Career Jumpstart: Find a Job When You Move
Moving to a new city is a dream for many. After all, Americans have been packing their bags and moving to new places for decades. But how do you go about actually making it a reality? After all, you need to find a job to pay for rent.
When you add the fact that you might not know anyone in the new city, it suddenly all seems really scary. How are you supposed to network your way into a job if the only living being you know in a new city is your cat?
The good news is it’s actually easier than ever to jumpstart your career when you move to a new city – mostly thanks to the internet. In fact, you likely have more options and resources to find a job than you realize.
Find alumni that live in the new city
Thanks to the internet, you can actually find college alumni in a new city. For example, you can hit up LinkedIn’s alumni feature to find them. Or, you can contact your college directly to see if there’s a chapter in the city you’re moving to.
The reason this works so well when you need to find a job is because alumni typically want to help each other out. They have a soft spot for people who went to their same college.
Try attending meetups to find a job
When moving to a new city, it’s in your best interest to immediately start hitting up local meetups. The reality is you’re not necessarily going to find a job while you’re holed up in your apartment. According to research conducted by LinkedIn, the #1 way people find a new job is through a referral.
“Finding other people to network with in a new city is a fantastic way to find job opportunities,” says George Cuevas, founder of CollabMiami, a networking group in South Florida that welcomes new comers from other cities.
To find a job, you could try meetups for your industry, meetups for your skillset or even meetups focused around a specific interest. Don’t hesitate to cast the net wide.
Here are some places where you can find local events and meetups in your area:
- Meetup, the website dedicated to these events.
- Googling “[City] meetups.” You may also want to add an industry, skill or interest to the search.
- Lots of people post events on Facebook all the time. Just try searching for them. You can also try Facebook groups.
- Community newspapers or newsletters. Some coffee shops have these available for you to grab. There may also be an online version you can find on the city website.
- Coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are popping up in cities all over the country and they sometimes have events that are open to the public. This is a great place to meet your next potential boss.
- Local Chamber of Commerce. Your new city’s local Chamber of Commerce likely has events coming up that you could attend. Lots of local businesses and companies attend these events.
- LinkedIn Groups. You can join LinkedIn Groups that are geography specific. If they have events coming up, you’ll know. At the very least, you can start making friends online.
Spruce up your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is an excellent tool that is totally at your disposal when it comes to jumpstarting a career in a new city. Aside from finding alumni and geography-specific groups, there are other features available.
For example, you may want to try changing your location on LinkedIn to your desired location. Recruiters spend all day on LinkedIn looking for candidates and you don’t want to make the mistake of getting filtered out because of location. (This may not be a good strategy if you’re trying to keep your move a secret.)
Keywords are also incredibly important on LinkedIn. The reality is that LinkedIn search works in much the same way Google search does. Recruiters are looking for specific keywords, which means it’s your job to make sure they can find you.
Here are some tips for using keywords properly on LinkedIn:
- Find job postings from the kinds of jobs you want in a new city and pay attention to the language they use. Once you’ve figured the keywords out, sprinkle them into your profile.
- Use keywords in specific places like job titles, descriptions and that one line you get under your name.
- Use the space you have available. LinkedIn isn’t a one-page resume, so take advantage of it!
You’ll also want to use the best photos you can and possibly upload examples of your work.
Reach out to companies
If you really want to get the ball rolling to jumpstart your career, reach out to companies directly. Find three or four you’d love to work for and make it known in your cover letter that you’re looking for a job.
Tell them why you’d be a good fit and how you can make the company better. Use quantitative examples when possible. For example, did you save your last company money? Did you increase team productivity? All these things matter.
Tap into your existing network
Use your existing resources. That’s what Jessica Moorhouse, personal finance blogger and host of the Mo’ Money podcast, did when she moved from Toronto to Vancouver without a job lined up. “First I made a list of clients I used to deal with at my old job who lived in Toronto and set up coffee meetings to see if they had any leads,” Moorhouse says. “I spread the word to any friends, family and old colleagues for leads then spent the majority of my days looking online.”
She actually ended up getting a job through a former co-worker’s boyfriend.
Moving to a new city can be daunting for anyone. Finding a job in a new city can be even worse. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and strategies that can make it happen.