How to Find a Job in a New City: Three Tips

how to find a job in a new city

One of the most common job search questions I get is how to find a job in a new city? It’s a struggle I know well. You have the skills or ability to do the job if given a chance. You’re willing to relocate. You’ll even take a less than savory salary because you want the experience. But every application you submit disappears into the belly of the internet beast — only to occasionally be burped up as a rejection message.

That’s that ish we don’t like.

As living proof, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to find a new job in a new city. But like the impossible, it may just take a little longer.

Now there’s no magic formula to make it happen. I spent a few months learning the meaning of resilience before I was merrily on my way from Boston to NYC. And the truth is, had I not had someone in NYC that knew I was looking and was conveniently leaving their HR job, I might still be in Boston trying to get Iyanla to fix my life. I’ve thanked many a deity for my good graces. Hand to the air with index finger pointing upward. Thanks yo.

So my advice to you? Get ready for a marathon. In fact, train like you’re about to run one. Here are a few things you can do so you don’t get left at mile marker #1 drinking warm water and eating melted powerbars.

Optimize Your Résumé For Every Position You’re Applying To.

From the recruiter side, it surprises me how many applications I see with a generic résumé attached. Like, the job is asking for X and Y. Why is this résumé all about G, Q, and U? You could have all the skills needed, but if I — or we for that matter — can’t quickly tell you’re a match, you’ll get one star and queued for rejection.

Take a few minutes to figure out where you meet the mark on the job description. Then word your résumé according to the keywords and phrases to show that you have what it takes. Don’t just add stuff in hopes of getting an interview. Because if you haven’t done what you’ve listed, you’ll get exposed like you’re on Cheaters. Nobody wants to have the blurry face.

Let Your Cover Letter Ease Their Concerns

When you’re applying for a job from afar, you’re automatically fighting an uphill battle. Recruiters and hiring managers will run through a bunch of questions they quickly need answered. Stuff like:

  • Does this person even have the skills we’re looking for? (Should be answered in your résumé.)
  • Why are they looking to move from X to Y? Are they just desperate for work and casting a wide net?
  • Can this person even get here for an interview in a few days? How long will it take them to start? How the hell do they plan to make this move happen?
  • All things considered, why should we hire you when we have a bunch of people locally that meet all our wants, needs, and desires?

Seems like a lot of questions, but you have to find a way to address them all (concisely) within your cover letter. Give them a reason to like you, call you, and trust that they won’t regret the effort later. Here’s a post on how to write an awesome cover letter to get you started.

Sound the Alarm…and Network

When you’re trying to transition to a new city, you need to figure out who you know that’s already there and reach out. You can start with a search of people you went to school with on Linkedin by going here. You could also try a few status updates on Facebook and Twitter. I say a few because it’s easy for your message to get lost in the sauce with the volume of people talking about the mundane and the moment. For folks you already know, I encourage you to reach out by email individually instead of doing an email blast. Truth be told, when I get an email and see that I’m BCC’d with the masses, I always mark it to come back to…then usually forget to come back to. Assume everyone’s like me. Plus, people enjoy feeling like they’re in a special position to help.

Once you’ve done your initial outreach and hopefully gotten a response from a few folks, it’s important to periodically keep in touch so that if your contact(s) does hear something, they remember you. You never know who they know, but it’s pretty much a guarantee they know someone connected to a hiring manager.

Networking is an ongoing and proactive effort. Coming from someone that learned the hard way, you need to embrace it now, even if you’re not officially looking but considering a new city. The more people that know you before you need help, the easier it is to get something when you need something.

Again, the search from afar is a long process. Be prepared for it to take months, be thankful if it takes weeks. I can’t guarantee you a victory, but the job search game is about positioning. Make sure you’re in the mix with the rest of the savvy pack.


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