It’s an age-old story. You’ve graduated from college and moved to a new city, ready to start your professional life. You’re short on cash, anxious, and a stranger in a strange town. Of course, you’ve read all the networking advice. You know what you are supposed to do. But how are you supposed to meet successful industry professionals when the average cost of a martini in Los Angeles is $18 bucks? Related: 10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking Here are a few inexpensive ways to network in a new city.
It can happen to anyone. You’ve been living and working in one city for years. Things were going along fine until you decided you wanted to move to a new city. You might be looking for different career opportunities. Or, maybe you want to live close to a mountain so you can ski. Your parents may be getting older and you may want to be within driving distance of them in case of emergencies. Related: Job Seeker On The Move? 6 Tips For Relocating Effectively Whatever your reason, the challenge is the same. Relocating to another city mid-career can present unique obstacles, especially if you’ve never lived there before. In large cities, there may be enough local talent to fill existing jobs. In small cities, companies may not have the budget to relocate external candidates, so they may overlook you.
1. Don’t Lie About Being LocalWhen faced with this situation, many job seekers create a plan to dupe their new employer into thinking they’re local. First, they’ll rent a post office box with a local address. Then, they’ll change all of their contact information to appear to be local. I discourage you from taking this route. First, it’s dishonest. What would your new employer think if they knew you lied to them during your very first interaction? Second, local candidates are often called upon for next day face-to-face interviews. This will set you up to tell another lie about why you can’t come in right away.
2. Take A Trip To Your New LocationA better route is to introduce yourself to the employers in your chosen city by showing them just how serious you are about moving there. Plan a one to two week networking trip to your target city. Schedule it a month or so in advance, so your time will be used effectively while you’re there. Plan to break each day into three pieces: morning, midday, and evening. The morning is a great time to meet with recruiters and existing contacts for coffee. Use the middle of the day for lunches when you want to connect with someone in more detail. This is also a great time to setup interviews. Use the evenings to attend networking events and grow your number of local contacts.
3. Reach Out To Your Existing NetworkThe first group you should reach out to is your existing network. Let them know you will only be in town for a limited amount of time and would like to catch up with them. You’ll be surprised at how quickly people will clear their schedules when they hear you’re coming to town. This tactic also works well with companies you’re interested in working for. Even though they may not be ready to meet with you in person, many hiring managers will make an exception if you happen to be in town for only a few days. It saves them money on transportation and allows them to meet with you in person.
4. Leave Recruiters For LastRecruiters are the last set of individual contacts you’ll want to reach out to. Because they’re compensated based upon their ability to place candidates, they love to meet new job seekers. Create a list of recruiting agencies and placement firms in your new city and reach out to each one. You can use these meetings to fill in the gaps for the days when you don’t have coffee or lunch with a current contact.
5. Find Local Events At Your New LocationThen, use event websites like Meetup.com and EventBrite.com to find local events that are happening while you’re there. If you’re a social butterfly, consider attending more than one event per evening. Target activities for young professionals or groups that are industry specific and align to the type of work you do. When you attend events, give your elevator pitch and exchange business cards with those you meet. Follow up on LinkedIn and in e-mail to ensure you stay connected. I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. This approach worked for me when I moved to Memphis, Tennessee from Los Angeles, California. I flew cross country for one week and attended meetings and networking events each day. I targeted one particular event because a CEO I admired was speaking. After his presentation, I introduced myself and gave my elevator pitch. A month later, I was on my way to Memphis to start my new job! Angela Copeland’s career coaching firm Copeland Coaching helps job seekers to find a new career path. Angela helps each client with their Job Search Strategy, Personal Brand, Cover Letter, Resume, and LinkedIn Profile. Subscribe to Angela’s Copeland Coaching Podcast, follow her on Twitter, and sign up to receive her free weekly career e-newsletter.
Related PostsMoving? 3 Helpful Tips For Your Relocation Job Search 5 Job Relocation Tips For Changing Cities How To Overcome The ‘Unemployment Stigma’ When Relocating This is a guest post. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
I have had a couple of clients ask me how to network in a new city. Career change is hard enough, let alone finding work in an unfamiliar area.