Whether you want to be closer to your family, your significant other was transferred for work, you’re just looking for a change or there’s another reason entirely, moving to a new city is an exciting step. At the same time, it can be all kinds of scary. Among your fears, you’re probably wondering, “How do I find a job in another city?”
While it may feel challenging and even overwhelming, it’s very doable; people all over the country make it happen regularly. Start with these seven steps, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a professional life in your new home.
1. Research, research, research.
Your first question should not be “How do I get a job in a new place?” Instead, it should be “Have I found the right place for me?” Before you go about looking into the job landscape in said city, it’s important to make sure you thoroughly research the place and see whether there are opportunities for people working in your industry, as well as whether it’s a good fit socially, lifestyle-wise, weather-wise, politically and so on.
Of course, there may be some situations in which you don’t have much of a choice, such as if your partner is being relocated for their job and you’ve both determined that this is the right step. It’s still important to research the area, though. Find out what the scene is like for people in your field by perusing local publications, browsing job-search sites and boards for positions in the area and talking to local recruiters. It’s a good idea to visit the location at least once to get the lay of the land, too.
2. Target specific companies.
In your research, identify a handful (around 4-5) of companies that seem like a good fit for you. You probably know what it’s like to send out many resumes and feel like they're going into a black hole, and this is a way to avoid that. You’ll probably still want to apply to other opportunities, but you should prioritize your “short list.” That means reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers who work at those companies to learn about opportunities and get yourself on their radar. Ask about informational interviews — these are a great way to make yourself visible when an opportunity arises, as well as meeting and networking with people in your industry.
3. Network, network, network.
How soon should you look for a job when relocating? The short answer is “as soon as possible.” But applying is only one aspect of looking for a job. What you should start doing immediately is laying the groundwork. That means a lot of networking.
If you already have connections in your new city, even friends and family, that’s ideal. Let them know you’re moving there and looking for a job, and ask them to spread the word. Also ask them if they know anyone in your industry with whom they could connect you. But even if you don’t have connections there, you can still network. Your alma mater’s alumni network is a good place to start. Social media is another helpful resource. Put out the word on Facebook and LinkedIn, and browse your connections on these and other platforms to see if you have contacts who in your new city. Once you get there, attend industry or networking events, and join a local professional association or chapter of a national one if possible.
4. Make LinkedIn your friend.
Speaking of LinkedIn, it’s a crucial tool for any professional and especially pivotal when you’re moving to a new city. Not only can you identify connections in your network who work in your new area, but you can also network with second- or third-degree connections, as well as people you’d simply like to speak with.
LinkedIn Groups can be very helpful in this regard. You’ll be able to find people in specific industries and locations easily. It will require putting yourself out there, but you’ll be able to find plenty of opportunities if you do.
If your current employer knows you’re leaving, it’s a good idea to change your location on LinkedIn. Otherwise, wait until you actually move. If it’s still a secret, you’ll probably want to hide local group memberships in your settings, too.
5. Make yourself available.
If an opportunity to interview in your new locale arises, make it happen. This may mean having to pay for a last-minute flight or calling out of work at your current job. It’s important to make it happen either way; if you tell the prospective employer you can’t make it, you probably won’t get the job. You’ll also need to pay for your own travel expenses for the most part — but remember: if you land the job, it will all pay off in the end.
Try to make the most of your visits by scheduling multiple interviews or other opportunities within the same trip.
6. Consider remote work.
If your employer values you and you’re happy working for them, you might be able to continue to work for them remotely. This isn’t feasible for all jobs or industries, and some employers might not be comfortable with the idea, but others could be open to it. Before you broach the subject, prepare thoroughly by gathering supporting evidence as to why this will benefit both you and the employer, such as performance reviews.
7. Find part-time or temp work.
It can be difficult to find a full-time job as soon as you move. However, part-time, freelance and temp positions are often filled more quickly. They’re also generally pretty flexible and will give you time to both explore and continue your job search. If you can land some of these gigs, they’ll sustain you while you look for something more permanent. Plus, they’ll be a good way to get your feet wet and make some connections while you’re adjusting to life in a new city!