If your New Year’s Resolution was to move to NYC like mine, then you know the struggle is real, especially if you don’t have a job lined up. But it’s not impossible for those who can brave a little uncertainty, hustle, and remain optimistic that things will work out. Here are some tips to follow to help you keep your cool and turn that stress into actionable, meaningful steps.
Save Money Beforehand
Its common knowledge that NYC is one of the most expensive places to live in the country, so you are going to want to start with at least a couple grand (hopefully more) to get your foot in the door. Most of this money will go towards your first apartment, some you’ll have to budget for food, and you will also want to make sure you have the appropriate interview outfit for wherever you may end up! Make that initial budget and stick right to it.
Find a Flexible Lease
The price you pay to get started on a 12-month lease are astronomical in this city because they usually include first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, and brokerage fees, which add up very quickly and will likely exceed your startup savings. You also have no idea which metro you will want to be near for your commute when you get your job, which neighborhoods you like, or what you are going to be able to budget for in the long-term. Not to mention finding strangers to commit to one year of living with you can be a toss of the dice.
While playing the Craiglist game has worked for millennials over the last decade, there are so many unpredictable variables when it comes to what’s posted on that “sublets & temporary” tab. You really want something month-to-month and open-ended to get started so you can focus your time and energy on finding a job, not a new crash pad every 3-5 weeks.
Fortunately, I discovered Bedly which is a game-changer! For a few clicks of a button from my phone, I was able to secure a spacious, clean, and *furnished* room on a month to month lease! While I was certain I’d be crashing on friends couches until I found a reasonable sublet, I had my own spot DAY ONE! It couldn’t have been easier, and it allowed me to move on to my job search right away.
Know Your Story
No matter what, looking for work is really the art of selling yourself. You are going to need to learn to briefly tell your story to as many people as possible. Over time it will only get better and better to the point where you can communicate your background, passions, and goals to just about anyone. New York is full of people living up to their dreams, and you can only open doors by sharing your story and asking for help from anyone. In sales they call it the “elevator pitch”, which is no misnomer. The elevator actually is the perfect place to practice selling your story, and to break up that 17-floors of awkward silence. Those people can’t go anywhere, you have little to lose, and you need to practice putting yourself out there!
Work with Staffing Agencies
If you’re not looking to get into the service industry when you get here, I would recommend reaching out to as many staffing agencies as possible two weeks before you show up. Daily temp work, short term assignments, and temp to perm agencies are an excellent way to start making some money, especially if you are still feeling out what you want to do. If you are able to get an interview with 3 or 4 agencies, you can hopefully fill up your first few weeks with day to day temping gigs which might turn into longer-term placements. Many of them will also get to know you (and hopefully like you!) which means you have a team or two keeping their ear to the ground for you!
The flexibility that temp work brings will allow time for other things such as networking calls, coffees, and events. And read the negative reviews of different agencies with a grain of salt. What you need to know is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the impetus is on you to make sure you keep up with your staffing agency and their expectations.
Cast A Wide Net & Find Your People
Whether you are moving to the city right after college, or decided to make a career change post-quarter-life-crisis, you are going to want to keep an open mind about where you are looking for work. Go back to your roots and passions, think about what skills you want to translate to the New York City job market. Hit up those old college buddies and make new friends to help you find your way.
Be open to learning about different types of jobs and note what and who excites you or doesn’t. You want to like the people you are working with and around, so go to different industry events that are open to the public on Eventbrite and see if you like the crowd. These can be great opportunities to meet potential employers without the pressure of being in the hiring process.
Work it on LinkedIn, Indeed, and AngelList
Spending over a day writing ONE cover letter may not be the best use of your time when it comes to having the conversations you need to have at the start. Shoot brief messages to friends of friends through LinkedIn and see if they wouldn’t mind chatting for 15 minutes over the phone about their work, or perhaps even grabbing coffee is a low-risk and often meaningful method to getting a chance to tell your story to people who might be interested in helping you. Make sure you actually have questions for them, and that you are prepared to steer the conversation, as the impetus is on your to make the most of those 15 minutes.
And why not upload your resume on Indeed and “Easily Apply” to jobs that look interesting! It doesn’t hurt to sling that thing around the internet, and maybe a recruiter will perk up to your resume. You just never know. Also, Indeed is a free job posting site, so they pretty much have everything and anything listed.
AngelList is also becoming increasingly useful for Millennials who are interested in working in startups. Talk to companies that look interesting to you on there, whether they are hiring or not. Most of them will have to hire down the road, and if you like what they are working on an they take an interest in your, who knows what could happen!
Have Some Faith & Congrats – You’re Doing The D*mn Thing!
First of all, you’re a badass! Very few people are willing to go out of their comfort zone and make such a big change in their life without certainty and stability, so have confidence! Continue to tell your story to people, keep a busy schedule and keep as many doors as possible opened at once. Be honest with yourself and others. Narrow down to what you actually want to do so you actually LIKE the job you’ve been working so hard to get. The universe will listen if you tell it what you genuinely want!
So chin up, shoulders back, and smile – You’re a New Yorker now!
Photo credits in order of appearance: Latina, CDN, Social Talent, WP Engine, Meme Generator