Are you working on finding a new job before you move to a new city? Or thinking about a big move?
A few years ago, my (now) husband and I decided to make a big move out of state. Across the country, in fact. Neither of us lived outside of our hometown before and felt like we wanted to try it. Recently, I’ve seen several posts with people asking about tips for job searching when you’re not yet in the market.
So, I thought I’d share some tips on what helped me make the move to a city where I had practically zero connections.
Even if you’re not physically living in that city yet, change any profiles so you’re listed in the new city/market.
Also, check out any local organizations tailored to your job or industry. For example, since I work in marketing I looked at the local American Marketing Association chapter. Many major markets have various networking groups and/or industry events so do some local searches with these keywords to:
[insert your industry here] + [insert major market nearby] networking events
[insert your industry here] + [insert major market nearby] events
[insert your industry here] + [insert major market nearby] organization
These organizations may also have online forums or pages on social (see below) that offer job postings to scope out and at least start to give you some visibility into who’s hiring.
2. Network like crazy.
This overlaps with the above item but is really important. In addition to mapping out some local organizations and events that you can plan to join in-person when you are in your new city, you can also check for Facebook and LinkedIn for groups that may enable you to begin connecting online with folks before you’re there.
You can also schedule virtual coffees or phone calls with folks in that market in your industry – recruiters, people in your social media networks, etc.
But What if I Really Hate Networking?
Yeah, I get it. As someone who has anxiety, being in settings with lots of new people can make me nervous. I have always had to force myself outside of my comfort zone to talk to new people. (Once I get comfortable, I won’t shut up, though!)
Also, I’ve never really liked “selling myself.” But I’ve come to approach networking as more about getting to know people and potentially helping them out with something. So, it’s more about making a connection, sharing a resource/tool, or just talking about a challenge or commonality.
I’m not trying to sell myself. I’m just being myself. And I really love helping people. So, this appeals to me.
Plus, don’t get me wrong – there is the added benefit of someone sharing a connection or resource with me when I need it. It’s a give and take, just like any good relationship of any kind. Building your network in your new city is key when finding a job before you move.
The Best Networking Event I Ever Attended
The first night I was in my new home of Orange County, Ca, I attended a networking event and the guest speaker was Hank Blank. Hank is a talented marketer, personal branding expert, and connector of people. We met during the pre-event networking. I shared with him how I’d just moved to OC and he mentioned that in his presentation. He also encouraged other attendees to share information and connections with me. It was amazing! I felt as if the event was made for me, it solidified the importance of networking, and is something I’ll never forget.
2. Be willing to travel, if needed. But do it on a budget (or use points).
This is, of course, a little easier if you don’t have kids yet. Also, a supportive spouse, partner, and/or family nearby to help with them helps as well. But, being available to meet quickly will help you capitalize on a potential interview. (I’m talking after an initial phone/Skype interview first since that can help you rule out anything that isn’t a fit without spending the money to travel.)
Larger companies and those interviewing for more senior roles may arrange travel for your interview. However, if they don’t and you’re just really wanting to relocate, then you may need to be willing to foot the bill for a flight or two as part of selling yourself to them.
When I was moving across the country, I obviously tried to keep my travel back and forth to a minimum since flights can quickly add up. I did this by:
- Start with a phone or Skype interview – this is often the first step anyways. Save both you and the potential employer time by making sure you’re a fit with a phone or virtual conversation first.
- Finding deals – you may add a layover or have to take a red-eye to get that cheaper flight, but you can usually find a way to make it happen. I also have a friend who works for an airline who gifted me one of her standby passes, which was much appreciated! You may also want to look at driving or taking a train, if possible, too. I was moving across the country so flying was really the only option.
- Combine trips – Try to book two or three meetings while you’re in town. Even if you just do an informational interview with someone you’ve met online, sit down with a recruiter, or attend a networking event, the more facetime you can start to get in, the better. You can also use your time to check out housing options locally.
- Stay with friends or family if possible – I was lucky and was able to stay with an uncle to cut down on hotel costs. I even went out with a one-way ticket for two final interviews (I felt confident I’d land one of them, at least, and that reduced costs from doing another round trip). I got a cheap rental car for a couple of weeks and used the time to do more networking events and meetings.
Also, if you have any credit card rewards points or frequent flyer miles, using them may be a good way to keep from spending any cash if your budget is tight. However, you may be able to write off job search expenses like travel for interviews (I’m no CPA, so check with yours), so if you can find a deal that may be the better option.
Should You Tell Them You’re Not Local Yet When Trying to Find a Job Before You Move?
This is a common question I hear when thinking about finding a job before you move. And, it depends. It’s up to you how upfront you want to be about your current status, but keeping it vague by saying things like, “I’m finalizing my move right now” is probably fine as well.
Also, for the most part, you don’t need to put your address on your resume anymore (and frankly for privacy reasons, probably shouldn’t). If you want to have a local number, you can always get a Google Voice number that forwards to your cell phone. However, since many people keep their same number even when they do move then a non-local number isn’t even usually a red flag to anyone.
4. Give yourself time.
While you may not be able to begin applying too far ahead of your expected move date, start your research and the online networking/scouting well in advance. You can check out some of the “Best places to work” named in regional or local publications as well and make a list of target companies where you think you’d be a fit.
Companies may routinely take several weeks between screening, interviews, background checks, and actually getting you an offer and starting the role. So, give yourself time when finding a job before you move – to research, apply, interview, and land one!
While moving and finding a new job may feel overwhelming, taking the time to get your ducks in a row will help you set up for success and get acclimated with your new city.