New Kid in Town? These 7 Tips Can Jumpstart Your Job Search

A woman checks her phone before going into work.
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Over the past four years, I’ve lived in six different cities.

No, I’m not homeless. I’m not unstable. (Well, that’s debatable, depending on who you ask!)

I’m a traveler, and I’m always on the go. Only one of those moves was due to an employment offer. In the other five towns, I had to find a new job from scratch.

There are plenty of reasons we find ourselves in new places. Reasons that have nothing to do with our careers. I’ve relocated because I graduated from college, moved back in with my parents, traveled, decided to live with my significant other (now husband) and followed him to a large university where he began a master’s program. Each new city brought an overwhelming job search.

So how do we find positions in new cities? Particularly in places where we don’t know anyone?

Here’s how to find a job in a new city.

1. Put a Local Address on Your Resume

If you search for positions before you’ve arrived in your new city, you’re probably filling out online applications.

Whether you apply through LinkedIn or a job service website like Indeed, make sure you submit a resume with a local address. Even if you haven’t moved to that city yet.

You may not move to that town for two more weeks. But if you’ve already found a place to live, go ahead and put that address on your resume.

Although I’m writing primarily to people who don’t have any connections yet, if you do have family or friends in the area, ask permission to use their address if you don’t have one yet.

Many employers receive hundreds of applications for one position. If they see you don’t live in the area, they might toss your resume aside before even looking at it.

One caveat, however: Only include a local address if you can do so ethically. Don’t just make up a random address to make yourself look better.

2. Mention the Big Move in Your Cover Letter

A woman carries moving boxes.
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This advice is especially important if you can’t ethically include a local address in your application.

This way, if your potential employer overlooks your address and reads further, you can give context to your living arrangements in the cover letter.

Even if you have a local address listed, you should still mention the move in the cover letter.

The fact you’re moving could make you stand out from other applicants. At the very least, this gives you the opportunity to mention your earliest date of availability.

3. Update Your Online Profiles

Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or another social media profile, go ahead and change your location to your new city, even if you haven’t moved yet.

Annoying as it may be, many employers do look at potential employees’ social media accounts before making a hiring decision. Posting your new city could help them find you. And if you have included a local address on your resume, putting that same city on your profiles will eliminate any confusion.

4. Apply to Tons of Jobs Online

A woman types on her computer.
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Search online job hubs such as IndeedMonster and CareerBuilder for the field you’re interested in.

Then apply.

And apply.

And apply.

5. Narrow Your Search to Five Jobs

Once you’ve finished your online application marathon, narrow down your search to your five favorite positions. You might end up accepting a totally different job offer, but it’s helpful to have your favorites picked out.

Now, when you arrive in your city, take a couple of days to settle in. On day three, walk into any of the five businesses you haven’t heard from yet.

That’s right. Don’t email. Don’t call. Walk in, introduce yourself, and hand in another resume so they can look it over while they talk to you.

This tactic sounds intimidating, but it’s worked for me multiple times. As a potential employee, I come off just so-so on paper. (That whole “moving to a new place every six months” thing doesn’t look great on a resume.) But I leave a good first impression. Walk into the office so people can actually meet you.

Hopefully, this strategy is super successful, and you land yourself a job! But just in case, take a look at items six and seven on this list.

6. Consider a Temporary Job

After a week or two, you may need to start generating income. If you still haven’t heard back from any of those five jobs, consider a short-term gig to make yourself some cash.

You can always go through a temp agency. Or consider a job where you can start right away, such as serving tables at a restaurant or making coffee at Starbucks.

7. Network, Network, Network

Two people network over drinks.
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As time goes on, you’ll meet people in your new city.

Take advantage of conversations with people at that temporary job or at a local pub. Share your passions with them. You never know what will come of it.

If you’re moving to a new area and don’t know what you’ll do for income yet, hopefully this list has given you some fresh ideas to keep you from freaking out!

Follow these steps and your biggest concerns will be what to wear on your first day and topics you can bring up to spark conversation around the water cooler.

Laura Grace Tarpley is a teacher and freelance writer in Athens, Georgia. She spends all her free time playing with her new corgi puppy, Tuna.