How to Move to Another State Without a Job: Top Tips to Give Yourself a Leg Up

How to Move to Another State Without a Job: Top Tips to Give Yourself a Leg Up

By: Eric Mees

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August 22, 2022

If you’re contemplating moving to another state without a job, it’s important to develop a game plan to be successful. We’ve compiled a helpful list of tips (and more than a few valuable resources) for you to consider before relocating.

Moving is stressful enough. Add “unemployment” to the mix and things can easily spiral out of control. Start by making sure you’ve got a good handle on your savings, taking time to get your resume in order, finding a place to stay, and being ready to work. Keep reading for our essential tips.

Starting Fresh or Starting Over

Whether you’ve decided to start over or you’re just starting out for the first time, moving to a new state can provide unexpected challenges, fresh perspectives and a whole raft of new opportunities.

There can be significant differences between starting off fresh or trying to start over, each requires a different mindset.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when distinguishing the two:

A: Starting Fresh

“I want to wake up in a city

That never sleeps

And find I’m king of the hill

Top of the heap”

(Theme from) New York, New York

Just going to pack up, move out of this small town, and make it in the big city. One leading characteristic of a fresh start is the sense of adventure that accompanies the decision.

It’s important to maintain that sense of adventure throughout the job hunt. Apply anywhere and everywhere and don’t limit yourself by searching only for jobs that exactly align with your degree. Instead, look for tangential opportunities. How? Rather than searching by a profession, find keywords that line up with your skillset and search for those instead. Set up alerts for any hits you get on your keywords.

Degree: journalism

Tangential positions: writer, content creator, editor, quality control

Deliverable terms: blogs, white papers, articles, content pages, reports, stories

Keywords: writing, creative, b2b, b2c, editor, content, blog,

B: Starting Over

If you’re at the point in your life where you’re categorizing your relocation to a new city as “starting over,” there’s a strong likelihood that some things are in need of change. That’s OK.

Googling “how to start over” will produce plenty of results, which we encourage you to check out if this is something you’re struggling with. 

The good news is, that you’ve already landed upon one of the top recommendations: get a fresh perspective. There is nothing like moving to a new city and re-establishing oneself to get a completely different perspective on things.

Other tips generally center on introspection: identify the challenges, re-examine your values, and so on. Just like with our first tip about perspective, these will end up being core determiners of the success of your out-of-state adventure.

Make Sure you’ve Built up Savings

It’s important to have between four and six months of savings built up before moving. There are plenty of intangibles when it comes to relocating, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough for rent, utilities, food, gas, insurance, and everything else for several months while you’re looking for employment.

Of course, make sure that your nest egg takes into account the living expenses of your destination rather than your current locale. Moving from a farm in Nebraska to a major metro area is going to have a much greater impact on one’s wallet than between Chicago and San Francisco. Alternately, relocating from a big city to a rural area might allow someone to stretch their funds a little further.

There are multiple websites that offer cost-of-living comparisons. One of our favorites is the cost-of-living calculator on BestPlaces.net, which allows for comparisons between cities, as well as how they stack up against national averages.

Finding an Apartment

Before the internet, finding a place to live in a new city was a challenge. Driving from complex to complex, searching for a vacancy, and then hoping a property manager would take pity on you and let you move in on the same day.

Now, so much research can be done online that you can virtually tour, reserve, and even rent an apartment before leaving your current city.

That’s not to say you won’t encounter challenges. The biggest barrier will be convincing a leasing agent to rent you a place when you don’t have steady employment.

Here are a couple of tips that we’ve learned over the years:

  1. Pre-pay your rent: If you’ve successfully saved up, you can offer to pay several months in advance to secure a place to live while you start your job hunt in earnest.
  2. Get a co-signer: If your parents or another family member can help, getting them to co-sign on your lease is another way to rent an apartment.
  3. Have good references: while the other two points present stronger arguments (i.e., money), simply having a long-standing history of making payments and having references to back you up could sway a leasing agent to approve your rental application.

Of course, there are going to be some leasing companies that couldn’t care less: No proof of income, no apartment. If that’s the case, seek out listings from private landlords. They are often more flexible (especially in areas where there are lots of vacancies). Independent landlords can be found in lots of different ways: Facebook groups, Craigslist, local listing sites and so on. Heck, even walking through an area you’re interested in could produce several promising leads, if you keep an eye out for “for rent” signs.

4) Subletting:  Since the rent on sublet units is already the responsibility of the original lessee, you usually don’t have to go through the same level of scrutiny from a management company or even a private landlord to sublet. Being able to provide solid references (and paying on time) are still important parts of the equation, so don’t shirk your responsibilities in this regard.

Looking for more tips on renting without a job? Check out this blog from Caretaker.com.

Finding a Job

Unless you’re independently wealthy, finding a job is going to be near the top of your list of things to do in your new city. Here are some of the best pieces of advice we found on the topic:

New Town, New Resume

Start by creating or updating your resume. If your “new start” also encompasses a change of career, there are going to be some key differences in the way you approach your resume. Some of the more important takeaways are:

  • Accentuate transferrable skills
  • Clearly state objectives
  • Create a resume that combines functional and chronological highlights

Don’t take it from us: Indeed.com has more tips for career-change resumes here.

Get a Job While Seeking your Career

With ongoing labor shortages and high unemployment in many parts of the country, finding a job while searching for your next career may be easier said than done. We’re not here to debate the causes behind the Great Resignation, such as wage stagnation, undesirable working conditions, or stimulus checks. Instead, let’s talk about the merits of taking a job when moving to a new town.

• Connect with people: working will bring you in contact with other people. This will help you acclimate to your new city and help expand your network.

• Extend your career search: more money in the bank means that you won’t necessarily have to accept the first career offer that comes along, allowing you to hold out for the right fit.

• Something to do: unless you’re an aspiring professional gamer, it’s probably not the best idea to sit and play video games for hours on end.

Tip: When looking for a job, try something different. Part and parcel of relocating is getting a new perspective on things, so doing the same thing in your new town that you were doing before you moved isn’t going to help.

Find a job that will allow you time to pursue your career in earnest, i.e., one where you will have enough time to search for careers, honor interview requests, complete any coursework or seminars to bolster your employability, etc. Many employers searching for entry-level employees look for qualities like communication skills and leadership, the ability to problem-solve and work well with a team, time management, and organization skills.

Job Resources

Okay, we admit we just told you to “get a job” without actually answering the question about how to get a job.

Despite what your current employer wants you to believe, your job/career search can start anytime. You can start by joining professional organizations, putting your resume on career sites, attending alumni events, or even just talking to friends who live in different states.

Here are some great ways to start your job/career search in a new location:

Networking is key to finding out about new opportunities. It’s really just a form of socializing, either in person or digitally. If you’re in a specific field (or aspire to join a specific field), there are probably professional organizations that sponsor local get-togethers. Alumni events are always a good way to reconnect with old friends, find new ones and meet like-minded graduates who’ve potentially moved on to greener pastures in far-flung locations.

Digital networking is also a great way to hear about opportunities in your new city. Sites like LinkedIn are great for digital networking, as well as uncovering alumni and other connections and contacts you might’ve forgotten about. LinkedIn is also great for getting the word out about your plans, your employment status, as well as offering a bunch of job opportunities to boot.

Finding a job is work

Make finding a job your job. Set aside several hours per day to devote solely to your job search. This will give you time to perform searches, write cover letters, upload resumes and, when you do start to get interviews, you’ll have time set aside without having to consult your calendar.

Even if you’re working a temp or part-time job, make sure to allocate time for your job hunt. If you’re searching for jobs just once or twice a week, you may not get your application in on time, or if you do, it’ll be so far down the list that yours might not stand out.  

Just like a paying job, there are things to do to keep the search from becoming a source of frustration and anxiety. VisualCV’s blog lays out a plan that includes taking breaks, setting goals, staying healthy, and being optimistic—you know, all those things that would help your mental health in a regular job. 

Other employment websites

LinkedIn is just one of the many important websites to use for your job search. The Balance Careers website reviewed more than two dozen employment websites before coming up with their list of the 10 Best Job Search Websites of 2022. Their list includes some of the best-known sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor and Monster, but also offers additional insights for specialty sites catering to experienced managers, recent grads, etc.

It’s a good idea to post your resume on these employment websites, too. This will save time when you decide to apply since many will use your resume on file.

Don’t overlook the importance of the cover letter, though. This is going to be highly important since you’re coming into a new city with few to no references, especially if you’re just starting your career path or changing careers.

Freelance opportunities

Another thing to keep in mind is freelance work. Even if it’s only tangentially related to the field you want to ultimately be in, freelance jobs can often lead to full-time opportunities. Displaying your skills in a positive light is never a bad thing, regardless of how long it lasts.

Staffing/employment agencies

When moving to another state without a job, another good employment strategy is to register with local staffing agencies. Pros and cons abound for both employers and employees when it comes to temp work, but these jobs, like freelance work, can often lead to full-time employment.

While this list from The SMB Guide is more suited for businesses looking for a staffing agency, it lists the top 75 agencies and even breaks it down into specialties, such as Medical and Healthcare, IT and Tech, and more. A savvy job-searcher will be able to find the right niche in no time.

Local career centers

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop is a great website to use for locating job centers in the areas you’re moving to. Those job centers, in turn, offer services like job search workshops, free computer access, job training services, skills tests, practice interviews, and so on.

Digital nomads

Of course, moving to a new city doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work in that new city. Many people have adopted the “digital nomad” lifestyle, combining travel and work. Employment sites like FlexJobs focus on placing employees in remote, hybrid and flexible job opportunities. If the concept of the digital nomad lifestyle appeals to you, read more about it on our blog.

Don’t Get Frustrated

Unless you’re extremely lucky or remarkably talented, chances are you’re not going to get offered the first job you apply to. Or the second. Or the third. If you do, congrats. But be prepared for a long search process just in case.

In fact, TopResume.com cited Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers from 2019 indicating that the average job search from application to employment was about 5 months. And that was pre-pandemic.

Bonus Tip: Store Space Self-Storage

If you think we’re going to shamelessly plug self-storage as a solution to all your woes, well, you’re right.

What better way to ensure your items are safe when you arrive in a new city than by keeping them in a self-storage facility? If your first place is a studio or a rented room, you’re going to need a place to keep everything that doesn’t fit. Check out our storage finder to see if we have a location near you!

Second, consider a career with Store Space. We offer our team members:

  • Competitive salary and generous bonus opportunities.
  • An independent work environment with collaborative management who cares.
  • A comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, matched 401K and paid time off.
  • Convenient working hours. No nights!
  • Hands-on training and development.
  • Unlimited potential for career advancement.

Let Us Know Your Story

Have you ever relocated to a new city without job prospects? Are you planning to try it soon? Tell us how it went in the comments below.

Eric Mees

Writer who also enjoys cars, guitars and Mars bars.

Comments

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