People are often surprised to hear the first step in ‘10 Key Steps To A Successful Job Search' is to choose a place to live. It sounds obvious and easy (which is always good for a first step, right?), but honestly, there is no better way to narrow down a career search than defining where you want to live while you work. If your answer is anywhere, then take the time to figure out where you would LOVE to live. Pick no more than two locations so that you can limit your search to these towns and the surrounding areas. Keeping in mind, cost-of-living, transportation access, proximity to family and friends, etc., you'll want to select places that suit your lifestyle and budget.

IMPORTANT: Here's where I overcome your objections to the advice above:

What if I can't make up my mind? Hmmm. not sure how to determine where you should choose to live? Check out this free site which does the research on every town in America for you - Sperling's Best Places has been researching the best places to live for years. It can help you evaluate a location based on your unique needs - cool stuff!

Won't I be limiting my options? Well, if you are senior executive who makes more than $500K/year, then yes, limiting where you want to live is not ideal. However, for the rest of us who hang out in the middle income level, choosing to focus is smart in that you will do a better job of marketing yourself. Let me explain...

As we climb the salary ladder, the number of job opportunities available to us diminishes. Think of it like a pyramid: at the base are lots of lower-paying jobs because the skills required can be done by most folks. But as we become more accomplished and develop our strengths in a certain field or profession, our value goes up, while the number of jobs that require our level of expertise gets smaller.

Okay, so doesn't that prove I should keep my location options open? The basic logic says ‘yes' but what you aren't considering is the quality versus quantity factor in a job search. If you don't choose to focus on a location, then your efforts to build a network of contacts and establish your personal brand within a community (which you learn a lot more about in a future lesson) will be difficult. In short, while you'll be casting a wide net, it won't go very deep, and you'll miss all the big fish (a.k.a. awesome job opportunities). Not to mention, you could end up taking a so-so job in a town you don't want to live in - and that would really stink!

What if I'm certain where I want to live doesn't have the kind of job opportunities I'm looking for? Ha! Nice try. I'm not buying that one because you are basing it on what you've done to thus far to find a job. In the coming lessons, you are going to learn things that will not only change your perspective, they'll literally increase the number of jobs available to you. Yep, you heard me. So, put that objection in your back pocket and at the end of the series, let's see if it's still there, okay?

So, to recap, LESSON #1 is to simply choose where you want to work. Remembering that our jobs only take up part of our day, you must chose a place that makes you happy. The ultimate goal is a work-life balance that satisfies you - and that just can't be done if you are living someplace you don't like, right? And, if you want to see the other 9 steps, sign-up here and you'll get them automatically.

This article was originally published by CAREEREALISM. A member of the Career100, they are considered one of the top career news and perspective sites worldwide.