The new year is settling in. You’ve waited far too long to do what you’ve said you’re going to do on Facebook and to your friends for the past year. I’ve moved twice within the past 10 years. Both moves were planned but somewhat sporadic to those that knew me. They were also successful in their own right. Here are some pointers for a safe move. You can watch the video below, read on or do both.
Before you move forward with a move, it is best to decide if relocating is really what you are looking for. Sometimes we just have not utilized the resources that are already available to us in our current city. You may need to get a hobby, change your daily habits or friendship circles. Also, moving does not only apply to large cities. Your breakthrough could happen in Kansas City, MO, Jackson, MS or Riverside, CA.
Don’t tell anyone that you are trying to move.
This can be hard when you have friends and loved ones that can’t think of living their lives without you. Well, let me tell you something…they can and they will. If you tell too many people about your plan, you’ll randomly receive news articles about how everybody in your city of interest is being robbed and shot. You’ll also get the “You’ll be back” crowd. People that were supposedly supportive of me said “You’ll be back…” as if that is what I wanted to do. “You’ll be back” is code word for “I hope you fail so you can come back and eat at Applebee’s with me for the rest of our lives.” No way, ashy. Keep this to yourself. Overall, you just don’t need extra negative energy or voices in your path.
Create an exit strategy.
Many of these tips will help with your strategy to move away. This is a must to ensure better chances of a successful move. I wrote what I wanted to accomplish during my move and where I wanted to be in the next 2-5 years, then began writing things that would get me there. My list consisted of these items: graduate school, internships, fellowships, volunteer opportunities in my field, professional organization memberships and low-cost living, to name a few. I focused on these thoughts in every decision I made. My volunteer experience within 6 months led to paid opportunities. The plan worked. I also decided to take on less responsibility at work to make way for my exit from the position. Extra activities also slowed down during my last few months. I attended less meetings, rehearsals and events to make way for an easier exit.
Do your research.
When moving, there are many things to think about: jobs, housing, food, money, the weather and the people. I went to city-run websites and found a relocation link. This is a space where you can request relocation information. Many cities already have a relocation packet for new or interested residents. You can either request this from the city or from the Visitors/Convention Bureau. The packets I received contained contact information for almost everything I wanted to know, from hospitals and dentists, to radio/TV stations and apartment associations, etc. Once you receive your packet, you have to consider a major thing…money!
The side hustle
The top worry on anyone’s mind when moving is money. The first thing is to look into transferring your job to another city, but many times that’s not possible.
If you have a side hustle that you want to fall 100% into, this is the time. Outside of communications, I also had a side hustle in promotional marketing. This was my fall back and transitional job. Many of these jobs start at $15/hr. That’s enough to pay for your basic necessities in most cities, but I was paid upwards of $75/hr in the field. You may have another hustle, like graphic design or bartending, use that to your advantage while also searching job boards in the local area.
Before I moved, I joined local city/state job boards and used a local address. Many employers scoff at the sight of someone out of state applying for a job they want to fill quickly. I’ll cover this later, but when you’re networking, try to find someone in the area that will let you use their address. This is kind of rogue, but you can use a random address of an apartment complex and they’ll never know until you complete a full application. My number one place to find local jobs was Craigslist. I was always hired in promotions, television production and digital media consistently through that site. I suggest downloading the Craigslist app to stay up to date on new posts. For resumes, since you want as much coverage as possible, create one with EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE you’ve ever worked listed on it. When you find a job of interest, delete items that do not fit the job you’re applying for. Tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for is a must and allowed me to interview for jobs 3-6 times a week.
To get a foot in the door with housing, this is one idea that’s barely thought of. You could go back to school and stay on campus as a non-traditional student for a low cost. I know that may be hard for some, but if you’re really serious you will do anything to make this move. I stayed on campus for a year at age 25 while attending graduate school. This allowed me to focus on new opportunities and cut costs. Many cities have room mate services, mainly NYC and LA, but you can go to sites like roomster.com or just be basic and google find a roommate and your city. Something will come up if you do some digging.
Understand that a car is not needed everywhere to survive. Having a car in many cities is a weight on your finances and your sanity. I’ve had friends move to cities from the South that could not part with their cars when they moved to the East Coast. Understand how parking works at apartment complexes, review city rules for parking on the street and also parking garage costs. Sometimes costs can be as much as rent for some residents. Your best bet may be public transportation. Don’t be afraid of it. It can be your friend and your enemy. Understand the true walk to the train or bus stop by searching your new apartment on Google Maps in the 3D viewer. I followed my daily walk from the train to my apartment every time I scheduled a job interview and while looking for other housing options. I also mapped my walk to the grocery store. A five minute walk to the train or bus stop sounds easy, but that walk may consist of a hill, a gate that locks at certain times, one rough block to walk through, etc. Do your research.
So, where are you going to put all of that information that you’ve researched? I created email folders to hold all of the things I found online. I remember during my move to Houston, everytime I discovered a job I forwarded it to my email address and put it in a special Houston Career Jobs folder. I sent links from the DMV, apartment leasing rules and insurance information to this folder as well.
One of the first things I did before making both of my moves was friending random people on Facebook and following those on Twitter that held a similar interests. I did a Facebook search for promotional and digital media and joined the groups that contained those keywords in the area. Outside of networking for a job, these boards allowed me to connect to people in my field. They shared important local and cultural information about my new city. There is no way to Google and know that you’re not suppose to buy groceries from the yellow brick store because they have roaches in the cheese cooler. I searched Eventbrite for networking events. In doing this, I discovered at least five networking events per week and sent messages to the event organizers asking for information about their organization. To some, it may have been weird, but I gained many contacts from emailing these random email addresses. Then, once I moved, I already had local event information and received next event or next meeting notices. I also knew someone once I got there. Many times, because I reached out to the organizer about me being new or during the process of moving, my cover charge for events was either free or reduced.
Getting Rid Of Your Things–Making The Decision What Needs To Stay or Go
I am very liberal when it comes to this, but I will tell you what I did. I sold or got rid of 90% of everything. You will discover that moving a sofa you bought for $500 or a table you picked up for $75 across the country is not worth the cost. I posted all major furniture items on Craigslist. Within two weeks, everything was sold before I moved to DC. Well actually, after I moved I gave my key to a friend to allow people interested in my furniture to check it out. (EDIT: Sidenote–End your lease AFTER your move away date to handle issues like this that may arise. Don’t let your last day in your city be the final date of your lease.) I sent half of my clothing and housing items through USPS for about $100, including insurance. The other half came with me during my flight. The random things I collected over the years was sent to family and friends. This goes back to your exit strategy. I was dropping items off at family and friends’ homes 6 – 12 months prior to my move during holidays so my final move could be lighter and easier to manage.
In closing, I just want to tell you to be encouraged in your move. Everything started coming together with every step I made. Make the first step. Apply for the jobs and see what’s out there. Step out of your comfort zone and press forward. You won’t regret it and if you do, you’ll still have the much-needed experience that can help you to build upon in your current city if you do move back. Just think positive, plan and move. Go for it.