Michael Bartlemay is a Planner at VML, who relocated from Dallas to Atlanta earlier this year. Finding a job in a new city was anything but easy, so he decided to share a few things he learned along the way. Here's Michael—
About a year ago, I decided to start searching for a new job. What’s more, I decided I wanted to relocate. The opportunities in the market I moved from were less expansive, and it was time to set out on a new adventure. I began applying to jobs in various cities, sending applications into what I call the black hole of careers@___.com, LinkedIn, or career portals. After a few months, I started to realize there was more to the relocation game than just applying and hoping, especially early in your career. After landing a job I love at VML, I’ve started to reflect on a few things I learned.
1) Recognize that relocating is hard.
If you want to move to another market early in your career, chances are there are probably already people there with extremely similar experience and portfolios. You are a greater risk to an agency than the people already there. That’s because those people don’t cost anything to relocate, can start sooner, and are already accustomed to that city. In applying, you need to find ways to cut through and alleviate some of those fears.
2) Focus on making connections, not applying for jobs.
If you have time to search, this point is for you. Obviously, it’s easier to land that coveted interview when you know someone, but it’s almost imperative when you want to relocate. Spend your energy landing informational phone interviews with people at agencies you’d like to work at. If you can focus on making those connections, you become a more compelling referral versus an anonymous applicant coming in cold.
3) If you can’t move without the job, show you’re ready to move when you get one.
You’ll hear a lot of folks say that you need to move to the city you want to live in to find a job in that city. But a lot of people don’t have that luxury when job searching. If that's the case, after you’ve made a few connections, go visit them. Even further, once you book your trip, apply to jobs in that market and mention you’ll be in town. It shows you’re ready to make the move if they hire you, but saves you the risk and cost of a move. You’d be amazed at the doors that open when you can say you’ll be in town for three days in an email to recruiters or connections you hope to make.