How To Find a Job in a New City

You feel it deep in your bones. A restless need to blow this taco stand for a fresh start in a brand new place. Maybe it’s the lure of a particular city that’s calling you, or the promise of friends and family. Or maybe you’d just like to be where things are happening in your industry. Regardless of the reason, moving is both exciting and anxiety-producing. And number one on the list of stressors is figuring out how you’re going to live.

You could move without a job and live off of your savings, (or worse, your parents). But a better, although slightly more difficult option is to find a job before you move, thus eliminating the stress of worrying about how you’re going to pay your rent and allowing you to focus on settling into your new home.

While some of the logistics, such as scheduling interviews, can present a challenge when job searching remotely, this shouldn’t deter you from trying. The most important thing is to have a plan and be ready to leave (i.e. give your two-week notice) as soon as you’re hired in your new city.

Here are some other strategies that can help you in your long-distance job search.

Know the City
Before anything else, do your homework. Make sure that you’ve thoroughly considered whether a move to a particular city is a good fit for your personality, lifestyle, and career aspirations. If you’re considering a city with a different climate than what you’re used to, make sure you visit during the months when the weather is at it’s most extreme. Although a snowy winter may sound nice to you in theory, the day-to-day reality of frigid temperatures is a different story if all you’ve known is warm sunny weather.

If you’re not exactly sure what you’d like to do, get an idea of the industries and companies that are hiring in the new city and pinpoint areas where you’d like to work. Pay attention to local papers and news stories and know enough about what’s happening to talk about it with employers.

And of course, make use of area-specific job sites and local publications for listings. If you have specialized skills, consider contacting a headhunter in the new city to help you find jobs.

Find and Target Specific Companies
Once you’ve done your research and identified companies where you’d like to work, follow them on LinkedIn and don’t be afraid to reach out directly to their recruiters and staff.

In addition to going through the traditional channels and filling out applications, introduce yourself virtually and try and arrange meetings for when you’ll be in town. Even informational meetings are helpful to get your foot in the door and establish new contacts.

Use Your Network
One of your best shots for landing an interview, whether locally or remotely, is by asking friends and colleagues for introductions. Friends and colleagues in the new city are a resource, but so is anybody in your network who has personal and professional connections there.

Try to connect with as many people as you can. Not only will it increase your chances of finding a job, but also introduce you to potential new friends.

Don’t Lie About Your Relocation
It might be tempting to apply for jobs in the new city, pretending that you already live there. In fact, some people even go to the trouble of establishing a P.O. box or using a friend’s address as their own. This strategy, however, is sure to backfire. Unless you’re independently wealthy and can jet over to the new city within hours, it’s likely that scheduling interviews and follow-ups is going to require some planning.

It’s also easy to get caught in a lie when employers start asking you personal questions in interviews or start calling your references. The better tactic is to concisely and convincingly explain your reasons and desire to relocate. Try to assuage any concerns they may have about your commitment to move by making it seem like it’s a foregone conclusion, regardless of whether you get this job or not.

To make the move seem more feasible, mention friends, family or other networks you already have in the city. Cite any previous internships or extended stays. Or simply communicate your enthusiasm for being in a place that is the center of your industry (e.g. Silicon Valley for tech or Los Angeles for entertainment).

Forfeit Relocation Expenses
Many companies reimburse highly qualified candidates in sought after positions for expenses incurred during relocation and transportation to job interviews. But unless you’re confident your background and experience warrants such expectations, make it known to the employer that you aren’t expecting them to cover your expenses. This alone could be the difference between you getting the job or not.

Consider Temping
A good middle ground alternative to having a full-time job waiting for you is pursuing temp work. While it’s not as stable as permanent work, at least it enables you a bit of wiggle room while searching for full-time work. And best of all, it’s flexible, which gives you a better shot at making any spur of the moment interviews when your dream job comes a callin’.

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Nicole Cavazos

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Nicole Cavazos is a Los Angeles based copywriter and blogger. As a former contributor to the ZipRecruiter blog, she covered the job market and wrote advice for job seekers.

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