Fear of Moving Shouldn’t Hinder Job Search


At least two dozen PR agencies are in or within walking distance of Chicago's Aon Center.


Q.  I’m a 2010 PR grad living in a Detroit suburb.  I’ve been doing odd jobs for the past 18 months as I look for a relevant PR job in this area, but have come to the conclusion that I should move to a larger PR market like Chicago or New York.  My part-time jobs pay my rent, so I feel somewhat tied to staying here. Plus, I only know a few people in those cities and I can’t afford to sign a one-year lease.  Advice from you and others who have faced this situation will be appreciated.  -DB

A.  When I lived in a small town, I faced the same question.  Then one day, an older friend offered up a metaphor that has stuck with me for my entire career: “If you want to sell hats, you have to go to where the heads are.”  Indeed, there are more public relations opportunities in larger cities, especially those where most major agencies have a significant presence.  However, there also are lots more people seeking jobs at those firms.  So, it still comes down to your resume, relevant internships and volunteer experiences.  Don’t contemplate a major move unless you have a rock solid resume.  If you simply want to make a break, you almost certainly will be able to continue with part-time gigs in the new locale while you build your network.

As for finding a place to live, it’s a lot easier than you might think.  First, you should work your network.  Friends and acquaintances who are living in those cities very likely know others who are seeking roommates.  No matter where you’re thinking of moving, you also should check out Sublet.com, which lists apartments and rooms to rent directly from individuals and landlords.  (You can list your search for free on Sublet.com, but you must pay $29.95 if you want to contact prospective landloards.  Tip: You can get a 15% discount by simply asking for one). Of course, Craig’s List remains a turn-to source for apartments and rooms.  These services generally don’t require the one-year minimum lease that newcomers to a major city should avoid.  Look at your move as a mini-vacation–rent something for a short term until you determine if you want to stay in the area or move elsewhere.   Good luck with your decision.  You’ll love Chicago.

16 thoughts on “Fear of Moving Shouldn’t Hinder Job Search

  1. I moved seven times to take new jobs, and while it’s usually painful (especially if you have a family), it’s worth it. Great jobs rarely fall into your lap; you gotta go get them. If I was starting out all over again, I’d go to China, where I’ve heard you can find work quickly teaching English. Once there, I’d transition over to a real PR job as quickly as possible, then spend a few years getting China experience under my belt. Keep in mind, it’s only a matter of time before China has the largest economy and its companies are major plahyers like IBM, General Motors and Apple are today. A PR professional who knows how both the American and Chinese markets work is going to be in demand for decades to come.

  2. Great advice, John. A friend’s son has done exactly as you suggest–started out teaching English and is now working in PR with an international corporation with offices in Shanghai.

  3. My moves? Each ignited an adventure well worth the effort and the trepidation. Besides a college internship to Philly: I moved from hometown Indianapolis to Chicago (for a challenging job in a larger PR market) to Madison, Wis. (promotion), to Indy (for parent eldercare) to Seattle. Change has always been good for me.

    Before moving from Indy to Chicago, I crafted, followed (and evolved) my own Find-a-Job-in-Chicago strategic plan. While I did considerable advance work from Indy, scheduling full days in Chicago was a must. When job searching in more distant cities, I stayed a week at a time, once at a friend-of-a-friend’s condo.

    Throughout my career, the alumni services of my college helped me network in target cities, identifying alums working at companies where I wanted a foot in the door, as well as those working in PR. Attending professional association meetings and seminars (PRSA / IABC) in target cities helped. LinkedIn helps. As does reaching out to FaceBook friends and extended family.

    Contacts made during job-search networking remain important to me years later.

  4. I am a junior in college and am beginning to think about applying for jobs in Chicago or New York once I graduate. I have heard, however, that companies in larger cities may be hesitant to hire a person right out of college who has never spent an extended period of time away from home. What I mean by this is that if someone is from St. Louis and attends Mizzou, Missouri State, or Southeast Missouri State, for example, to a possible employer that may show that, that person could possibly get “homesick” and end up quitting and going home with in the first year, or when their contract expires. I was just wondering if there is any truth to this?

  5. Not to worry, Eric. I don’t know of anyone who would be fearful of someone becoming homesick if they’ve made it through four or more years of college. It’s only come up once in my long career of hiring, and I never gave a second thought about it being something to fear when talking to candidates from small towns. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case during the early stages of my career or my hometown of 1,105 would have prevented me from getting a job anywhere.

  6. This is great advice for future graduates. I am preparing to graduate in May and plan on moving to Chicago. While I don’t have a job, I’ve had a few interviews so my biggest fear is actually finding a place to live when I actually do land a position. I will definitely check out the links listed on this post.

  7. Fear of Moving Shouldn’t Hinder Job Search- This article really helped me because I plan on relocating to a city with better PR opportunity but I am still afraid that once I get to the stage in my life where I am ready to move I know what I need to be thinking about and preparing for.

  8. I am going to be a junior in college and I have been thinking about where my career will land me. I feel that fear pulls on all of us, but at the same time I feel that it is healthy to get out there and experience new things. I have moved from place to place my whole life, so it is not a fear of moving for me as much as it is a fear of leaving my old life to start a new one. This fear, however, will not get me down and I will push onward into my new life in a big city.
    I have also had friends recently who have left college and they were having trouble finding a job, but they refused to turn in applications to some places, as well as refusing to reach out and leave their hometown. After a few months, I convinced them to put in a few more applications and they had a few job options in a week. If you are having problems finding a job, I would more than encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and put in more applications to odd jobs and never let its location bother you.
    As for finding a place to live, there are many people looking for roommates and all you need to do is get out there and you will do great. Never let fear hold you down.

  9. I feel the advice given was very practical and appropriate. I have recently done my own search for housing because of an internship this summer, and I found Craig’s List to be a valuable source of housing if one is not looking for a full 1 year lease. I felt the point made about not moving unless one’s resume is “rock solid” is crucial. I actually don’t think I would move without a job offer.There is no point to moving if one will be stuck in the same part-time job in another city.

  10. I liked this advice because in this world and economy beggars can’t be choosers and if it takes a relocation to another city in a different state then so may be it. After experience you could always try to get back to the city in which you wanted to originally live in.

  11. I really appreciate the advice given in this post. It seems most newly graduated students are moving back home or back to their hometown areas to search for work. But in today’s world we have to go out and search for the employment we would truly be happy with. It is important to send resumes to larger areas where the PR or marketing field is more prosperous. I plan on relocating to Texas after I graduate, because it is an underrated place for this career field. The most important thing I took from this post is to not be afraid to step out your comfort zone. So thank you!
    Alex Maxam
    Southeast Missouri State University

  12. Thank you for the helpful post. One thing that drew me to PR is the necessity to constantly be out of my comfort zone (I‘m a chronic introvert). I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, and it feels to me that every city has their highs and lows. Being only a tourist, I was wondering if anyone would mind sharing experiences with living in Chicago or Seattle? I will be graduating my undergrad program in December and considering a place to begin my career.

    Lucas Robins
    Southeast Missouri State University

  13. I read this post because my thoughts are the exact opposite. I am looking forward to moving and starting over. I like the idea of going where no one knows your name. It’s like a fresh start for a graduate. A new outlook on life or a “welcome” into the adult world. I do know that for some jobs this might be a disadvantage because some companies like to hire people familiar with the area but I look at it as a challenge or an excuse to explore.
    DC Patrick
    Southeast Missouri State University

  14. I really love the advice presented in this article. I have always been a homebody and have always had a desire to stay in my hometown. However, this article helped me realize that I may have to branch out and when I do there are so many things to not be afraid of.

  15. This post is very helpful to me. I plan on graduating in December and I’ve always been nervous about when or where I would find a job. I grew up being very cl

  16. This post is very helpful to me. I plan on graduating in December and I’ve always been nervous about when or where I would find a job. I grew up being very close with my family so I think moving would prove to be difficult, but if I have to go where the hats are I think I would definitely have to make the move. The next fear would be finding a place and it seems like you have that pretty well covered here. It is safe to say tht I would be much more comfortable making a major move after reading this.

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