Moving To a New City for Work? Read This.
Growing up, my family rarely traveled.
Which is why it’s so crazy to look back on this past year and realize that I lived in Tampa, Austin and now I’m currently writing to you from Northern California where I’ll be for the next few weeks. I did this all in 2018.
Before this, I’ve lived in Boulder, Los Angeles, and New York City. I’m originally from Long Island, NY.
Growing up, my dream was always to live in NYC. After working hard for several years, I managed to move to Manhattan at my goal date which was 4 years after graduating high school.
One day, I realized that in order to work in my desired field (marketing), I was going to need to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to leave my job and find a company that would support my move into a marketing position.
I had interned at a marketing agency in college and had blogged outside of school for years. At this point my career, I started getting my work published online, interviewed on Sirius Radio, and stirred up some press to my personal work to get enough of a taste of the marketing bug.
So I made moves. Or a move, I should say!
My first move outside of my home state of New York was both for the thrill and for career. I felt that I needed a challenge outside of a 40 minute radius of my hometown. I also realized there were more opportunity for someone entry level like me at the time in marketing in Los Angeles, so I made the commitment and moved out to LA where I gained invaluable experience in my career.
When I share with people the different places I’ve lived over the years, I’m often asked a series of similar questions like, what made me move there, which is best, and how to find work in different cities.
If you’re new here, I’m deeply passionate about professional development and helping people find work that they excel at while also stimulating their interests. Living and working in a place you love is important to many people, but how do you find work in a new city?
In this post, I aim to share with you some of the best advice you need to hear before moving to a new city for work.
The first thing that I do when moving or traveling to a new place
Ok. Before I travel or move anywhere new, the first thing I do is grab my computer. I jump on Linkedin and update my location. This allows recruiters and my connections to have a better understanding of where I currently am physically.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it:
Next, I like to review my schedule and really think about my goals when networking. It’s always a good idea to just generally meet and connect with new people without having a direct need.
Dedicate one day a week to meet with people in your industry over coffee or lunch to make it more of a habit in your lifestyle if this is new for you.
Review your Linkedin connections in your area and reach out if it makes sense to connect. And if that doesn’t work, ask your friends and connections if they know anyone in your area that it would make sense to meet with as you’re new to town!
Looking for more advice on Linkedin and professional development? Check out my Professional Development Bootcamp.
Try something new
When I first moved to LA, I didn’t know anyone. When I went on a date at Westside Comedy Theater, I discovered they hired interns. With no college alumni, friends or family in town, I thought what a neat way to get accustomed to the city.
When I interned at Westside Comedy Theater, I fell in love with standup comedy. At this point in my life, I knew nothing about comedy and truly still feel like I’m super new.
Standup comedy is something I do for fun, but it’s also a great way for me to meet new people in the creative industry, get out of the house, have a laugh, and get acquainted to a new city. When I was living in Austin, I literally did 12 open mics a week. Not only did I get better at writing, but I was able to make friends too.
Not every hobby you pursue you try needs to be directly tied to your career.
Consider some of the following activities to try when thinking about getting out of your element:
Salsa dancing classes - You can literally take salsa dancing classes for the hell of it. A few of my friends have done this and have no regrets about it!
Painting classes - Painting is a fun one because you can go to a one off class or take a class that extends over the series of a few weeks focused around mastering a certain painting skill.
Cooking classes - Cooking is an incredible skill to have and is something I’ve personally grown to love the more confident I feel in the kitchen. It took a ton of time for me to get used to at first, but learning how to cook for myself and others has been such a rewarding experience. I have a few friends who recently enrolled in cooking classes and I can’t wait to hear about their experiences.
Nature classes - When I lived in Boulder, I considered joining a class where I learned about different herbs and plants that grew naturally in our local area. Consider taking a gardening class or bouquet styling class.
Pottery classes - Honestly, if someone wants to go on a date to a pottery class. I love you.
Hell, I’m getting CPR certified for the shits and gigs and it’s not required of me in my line of work.
Before committing to moving to a new city it’s important to acknowledge the harsh reality.
Moving to a new city is hard! You may know people in town, but you may not know your way around. You may not know anyone at all and will be starting from scratch.
In adulthood, I feel like most people don’t experience what it’s like to build a social and professional circle from scratch until a few years after college when they move away from other people that they grew up or went to college with.
It’s a ton of fun, but know that things may be a little uncomfortable, unfamiliar and new. Which is why you need to learn how to be disciplined when no-one is around to keep you in check!
In order to make new friends, achieve certain goals and practice certain hobbies, it took me putting myself out there, doing research, getting organized and committing to showing up.
Recommended reading: Why Motivation is Crap & Discipline is Your Only Chance at Success by Allison Wojtowecz
Make a spreadsheet
When I moved to Boulder, it was one of the smallest towns I’ve ever lived in. For me, this was such a culture shock!
I wanted to make friends, but I didn’t know where to find them! It seemed so hard to find my people. One day, I sat down on the couch with my boyfriend and together we looked up open mics and other local events I could attend in the area to make like minded friends.
I add everything to my calendar, so below is a screenshot of how this would end up looking after collecting all of the information on a spreadsheet.
Each time I move to a new city, I make different calendars based on different activities I want to participate in. Each week, I delete the events I’m not interested in going to, but I find it helpful just to have everything reoccurring on my calendar so each week I can choose. I find it easier to commit to things when I have everything visually organized when planning.
Sometimes I go to events alone and no-one is there. Most times I go and it’s a blast which is always worth the risk.
The first time I heard of a temp agency was when I landed my first job at a startup. We were all entry level in New York City. Some of the people interviewing for the same job as me found out about the opportunity through a temp agency.
One of the girls mentioned that she would want to work there and that she’s used temp agencies to find steady temp work in the past while transitioning into living in a new city.
Temp agencies are a great supplement to your job search and exist in different cities, skillsets, and seniority levels.
The process is different for each company, but usually you’ll have to apply online to get your profile in their system, interview on the phone or in person and then they’ll brief you and send you on job interviews.
Some jobs are temp, temp to hire, or just short term projects.
Go to Yelp: Search “temp agencies” and your city into the search bar.
Research each agency to find the right fit for your skillset, experience, and location
Submit your resume into their system following each agencies on-boarding process
Only apply to relevant jobs and listed gigs. Do not apply for opportunities that you’re not qualified for. It’s not a good way to start your relationship with a recruiter.
Looking up cost of living
Unfortunately so many people leave this until last minute.
Before I moved to New York City, I purchased a notebook at Target (lol) where I wrote down some research.
I wanted to know how much rent would cost, the subway and other basic needs if I wanted to successfully move to Manhattan in 2014. I knew it was expensive, but what did that mean? So I did the research and wrote it down.
I still do this when moving and traveling just to have clearer idea of what my true budget should look like when traveling somewhere new.
So many people wait until the last minute and get sticker shocked when looking for a place in a larger more expensive city after having the luxury of space and cheap rent.
I was recently talking to someone who moved to LA from a smaller city who was shocked to hear what a studio goes for here vs a three bedroom in their city.
Don’t let this scare you from moving, but just be aware.
Consider researching the following as far in advanced as possible before your move:
Research the cost of living in your new city and use websites like Zillow to look at potential apartments and houses
Research the average salary for someone with your experience in your location
Research moving costs and consider what furniture you’ll have shipped and which you’ll purchase when settling into your new apartment
You should always be networking.
Do not leave it to last minute when you need something or when you arrive in a city to start reaching out to meet with people in your industry that you don’t know yet.
In my Professional Development Bootcamp I share with you step by step how I land jobs and connect with industry leaders in new cities even before I land there.
Some of the go to tips I have for networking when moving or traveling to a new city are:
Update your location on Linkedin.
Make a status on Linkedin notifying your network where you’ll be, when you’ll be around, and what’s bringing you to town.
Make a status on Facebook and reach out to friends that you know live in the area.
Reach out to Linkedin connections in the area.
Text my friends in those cities and ask them about things to do, places to see, people to meet.
Look up events that fit my interests.
Look up open mics, because I’m a standup comedian, lol.
Consider developing an income stream that can move with you
With each move, I took most if not all of my income with me due to the nature of my work being done online. Considering how you can make money, regardless of your location. This doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. But consider new ways to keep generating revenue regardless of where you live.
Search around Flexjobs:
Flexjobs is a site dedicate to helping people find flexible and full-time remote work.
A great place I tell people to start when searching the site is this page that shares with you the various industries that are currently hiring remote workers on their website.
Detox from bad habits
Moving to a new city really gets you out of your bubble.
When I moved across the country I found it so much easier to take new risks and chances. No one knows you. Your past is in the past.
Use this to reflect on your habits. You may find it easier to let go of certain bad habits while more challenging to say good bye too others. Maybe you want to develop a good habit like drinking more water!
I found that when I left NYC it was easier for me not to drink. Others may find it easier to slip into bad drinking habits when away from home.
Every time I travel somewhere new I do my best to reflect on my habits and how I can change them to help me develop better overall habits that will help me achieve overall health and career goals.
One of the ways I started writing more was by going to a writer’s workshop in Los Angeles.
Find a writing workshop near you on Meetup.
Research local employment law
Employment law varies depending on state, city and county.
They also vary based on the type of role you have and type of company you work for that. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of these differences when moving.
On making new friends
I couldn’t write this blog post and not address making new friends. Whether you move for a job or to be closer to loved ones, it’s incredibly rewarding, beneficial and healthy to have your own friends!
I’ve learned how to make friends both fast and slow and online and offline over the years.
Oftentimes when I hear that making friends in a city is hard, it’s often paired with someone who doesn’t yet know what they need or want in a friendship. As we get older, we change. What we want in a partner and friendship changes too! Make sure your friendship circle is reflecting that as you create new friendships and partnerships in new places.
Some of the ways I meet people are Instagram, the blogging community, Linkedin, friends of friends, going out alone, and just regularly putting myself out there by going to new places.
Below is a photo of my friend Roya and I after we met in Los Angeles, CA. We were friends for almost a year before meeting and met through a Facebook group! She wrote about our experience on her blog here.
Since then, Roya started her own company called Stilo Box, which is a newsletter and blog dedicated to empowering female leaders.
With each move, allows us a new start.
I always do my best to reevaluate the habits that have found a place in my life and routines when traveling or moving somewhere new. It’s nice to see how some habits still have a place while others are outgrown over time.
As always, if you like this advice, I share my best tips on negotiating your salary, finding a job you love, growing your network and working remotely in my Workforce Survival Guide.
What are some things you wish you knew before moving to a new city?