I’ve been getting e-mail about this topic, which seems to strike fear in the hearts of New New Yorkers more than apartment hunting and subway navigation combined. Here are the biggest questions I get on this topic, and my take on things:
Is it true that I won’t get hired until I live there?
Not necessarily. Go full speed ahead, just like you would in any job search, and your odds are automatically better than if you go into it not expecting to pull it off. However, it is true that many companies are hesitant to hire someone who doesn’t yet live here. Think of it this way: These guys have easy access to HUNDREDS of people who are already here, who can show up for an interview the same day.
Should I use a fake address on my resume?
No, no and no. Long story short: I was advised to do this, and then I realized, HEY, that’s lying. Because what if they say, “Great, come by tomorrow for an interview!” Then you’re screwed.
Should I make a preliminary trip out there?
Yes. I came about six months before I moved to go on informational interviews and lunches. I started asking everyone I knew who they knew, and that lead more places than I would’ve thought, especially when you talk with people in your field. People like to help people — meet as many people as you can before you show up here.
What can I do to prepare for New York from where I live now?
Pursue every lead/connection you have while you’re still employed; there are probably a few people your current employer could put you in touch with. Bosses love to make calls to hiring managers that start with, “Boy, have I got a great lady for you! I wish I could keep her, but she’s moving to NYC, and you should hire her for [position XYZ].” This is how most non-entry-level hiring happens.
How can I end things on good terms with my existing employer?
First of all, if you have a good boss, they’ll be sad to lose you, but happy for you. If moving day comes and you’re not yet employed in NYC, there’s no harm in asking your current company if, while you’re in limbo, you can continue freelancing or consulting for them on a per-project basis or whatnot. All they can say is no — and if they say yes, you’ve got some extra time to be choosy (not to mention money coming in).
How much should I save before I arrive?
This depends on the level of others’ involvement in your finances, but what you absolutely don’t want is to be cornered into taking a job you don’t want when nothing else has come along and you’re worried you won’t make rent. So my answer is SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. If you need money, you’ll have it — and if you don’t need it, hey, you’ll still have it.
….What’d I miss?