So you have your sights set on working in a city you don’t live … yet. Great – that’s progress! You’ve identified where you’d like to live (this is better than most). Well done in making decisions – it’s a tough decision to make.
Moving to a place you want to live IS doable — in fact, it’s imperative if you want to get a job in that city. You can’t expect you’ll make any headway sitting on your mom’s couch in Kansas. At least I didn’t. No one will interview you or fly you out for an interview. They won’t take you seriously. They will only take you seriously if they can meet you face to face easily.
Yes, you have to be smart with your approach. You can’t just move somewhere without a plan. Here are a few tips to shape your move:
1. Do your research – find out the cost of living so you understand what you’re getting into.
2. Reach out to anyone you know living there to pick their brain. Ask about neighborhoods they live in. How did they get started in that city? What was their path? What would they recommend to you?
3. Start planning your move – save enough for 3-6 months if you can so you have a safety net when you get there because it will take awhile to get a job. Sell stuff or have a garage sale before you move.
4. Live frugally when you first get there. Put yourself on a budget diet until you land something.
5. Find a cheap place to live – Look to Craigslist or Facebook groups for short-term sublease or flexible month-to-month living situations.
6. Get a quick paycheck. Look into temp agencies. There is nothing wrong with doing boring filing work or being an assistant for awhile until you get your feet wet in that city. It will allow you to live in the place and interview and network.
7. Take advantage of being a local. Network like hell to make connections.
8. Set a timeline – give yourself a deadline for when you’d like to land a full-time job and reassess if your deadline comes for how much longer you’d like to devote to making it work in your new city.
9. Celebrate minor successes. Even just meeting a new connection is a great thing to celebrate.
10. Enjoy the process – it will be worth it in the end.
Breaking into a new city is hard work. It’s challenging, will trip you up and you’ll feel like you never have any money. But you’ll regret not taking the leap. In the words of Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” No one gets anywhere by just waiting around for an opportunity to strike.
Don’t be scared — just take the leap of faith and move to the city you want to live. It is doable. There have been many before you and have done it. Just be willing to work hard and just get started.
Go kick ass in your career!