While many people think a specific job title means the work will essentially be the same no matter where it’s located, that’s often not the case. Jobs with similar titles may require dramatically different skills in different parts of the country.
Take, for example, marketing managers, a common job title in many companies. Based on Burning Glass Technologies analysis of what employers specify in job postings, the precise skills an employer expects from a marketing manager depends on geography.
In Chicago, headquarters of a number of international companies, employers like their marketing managers to be versed in project management. In San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, employers expect expertise in product development, and in casino capital Las Vegas it helps to have skills in customer service.
Or consider statisticians—another job which would seem to be the same anywhere. Numbers, after all, remain numbers no matter where they are counted. But employers also ask statisticians for different skills in Boston (a biotech hub) and Hartford (insurance).
In Boston 38 percent of employers want their statisticians to have experience in bio-statistics and 28 percent want experience in clinical trials. Those skills don’t even make our list of the top 15 skills preferred by employers looking for statisticians in Hartford.
The takeaway is that all jobs are local, no matter what the job description says. That means colleges can give students a crucial edge by analyzing the local job market and shaping their courses to meet local demands. (A number of colleges are doing this already).
Students and those already in the workforce can make themselves more employable by considering the specific skills in demand where they live or where they want to live – and not necessarily paying too much attention to what the job titles say.
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