BAY AREA JOB MARKET INFORMATION
Specific jobs: project managers, customer service reps/mgrs, software engineers
What jobs are most available now?
Specific categories of jobs: nursing, sales, engineering
Which local employers are posting the most openings
Some employers with most postings locally (on HotJobs): Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, EMC (lots of summer intern openings, especially) - NOTE: The list is subject to change hourly!
Best side jobs to earn extra cash
There are some great opportunities out there, like dog walker, handyman, babysitter, tutor, freelance writer, income tax preparer. Depending on your talents/interests, these can be rewarding, even enjoyable, without being too stressful or tiring.
What makes these jobs great is that many can be done on a flexible schedule so that they don't interfere with other full-time jobs.
They can also become fall-back jobs in case you lose your full-time job; or they can be occasional/seasonal. You control how much time you want to invest and can disengage relatively easily without long-term commitments.
In addition to being a lifeline because of extra cash, side jobs can also be a great way to test out a possible career change, or lay the groundwork for one.
Ways to find a side job
Depends on your type of job, so the first thing you want to do is figure out what skills/interests you have that would be applicable to a side job.
In more entrepreneurial side jobs (e.g. working for yourself as dog walker, freelancer, etc) you can advertise/list your services on local sites like Craigslist or other community sites. Or advertise in local community papers. Also check the listings on local sites or papers for people who are seeking your services.
If your service is neighborhood-based (e.g. dogwalker, babysitter), post fliers on billboards at coffee shops or community gather sites.
If your service is more professional (e.g. income tax preparer, freelance writer/accountant), check appropriate professional sites to get the word out, and make a list of potential clients that you can send query letters to.
If it's a part-time job with an established employer, check all relevant job sites and industry-relevant sites or newspapers.
Use your network to get the word out, find referrals, get ideas.
Be creative! Finding good side jobs is often more about making things happen, finding creative ways to meet a need that you identify.
Things to consider when taking a side job (current employer, work/life balance, etc.)
Assess your schedule, your current commitments to work and family, and then set some boundaries. Know the limits of how much time you will devote or how much work you can handle without disrupting your work-life balance -- AND THEN STICK TO IT!
Understand that taking a side job can also be considered "moonlighting," and your current employer may have policies against that. This is particularly true in a case like freelance writing -- your employer may have strict rules about writing for a company that's viewed as a competitor.
Be realistic about what you're giving up in terms of time, freedom, and ask yourself if it's worth the sacrifice.
Consider taking work in an unrelated field. For example, a marketing professional who teaches piano lessons on the weekend. A situation like this easily avoids conflict-of-interest issues and is less likely to cause burnout.
How the Bay Area job market compares to the national numbers
In case you want a preview before Friday when the official numbers come out, the Bay Area is a little tighter than national average, at least during March. Unemployment rate in Bay Area was 9.5, compared to 8.5 nationally.