cities. That’s because the city is home to more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, including The Home Depot, The Coca-Cola Company, UPS, Porsche and Delta Air Lines. Also, one the metro area’s hottest employment markets is the technology sector, especially in the realm of cybersecurity software development. And Atlanta’s entertainment industry is growing exponentially, due in large part to incentives the city offers to lure big-name networks and production studios.
Other booming entry- and mid-level Atlanta industries include healthcare and social assistance (such as nursing aides), accommodation and food services (servers), administration and support (clerical work), and waste-management and remediation services according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta has become the tenth-fastest growing city in America as of December 2018. Fast growth equals increased job creation, benefiting almost every employment sector imaginable.
Where to Start the Hunt
Whether you’re looking to score a foot in the door as an entry-level worker or you want to take your upper-management career to the next level, it’s a good idea to look to experts for help. Job recruitment firms can give you an important edge as you zero in on your employment options—they offer expertise and connections that you need since you’re new to the neighborhood. While these firms can’t guarantee they’ll find you a position, many of their services are free to job hunters, so it doesn’t hurt to contact a few that specialize in your target industry and find out how they can help.
The first step in a job hunt is to define what position would best serve your needs and which companies are looking to hire.
According to Jason Flomerfelt, vice president of marketing at TRC Staffing in Atlanta, “A job search can easily become cumbersome if your target is too broad. There are thousands of open positions out there, so you need to separate jobs with potential from those that just won’t work. Consider everything you like about your current role, what else you want the new job to bring to the table, your salary requirements and any benefits or perks you’d like to find. The clearer the picture, the easier your search.”
Next, it’s time to dust off your resume. Flomerfelt recommends that you customize each resume you send out so it speaks to the unique position for which you’re applying, detailing your core skills, current job responsibilities and applicable past experience. Reach out for help if you aren’t sure how to deliver your message. “Many recruitment agencies fill high-paying positions in Atlanta’s most reputable companies. By working with a staffing firm, you gain an ally in your search, allowing you to receive assistance and guidance until you find your ideal role,” says Flomerfelt.
Accounting industry recruiter Ed Freeman, co-owner of Employment Atlanta, explains that job seekers should emphasize their loyalty to former employers on their resumes. “Stability these days is a big deal. There are lots of job-hoppers out there.” Andreas Economopolous, director of recruiting for Professional Insight, agrees, “If I find somebody whom I’ve never heard of and I see their resume, I look at their job history to check not only where they’ve worked, but how long they stayed there.”
Flomerfelt also suggests searching for online tips to guide you in how to write your resume. He says, “My company posts plenty of tips on resume writing and what exactly interviewers are looking for.”
Economopolous is emphatic in his assessment of the job opportunities available in the metro area today, noting, “Software development is the hottest job market in Atlanta. Companies are having a hard time finding qualified software developers right now. The future in that industry is really bright.” When asked what qualifications those companies look for, he reveals that it can vary. “I do think a college degree is highly preferred, but isn’t always a necessity,” he states. “There are some very smart, self-taught people out there, too.”
When it comes to other top industries in Atlanta, entertainment-based opportunities are plentiful. Companies like Turner Studios, Tyler Perry Studios, EUE/Screen Gems and Pinewood Atlanta Studios, which produce a record number of TV shows and movies in Atlanta, are seeking a skilled workforce to make it happen. Casting offices and talent agencies abound here, and information about who’s looking for actors and production crew can be found in resources like the Georgia Film & Television Sourcebook and Georgia Film Office. What’s more, you can learn about the industry, boost your skills and make important connections through resources like the Georgia Film Academy, a competitive certificate program that offers an array of classes and access to onsite internship opportunities.
Show Off Your Passion
Economopolous also explains that he looks for potential hires who are extremely passionate about an industry. He states, “It’s very difficult to measure passion. I look for someone who will go home and study and learn new technologies and be interested. If they screw up, they want to know how to fix it. That’s passion.”
He recommends that job seekers show off their skills with samples of their original work. “In the coding world, for instance, GitHub.com is a free code repository where people share ideas and samples of their work. When I’m looking for coders who show passion, I look for someone who has lots of samples of their codes, indicating that they’re working to get better and better at what they do.”
Take Advantage of—and Also Watch—Your Social Media Footprint
Savvy job seekers will use social media to make connections and market themselves as efficiently as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve moved to Atlanta—let as many people know that you’re relocating as you can. Flomerfelt explains, “If you have a professional network, now is the time to tap it. Let your trusted connections know what you want to find. That way, if they are aware of an opportunity, they can share the details with you.”
Also, remember that the connections you have with quality people, like industry leaders, are going to pay off, too. A potential employer will look for assurance that you’re a decent human being and they will contact your social media connections to check up on what you’re like to work with.
When it comes to finding opportunities, in addition to studying employer websites and local job boards as well as creating your own profile on sites like LinkedIn.com, ask around about what characteristics employers need as far as age, gender and skill level. For instance, Economopolous explains that job seekers are wise to study what trends are happening in specific industries. “Software development companies right now are searching for females who can code—they’re pushing that. It’s a really good idea because the coding world needs more women in it, for sure.”
Of course, while social media can be extremely helpful during a job search, it can have its drawbacks.
While it may seem obvious, be careful that your posts on social media platforms reflect well on you.
Recruiters will typically hunt down your Instagram and Facebook pages, for instance, comparing your history with those outlined on your resume. They will also attempt to get to know the real you by reading what you post, who you follow and who you admire. Effective skills are one thing, but a highly political or controversial stance posted on social media can easily sink your ship.
Once you’ve landed that much-sought-after interview for your dream job, it’s time to prepare carefully.
Economopoulos advises, “Know your audience. Period. An applicant must understand who they’re meeting with. Will it be a member of the company’s human resources team or will it be the director of software development? Those two people are going to ask vastly different questions. Do your research, pore over their website, understand what the company does.”
“Learn about the company’s products or services, read the mission and values statement to discover their priorities and review recent news releases to find out about their newest accomplishments,” says Flomerfelt. “Then, work a few relevant details into your interview answers whenever possible to showcase your enthusiasm for the opportunity.”
During your preparation for an interview, investigate what the culture of the company is and choose what you’ll wear accordingly. Clearly, the dress code at most law firms will involve wearing a suit, while an interview with a theater company would be more laid back. When in doubt, over-dress. It’s always better to arrive looking a tad overly prepared than to underwhelm an interviewer with an outfit that’s too casual, leaving the impression that you don’t care.
Flomerfelt adds that punctuality is crucial. “No matter what, make sure you’re on time,” he says. “Otherwise, you run the risk of being viewed as disrespectful or disorganized, and you could arrive at the meeting feeling flustered. Smile when the hiring manager approaches you and have a solid handshake at the ready.”
Most of all, Freeman suggests that you do what it takes to steady your nerves prior to the interview. He says, “Relax and be yourself. Always answer questions honestly and concisely—long, rambling answers to questions won’t reflect well on your communication skills.”
Embrace the Experience
In the end, be open to the many opportunities that are available in the metro Atlanta job market. Also, be ready to dive into the entire job hunting process, from the search to the interview to, hopefully, the exceptional job offer. Take the advice from the experts and go for it. The job of your dreams is waiting for you in the ATL.