In a city like New York where you have no choice but to sink or swim, it’s not enough to be submitting your resume on LinkedIn and Indeed. Chances are, any job you’ll end up loving and ultimately sticking with will be through a connection of some sort. As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Every job I’ve gotten and loved (including writing for Bedly!), has been through an in-person connection of some sort. Generally speaking, companies would rather hire someone that comes as a recommendation from someone they already trust then go through the process of picking through resumes submitted online and determining who would be a good candidate for step one of the interview process.
No need to panic, though! While applying online to jobs may feel easy and safe, there’s a much better way to line up that new career, and I guarantee you can have fun while doing it. In a highly competitive market saturated with people wanting the NYC work experience, it’s crucial to network properly. Lucky for you, since you can skip the hassle of working with brokers and the other struggles of moving in NYC by leasing with Bedly, you can put all that extra time and energy into your job hunt. In fact, you can even move to NYC without a job and start your search here.
- Write out your goals. This point is extremely important. Physically writing out your goals can help to manifest those dreams into reality. Make sure you are specific about what you want, too. It’s not enough to say “a job that makes me happy and makes me a lot of money”. Not detailed enough. Rather, you should say, “I want to work as a buyer for a department store that has good company morale, offers full health benefits, room for growth within the company, and starting out making 70k annually”. This point is the foundation for all of your networking opportunities. You must know exactly what you want in order to work towards that goal.
- Develop your “story”. Your story is your pitch. What do you tell people when they ask what you are looking to do for work, or what makes you qualified to do the work? Provide a brief but specific background and also what you’re looking to do for work as well. Now, you can be a bit broader in your explanation. You don’t need to tell them your exact goal as in step 1, but that you are interested in becoming a buyer for department stores because your skills from previous positions make you the perfect candidate and it combines your love of fashion and business.
- Reach out to current contacts. I’m talking everyone from your high school acquaintance who lives in NYC to your best friend’s cousin’s boyfriend you’re friends with on Facebook. Old bosses are always a great resource because they can speak to your work ethic, and old-coworkers will always have your back, and can even prove to be some of the best friends and connections to have. Don’t forget about your school’s alumni and career centers. They are a goldmine of people with connections all over the world. Be sure to ask those people and friends living elsewhere to connect you with any contacts they have in the city, too. Even if they don’t work in the field you are interested in, you never know where the thread of connections will lead. You may also discover a different realm of work you are interested in, and that’s okay! Allow room for your goal to change, just make sure to keep it specific.
- Use LinkedIn as a tool to connect with others. While endlessly submitting your resume on LinkedIn may not get the results you want, LinkedIn is an amazing social media platform for networking with professionals. Start by searching for some companies you may want to work for, and see if you have any connections there. Maybe there are three alumni from your college working there that can give you an introduction or recommend you for a position. You can get pretty deep into the LinkedIn web by going through your contacts and seeing where everyone is living and working. Like Facebook and Instagram, just keep clicking.
- Grab a friend and attend a networking event. This could be a great way to bond with your new roomie, and let’s be real, it’s comforting to have someone there with you for some extra support. You could both end up walking away with different contacts and swap! Not sure where to begin with events? Well, ANY event can be a networking opportunity, whether going to a friend’s apartment for dinner or a bar for drinks. Don’t be afraid to introduce and pitch yourself. If you want something a little more formal, ask a friend to host a networking event for you where they invite people they know that may be able to assist with your job search. Eventbrite also has a list of networking events ranging from art meet-ups to open mics to lecture series. Meetup allows you to connect with people online and “meet-up” in real life to explore your city and expand your career opportunities. Just have your goals clear going into your event, especially if they’ve changed. And don’t forget your social etiquette. At a bar? Set a drink limit for yourself before going so you don’t accidentally get sloppy and miss an opportunity. If having a drink in your hand makes you more comfortable, ask for a soda water or tonic water with lime. It looks like a drink but you’ll keep a clear head so you can navigate potential business relationships! Also practice your handshake ahead of time and be sure to make eye contact. That initial impression goes a long way!
- Follow up. Anyone you meet, in person or online, be sure to follow up with. Don’t be afraid to be persistent. Sometimes you have to get in someones face so they remember you before they forget you. Email is the most appropriate way to engage professionally, however, if you’re comfortable with it, a phone call can also be very effective, particularly after talking specifics of a job or having an interview. Whatever you do, make sure to follow up with everyone, even if it’s not something you’re interested in right now. Let them know that you really enjoyed chatting with them and would love to keep in touch. You never know when you’ll need your next networking opportunity, or when you could be of help to someone else!
Moving to New York City can be extremely intimidating. When you lease from Bedly, they take the hassle out of moving so you can focus on important things like making some extra cash, discovering a new workout routine, and finding a job.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Imgflip, Mam Jobs Network, Ask The Head Hunter, Fruit A Chamber