3 Ways to Explore
Trailing Spouses
Plugging Into the Dallas/Fort Worth Job Market
Your spouse has just been offered a promotion that requires relocating to the Dallas/Fort Worth region. This is a wonderful opportunity for your family; however, it does pose a certain dilemma for you. You are now the “trailing spouse,” the person who follows a partner who is relocating to a new city. While your spouse is guaranteed a job, you are left to find one in an unfamiliar city. You have heard that the Metroplex has a burgeoning job market with a wide array of opportunities in a variety of fields. The bad news is you are unsure where to begin looking for your dream job. To assist in your job search, this chapter of Relocating to Dallas/Fort Worth has been designed to guide you through the process. The following pages offer an overview of the current Dallas/Fort Worth job market, primary employment sectors, industry growth and employment resources.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Job Market
It is hard to discuss any U.S. job market without acknowledging the economic downturn which has lead to job loss around the country. For some cities, like Detroit, the recession hit like a tidal wave but for Dallas it was the ripples which struck. The Metroplex and Texas as a whole have been less affected by the recent recession, largely due to home prices which never ballooned as greatly as other markets and therefore did not have as far to fall. According to a 2009 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, “recent economic data and anecdotal evidence suggest the worst of the state’s economic woes may be over.” Throughout the second half of 2009, employment losses tapered, then remained flat and by January 2010 they turned positive. Job growth is back and the city is quickly on the mend.

Regional Workforce
The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) employed 2,857,500 people as of April 2010. The largest supersectors and the approximate number of people employed by these sectors are as follows: Trade, transportation, and utilities (580,000); Professional and business services (419,000); Government (403,000); Education and health services (359,000); and Leisure and hospitality (282,000).

The 2010 issue of Fortune featured the annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” and to the delight of many Dallasites, seven Dallas-area companies where among the elite group. The list includes Balfour Beatty Construction, Camden Property Trust, Edward Jones, EOG Resources, Ernst & Young, FedEx, and TDIndustries. In addition, the 2010 list of Fortune 500 companies, which rank America’s largest corporations, included twenty-four Dallas/Fort Worth businesses. Among these Fortune 500 companies are Exxon Mobil, AT&T, J.C. Penny, Texas Instruments, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Tenet Healthcare, and Southwest Airlines

Area Growth
Since recent reports of a North Texas population increase from six million to nine million, Dallas/Fort Worth-area city planners have proposed approaches to developing land, transportation, education, health, and energy while keeping the region’s environmental carbon footprint in check. Many developments are already underway.

At 9,000 apartment units under construction during the first quarter of 2010, the Metroplex has more units being built than any other U.S. market. In Downtown Dallas specifically, city leaders have a goal to increase housing capacity to over 10,000 which brings the total number of units to three times as many in the last decade.

A massive mixed-use development called Wonderview is the brainchild of Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur, Mark Cuban. The 176-acre site in east Oak Cliff will contain athletic and medical facilities, office space, residential units and more. The project is expected to run 10 years and the first phase alone will cost $4 million and take six months to complete.

The DFW Connector project, designed to improve mobility along SH 114 and SH 121, broke ground in February of this year. The corridor through Southlake, Grapevine and the north edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport will be rebuilt. At its widest point on SH 114, the DFW Connector will have up to 24 lanes, including 14 main lanes, four toll-managed lanes and six frontage road lanes. The $1.02 billion project is completely publicly funded and estimated to be complete by 2014.

Staffing Services
Many personnel and/or staffing services in Dallas/Fort Worth offer full-time or temporary placement. Client companies pay the fee for most full-time personnel services. There are a few personnel services where the applicant pays the fee, so it is important to determine who is responsible for any fees before registering with a personnel service.

During the first quarter of 2010 the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas stated “staffing firms are noting increases in temporary hiring, a favorable indicator because growth in short-term employment typically lead Texas job creation by about five months.”

Temporary jobs are plentiful in Dallas/Fort Worth and many types of positions are available since most industries use temporary employees. Many temporary services specialize in specific types of jobs. Search online for companies in your neighborhood and call to find out what types of services they provide and if they have particular employment specialties. Numerous temporary jobs turn into full-time positions. In fact, many companies prefer to hire through the temp-to-hire process. It gives both the applicant and the company a trial period before the temporary employee converts to the company’s full-time payroll.

Networking — Virtually and In Person
In this digital age, face-to-face networking seems to have fallen by the wayside but studies indicate that more jobs are found through referrals then through online job searches. To network, job seekers should contact everyone they know in their professional life. Job seekers should be prepared to explain quickly about their skills and recent experience. Commonly referred to as the “15-second elevator speech,” being prepared with this speech can make a big difference. To learn more, visit www.15secondpitch.com, where you can discover ways to focus your thinking on what is most important.

Another useful online tool that has become essential to networkers and job seekers is to join LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), an online network of more than 25 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. By staying linked in with your professional network, you’re always connected to people who may know of open positions or know of a contact at a company you might be interested in approaching. It’s about being more effective in your daily work and opening doors to opportunities using the professional relationships you already have.

Employment Resources
As a trailing spouse, you may find that your partner’s employer can offer you relocation assistance including job finding services. Before you move, contact your partner’s Human Resource (HR) Department to see if these services are available. Often, it is most advantageous to contact the HR Department in Dallas, as the local personnel may know more about the local job market. Also be sure to conduct your own preliminary research. Use the Internet to search for industries of interest and corresponding companies based in Dallas. Visit national websites and search for jobs in the Dallas area. Here is a selection of online resources:

  • Academic360.com: Jobs in Higher Education – guide for the academic job hunter (www.academic360.com)
  • Careers in Government: A clearinghouse of information, resources and jobs available in public sector organizations in America and abroad (www.careersingovernment.com)
  • Dallas Business Journal: Job seekers can view jobs in 27 categories. Each year, the Dallas Business Journal publishes its Book of Lists, which includes comprehensive lists of major companies in Dallas by business category (http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas/jobs/)
  • Employment Guide.com: Offers searchable job listings, free resume posting and email notification of new openings (www.employmentguide.com)
  • Texas Workforce Commission: Offers career development information, job search resources, training programs, and, as appropriate, unemployment benefits (www.workintexas.com)

Once you have arrived in Dallas, take full advantage of local employment resources. Gather local newspapers and search through the classified ads. Visit area personnel and staffing agencies. Use networking to your advantage. Talk to people in the community and in your neighborhood. Visit your city’s Chamber of Commerce. Attend professional development association meetings to mix and mingle with industry contacts. Dallas/Fort Worth is home to many local chapters of professional associations, including the following:


OPTIMIZING YOUR RÉSUMÉ
Not so long ago, résumés were printed on quality paper and presented in an envelope to potential employers. While it still is a job seeker’s most important sales tool, the rules of the résumé game have changed. Yes, it’s still critical that you create a quality and accurate document that emphasizes your skills and experience and that you customize each cover letter you send. What has changed is you’re not longer presenting a résumé appealing to the human eye, now it needs to be computer optimized using important key words.

To ensure your résumé gets noticed in a search, use as many key words as possible. Here are some tips to get you started.
  • Use key words that emphasize technical and professional areas of expertise, for example, software engineer, purchasing agent, marketing manager or administrative assistant. The website www.theladders.com has a list of top recruiter key words. These are the most popular words recruiters have searched for in a given week, and it’s constantly changing.
  • Use of acronyms and industry terminology, such as TCP/IP, C ++, RAD; MRPII, Windows Server 2008; Microsoft Excel, Computer Assisted Audit Techniques, Computer Aided Audit Tools (CAATS), Computer Assisted Audit Tools and Techniques (CAATTs)
  • Education or certification terms – familiar ones include Certified Network Administrator, CAN, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Certified Public Accountant, CPA and Six Sigma Black Belt.

According to experts, after résumés are scanned into applicant tracking systems, they will be searched and ranked. A hiring manager determines the key words that best identify the skills needed in a candidate for a particular position, and several key words will be mandatory while others will be desirable. Based upon those key words, the system performs a search and résumés are ranked according to the number of key word matches. A resume that has more of the desired key words ranks higher and will get reviewed.
 
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