I get a lot of questions about how to make the move to a new city—especially when companies can be less responsive to remote applicants. Luckily, Kris Solberg, Digital Strategist at the American Animal Hospital Association and Vice Chair of Ad 2 National, is here to share his advice on moving to a new city without a job, based on his own experience. Here's Kris—
So, you’ve fallen in complete, all-consuming love with a city other than the one you currently reside in. You’ve visited a few times, fell into the lifestyle like a native, ate up the culture, and saw your dreams flash before your eyes.
Before you start packing your bags, you’d be wise to reflect on your experiences and feelings. Was it the city you fell in love with or was it the people you were visiting the city with? Are there other cities you’d be happier in? Are you trying to avoid unresolved issues?
Moving to a new city will not solve all your problems. Moving to a new city is an unforgiving test of character. Moving to a new city is risky! But, if you’re fortunate enough to move to the right city for you, persevere long enough to find the perfect job, and build a whole new beautiful life, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
How do you do it? Everyone’s journey is different. Mine took me from the sandy beaches of Tampa Bay to the towering mountains of Denver, and it was nothing like I expected. There are, however, some essential steps you’ll need to take if you hope to land the perfect opportunity in the place that makes your heart sing.
1. Prove your passion through your planning.
There’s a huge difference between saying you want to move and packing up your life to make it a reality. Where does that difference start? Planning. Even if it seems unattainable and you have no idea how you’ll logistically pull it off, the only way to guarantee you won’t make it is to never develop a plan and put it into action. Y’know that old adage, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”? Lao Tzu totally knew what he was talking about.
Do your research on the cost of living, salaries for positions you’d be applying for, and ways to build your network before even you arrive. And, if you take nothing else away from this article: BUDGET. Seriously. You may be looking for your dream job for way longer than you expect. Are you ready to become a barista to make ends meet while you job hunt at night? Maybe freelancing is an option. In any case, you’re probably not swimming in a pool of gold coins, so be smart. Take the necessary steps to prove your commitment to yourself.
2. Speak your dream before you live your dream.
Your dream doesn’t suddenly kick in once you arrive at your destination. No matter how great you did in school or your last internship, no one owes you anything. Define what your dream looks like: are you a junior creative in a large agency with hundreds of employees? Maybe your dream lies brand side with amazing benefits. Is culture important to you? Are you more financially motivated? How about upward mobility?
Know what the dream looks like so you can identify it when it shakes your hand at a professional networking event. This is an easy one to practice! Once you tell your friends or family that you’re looking to move, they’ll likely ask you what you want to do once you’re out there. Speak your dream. Be able to tell them truthfully and passionately. And yeah, this also includes details outside of work. If your support system is anything like mine, you’ll probably run into the question, “But can’t you do that here?” Your answer to that question will be very telling.
3. Stand out by showing them the real you.
No matter where you apply, hiring managers will receive dozens of other résumés from highly qualified candidates. Quite possibly more qualified than you. How do you beat out the competition for that coveted interview?
Show your true personality. After months and months of submitting applications with no response, I decided I needed to change up my approach. No less than five minutes after I committed to showing more of myself, the perfect job posting appeared in my search. It was silly, genuine, and did not require a cover letter. All my favorite qualities!
All jokes aside, I could truly feel my dreams and passions mirrored in whoever wrote this job posting. So I decided to lower my walls, be vulnerable, and respond as me. The nerdy, passionate, intelligent me— not just Candidate X. Now, I work for the American Animal Hospital Association and I couldn’t be happier. Cut through the clutter, and you’ll be well on your way to your dream job in your new city.