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How to find jobs in North Dakota: Five key tips for job search success

By Katie Yu
Rock Center

So you’ve seen our segment on the jobs boom in North Dakota and want to be a part of it, but where to start? Here are five key tips for those seeking new opportunities in Williston, N.D.

TIP ONE – WHERE TO FIND OIL JOBS IN ND

Jobs in the oil fields are among the best paying in the area and many are still available. Your first stop in Williston should be Job Service North Dakota. The department has a database that allows you to upload your resume and apply directly to employers such as Hess and Halliburton. The jobs on the site are often not listed anywhere else. While on the site, be sure to check out the oilfield guide.  In addition to links to other helpful websites, you will find brief explanations about the different types of oil field jobs and a guide that defines oil industry terms and jargon.  Once in town, you can also head to their office for paper applications as well as free use of computers to fill out electronic ones online: http://jobsnd.com/individuals/search-for-jobs

TIP TWO – YES, THERE’S A WORLD BEYOND OIL

Outside of the oil fields, the town of Williston is also expanding rapidly to accommodate all the newcomers flooding the area. Would you believe that there are restaurants in town that close early not for the lack of customers, but because they cannot find enough help to keep them in operation? Hospitals, hotels and schools also have positions they need to fill right away. Your best resource for jobs in town is the local circular called “The Shopper.” You can access it online here: http://www.theshopperinc.net/

TIP THREE – PLAN AHEAD FOR HOUSING

As some of the locals like to say, it’s easier to find a job than a bed. Trust us when we tell you housing will be an issue, especially as winter approaches. Give yourself at least a month or two to find a place to stay before hitting the road. Call ahead and book hotels or motels in the surrounding towns, as accommodations in Williston itself are mostly booked for the year. Be sure to also ask potential employers if they will offer housing or can give recommendations for housing. Most oil companies will place employees in a man camp – housing for mostly men – where you can rent a small room with a clean bed, Wi-Fi and three meals a day.  When we were there, many folks were living in their RVs and campers. While this may work for most of the year, winter is coming and you will need real housing to keep you warm during North Dakota’s particularly brutal winters.


TIP FOUR – KEEP CHECKING IN

Most jobs in the oil fields operate on rotating shifts or on a seasonal basis. Find out ahead of time if the position you are applying for will require you to work on a fixed schedule of weekly shifts and for how long. Seasonal jobs also means that the position that is filled today may become available again in a few months, so keep checking back with the company of your choice.

TIP FIVE – IT’S NOT JUST IN WILLISTON

While we based our story out of Williston, N.D., there are jobs available throughout the Bakken oil field, which covers much of the northwestern part of the state. Use www.jobsnd.com as a first stop for opportunities in towns like Watford City, Kildeer, Dickinson, Bismarck, Stanley and Minot.  Also, keep in mind that job openings in the oil-producing counties in North Dakota make up just one third of all openings in the state, which means two thirds of the state's more than 17,000 available jobs are in non-oil producing counties.  To locate the best place for you, check out the Labor Market Information Center's "Area Profiles."  Users can choose the area of North Dakota they are interested in and review employment, wage, demographic and employer information for the best fit.