When I moved to New York almost four and a half years ago, I came here with two very oversized suitcases, a handful of friends who were already living here and absolutely no job. While I don’t typically recommend moving to one of the most expensive cities in the country while unemployed, I want to let you know that it’s also not the craziest thing in the world to try.
So how do you find a new job in a completely new city? It’s not easy, but not impossible. If you’re looking to start a new chapter in your life in a new location, but haven’t landed a job yet, here’s my advice to you:
1. If you haven’t moved yet, put a friend’s address on your resume.
In an ideal world, an employer would read your resume, be floored by your qualifications and fly you across the country to interview with them. In reality, one of the first requirements that recruiters use to filter out candidates is location. This might be not a big deterrent if you live in the outskirts of a metropolitan area or in a neighboring state (i.e. the Tri-state area), but location does come into play when you’re no longer in commuting distance. If you’re trying to get a head start on the job hunt before your big move, ask a friend if you can “borrow” their address and add it to your resume. You’re more likely to attract recruiters and who knows, maybe you’ll have a job interview lined up by the time you actually move!
2. Look everywhere and anywhere.
Now that you’ve updated with your resume with your location (and most recent experience), it’s time to start looking. Start with well-known job posting platforms like LinkedIn and Monster, where companies are posting jobs directly to those sites (I personally like LinkedIn because you can easily read up on the company news and see if you have any see connections to current employees). Indeed.com is also a useful search engine because it’s an aggregate of other job posting sites. Sometimes, I’ll even go directly to a company’s career site just to see their job openings organized by department. And don’t forget to check sites like Craigslist, which also has a section for job openings. I promise it’s not as creepy as it sounds – I actually landed my first job in NYC at a marketing and communications firm through a Craigslist ad.
3. Reach out to your alumni network.
As soon as I moved to NYC, I began reaching out to fellow alum in the area. I sent them messages on LinkedIn, letting them know I was a recent grad who had just moved to the city and would love to connect with them for advice on starting my job search. I ended up meeting with a VP at Starbucks and a partner at a big law firm. The intention of meeting wasn’t to ask for a job (although wouldn’t that be nice?), but to understand how and where to start. They knew what it was like to be in my shoes, having moved across the country for new opportunities. They gave me insight into their professional journeys, how to approach my own job hunt and advice on what companies were looking for in applicants. Your college should have a career development team that can help connect you with alumni in your target area.
4. Don’t accept just anything, but be okay to start somewhere.
On top of the challenge of finding a job in a completely different city, I was also trying to completely switch fields (I was a recent law grad that wanted to get into the fashion industry). I knew that I was going to have to start somewhere. So I applied to anything and everything. I interviewed for unpaid internships at a jewelry line and a clothing company and to my surprise, both offered me jobs. Sure, it would’ve given me direct exposure to the fashion world, but I knew I couldn’t afford to live in NYC on unpaid internships and I could probably do better. A few weeks later, I ended up with an offer for a salaried job as a Senior Account Executive at a small marketing/communications firm with a focus on real estate, architecture and design. Yes, it took me away from the industry I really wanted to be in, but I knew it was a legitimate way to start developing the professional skills I needed to be both credible and desirable later down the road.
Finding a job in a new city can be a daunting task, but it’s definitely achievable. If you’re looking to make moves, both professionally and geographically, remember that it takes patience, passion and a little bit of resourcefulness! I just started my third job since moving to NYC – I should know a thing or two about persevering through the job hunt!