When my partner Allen and I were planning our move to the Portland area, his 92 year old grandfather warned us to bring our own money and work. This wisdom was based on his experiences working in Vancouver back in the 1930s. Well, times haven’t really changed in that regard.

I work with so many people who are relocating to the Portland/Vancouver area, I thought I would like to share some of experiences and observations of the local job market.

I recently saw someone on Twitter use the term BYOJ—or Bring Your Own Job—and I love that concept. Portland is a very entrepreneurial town. Even if you are looking for a 9-to-5 job or part-time work to supplement your income, people here have the entrepreneurial spark.

I’m sure some people find jobs by sending resumes in response to “help wanted” ads, but I think that is the exception and not the norm. The job environment in the Portland Metro area is heavily invested in networking and who you know. The good news is, the area is still rather small and it is possible to get to know some great people in a very short time.

Get Out and Start Networking. There are so many networking groups on in the Portland area, and I’m sure you can find out that fits your niche. Maybe it based on who you are—PABA for us LGBT folks, PDXFX for female executives. Or maybe it is based on your career—like OEN for entrepreneurs or PRSA for publicists.

Be of Service. Get involved with a local non-profit that dovetails with your career goals and interests. Not to get too “woo woo,” but there is a flow in Portland where people who do good deeds are rewarded. And don’t just show up to help and leave. Make an investment of your time and energy, take on responsibilities and exhibit dedication. Or, as I boldly advise people, show up and just don’t leave. You will meet some great people and make strong connections.

Take a Chance. Identify people you want to know and ask them for a few minutes of their time. Invite them to coffee. Be straightforward and upfront, as well, so they know what your intentions and goals are.

These tips won’t guarantee that you will find a job, but, I think it will pay off in many ways. It will help integrate you into the job scene, help you make friends and connections, and demonstrate you’re commitment to being a true Portlander.

By the way, Portland nonverbal communication expert Sari de la Motte has an excellent eBook on essential nonverbal skills for job interviews–from resume to getting the job. Great stuff! Check it out! “Beyond a Firm Handshake: 21 Ways to Communicate You’re the Best One for the Job