How to Land a Job in New York City
The dream of moving to New York City and landing a job is one that many share. After all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, right?
When my husband decided to go back to school in one of the greatest cities in the world, starting a new chapter and finding a job in the city become my reality. I was apprehensive and full of questions.
- Would I be competing with hundreds of other applicants?
- Would I be able to keep up with the brightest and the best?
- Should I expect my boss to channel Miranda in “The Devil Wears Prada?"
- What if I simply couldn’t hack it?
I’m thrilled to say my story has a happy ending, and today I am gainfully employed at a company I love. And because I’ve lived to tell the tale of job hunting in New York City, I have a few best practices that anyone can use to ensure they experience similar success:
Temper your expectations about who you think a typical New Yorker is.
The list of stereotypes attached to those who live in New York is a long one: cold, loud, abrasive, impatient, you name it. It’s important to get over that quickly. Yes, those who live here have to develop a thick skin just to keep up with the hustle and bustle of city life. But they’re not irrational, they’re not out to get you (most of them), and you’ll have both good and bad encounters, just like you would anywhere else.
In my experience, they’re not any less helpful, and you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised when you see someone go out of their way to assist someone who needs directions or give up a seat on the Subway to an elderly person. Be confident, and don’t let yourself be intimidated by your own preconceived notions.
Reach out to your network (or your network's network) in advance of your move.
I was targeting jobs in the public relations and marketing industry, so as soon as I found out I was moving, I put together a short list of about five companies I wanted to work for. My next step was to identify those people in my network who had connections at these companies, which LinkedIn is great at helping you do.
Next, reach out to them with a specific ask: “Hi. If you feel comfortable doing so, could I please get an introduction to Mr. Smith at ABC Company?” You’ll want to be a little more charismatic than that, but you get the idea. Pro tip: It also helps if you send your connections a few highlights about your educational background and work experience that they can then easily share in their email introductions.
Get familiar with the Subway system before you start going on interviews.
In your first week or two in the city, use that time to familiarize yourself with your closest Subway station, as well as what trains will take you where. Google Maps has a public transportation option in its app that will tell you exactly what train to get on, where you need to transfer, if necessary, and exactly where to get off. There also are similar apps like NextStop and HopStop that offer step-by-step directions.
Public transportation in New York is a dream once you figure it out, but at the onset, it can be an overwhelming web of letters, numbers, and express and local trains. And the last thing you want to do when you finally score that first interview is show up late because you hopped on an uptown train instead of a downtown one. Save yourself some unneeded stress and do your homework in advance.
Seek out groups of people through co-working spaces and/or volunteer opportunities.
You never know who you might bump into or who those you’re working alongside have in their networks. Putting yourself out there and letting people know you’re job-hunting through volunteering or hanging out in a co-working space can increase your chances of landing the right opportunity.
Hive at 55, We Create NYC and New Work City are all great places to start, filled with freelancers, entrepreneurs and employees of small companies who are often super connected. For volunteering opportunities, check out New York Cares or use this list to get started.
Start your search with start-up companies.
New York is a hotbed for young, scrappy companies looking for people who want to work hard and grow with them. So instead of going after the corporate job at a company that’s been around for 100 years, consider starting your search at places like 2U, Warby Parker, Birchbox, Spotify and more. They all have a major cool factor, and you get to wear a lot of different hats and also expand your skillset.
While no two experiences are exactly the same, I’m confident that any job seeker with ambition and drive can land a job in New York City. You’ll be sure to find success by tossing your stereotypes out the window, doing your homework, tapping into the proper networks and targeting the right companies.
About the Author: Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters in nursing programs. She enjoys blogging, photography, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.
Photo Source: Flickr