1. North Dakota

2. Nebraska

3. South Dakota

4. Iowa

5. Wyoming

6. Oklahoma

7 Vermont

8. Hawaii

9. Utah

10. Kansas

You might be thinking, “These aren’t strategies, they’re states. You would be wrong and right. Yes, they are states. But, they are also places that pave the way for a strategic move (literally) to launch your career.

Why? These states are well below the national average of unemployment.

3.7% or less: North Dakota and Nebraska

4.9% or less: South Dakota, Iowa, and Wyoming

5.4% or less: Oklahoma, Vermont, Hawaii, Utah, and Kansas

You might know that I teach Global Marketing at UCLA extension. Here’s what you learn about great global companies. Objective market research and analysis is the key to success. When global companies consider how to grow their sales or dominate their category: they take a hard look at the world to suss out the most promising geographic markets. They ask:

“Where are people who might need what we have?”

“Is the market sizeable – is there enough potential demand?”

“Is the market lucrative – do they have the purchasing power?”

“What is the competition like, would we have a good chance against them?

“Is the political and economic environment stable?”

Then, they enter logistics into the equation. Like, “How would we supply them?” “What infrastructure is in place and what would we have to build?” “Would the local customs demand a change in our current products, their promotion, and our approach to distribution and pricing?” No matter what the granular analysis actually is, they are asking this fundamental question:

“Is it better for us to be there than not to be there?”

Why aren’t you asking the same question? Would you be better off than you are right now? If you haven’t yet signed a mortgage or had a dozen kids: now may be the perfect time to look at all your options.

When I began to look for my first job in broadcasting, a coach told me to find a very small market to start in and plan on moving every 6 to 18 months (and that’s if I were successful). I was living in Los Angeles at the time, so almost every market was smaller than the one I was in. I chased every opportunity in towns I’d never seen, in the middle of nowhere I’d ever been. Sent my reel. Made dozens of calls. Kept at it until I got my first break.

Because people plan and God laughs: the first gig I got on radio was in the middle of Manhattan. New York City is the only market larger than Los Angeles, and it’s my hometown. But, the coach was right about one thing: it didn’t last long. It was a great start. Eventually I hosted International Business on public radio, based back in Southern California.

So open your map app. Widen your search. Consider the top ten states where companies are hiring. And, don’t be surprised when your prayers are answered, even if your plans make God laugh.