Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to Move to with Nothing: Getting a Job

As you've probably gathered from other posts, Mister and I recently moved across the country. What a lot of people don't know is that we did it with very little money, no real place to stay once we got there, and without jobs in place. 

However, within two weeks of our arrival, we were working, earned our first paychecks, and signed a lease on an apartment. This short post series will go over how we did it, starting with with securing a job.

Choosing your destination
Research the area you want to live in and it's surrounding towns and cities. We were moving to Colorado and so we narrowed our job searches down to Denver and Boulder (including the small cities in between). You don't want to limit yourself to just one area, but you also don't want to be driving for hours between interviews.

If you're choosing a location you've never been to before and you cannot visit the area before the move, then research several backup cities with good or similar prospects. If it turns out that your new town isn't what you were expecting (too city or too rural, too much traffic or too little nightlife), then you'll at least have somewhere else to try. 

*Remember: No place is going to be perfect immediately and the longer you stay on the road, the less money you'll have to settle down once you pick a place.

Compare the unemployment rate to the job availability
This can be done by researching news articles online for stats on unemployment, checking the Craigslist jobs sections in your field to see how frequently they are updates, touring the websites local and statewide employment agencies for the number and types of openings listed and more. 

Denver is booming in early 2016 with an unemployment rate around 3.5%, down from 4.8% in 2014. So, yeah, it was at the top of our list.

Check out temp agencies
If you look at a lot of other blogs, they will say "Make contacts before you get there" as their tip to finding work before moving to a new area, but what does that mean? Just because you reach out to people in your new area doesn't mean there is a position open and waiting for you.

Since you're moving with nothing, earning money (no matter how little) is the biggest necessity once you arrive. Search for temp agencies in the area like Express Employment Professionals, Office Team (with the larger RobertHalf group), Aerotek, Labor Ready, and/or other agencies that you have the skills to work for. 

Make a list of the phone numbers and addresses of these agencies, including agencies with multiple locations in your area. If they applications online, fill them out and submit them to all the locations you would be available to work in. 

Make a schedule for your arrival
Once you arrive, no time should be wasted. For me and Mister, I made a schedule using a Word template, which listed times, dates, and locations of potential job opportunities as well as factoring in travel time. I kept it updated and edited it whenever anything changed. This tool is also useful when it comes to planning where to live.

If you have employment prospects already, interviews should already be set scheduled. Also, certain states and/or areas also have employment resources like postings of job fairs. Include those in your schedule. 

If you applied or need to still apply to temp agencies, go into the offices so that they can get a face to the name. You're more likely to pop into their minds when a job is available if they have already spent time with you in person. Set up your initial interview with the temp agencies and make sure to arrive looking job ready. In my experience, you can even get work scheduled for the next day. 

Secure a mailing address in the area
Since you most likely won't proof of residency yet, sign up at the local post office for General Delivery. This will allow you to at least put a mailing address on applications so that employers know you're in the area and not still out-of-state. You can also forward mail from your old address to General Delivery until you get a more permanent address.

*If you do not have a place to live yet and they question you about where you are living or why you're using General Delivery, do not tell them you are essentially homeless until the job is secured. Say something like,"We have a month to month lease, but I'm not sure we're going to stay there much longer" or "I worry about receiving mail at our place so it was easier to do this until I can get a P.O. Box" or something else.

Safeguard resumes and important documents
Make sure your resumes are crisp. If you don't want to worry about them during the move, a public library usually allows some kind of access to the printers. If not, OfficeDepot, FedEx, Staples, and many other will print your resumes for you for cents on the dollar.

As for other important documents like Passports and birth certificates, make sure those are kept nearby and in an easy place to access. If you are able to find a job before  you find a place to live and/or unpack, employers usually ask for government forms of ID. The last thing you want is to decline the position or ask the employer to wait while you frantically search for your documents.

Want to know more about moving with nothing? See our post Getting There.

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