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.