With so many students graduating from college in the past month, I’ve received a lot of emails and messages about advice I can give about finding a job in NYC. I shared some of these tips on Glitter Guide a few years ago right after I moved here, and now that it has been three years since I graduated (how?!), I wanted to share some updated tips and advice for anyone ready to make the big move!
1) Gain All The Experience You Can
Whether you are a freshman in college or have just graduated, the most important advice I can offer if you are interested in moving to New York is: gain as much experience as you can in your area of interest. The connections you make will help you land a future position. The summer after my freshman year of college, I got an internship at a high-end event planning company in my hometown and continued to intern there for a few summer. While the internship was not exactly in the fashion field, the skills I learned are directly applicable to the fashion and public relations world—managing budgets, multi-tasking and coordinating with many clients and vendors. During undergrad, I also immersed myself in extracurriculars that were relevant to my career path. I joined—and eventually became editor of—the campus fashion magazine, became social chair of my sorority, and interned in New York City at Oscar de la Renta after my junior year. I began interning for Glitter Guide during my senior year of college, and while it was hard to balance school, a social life, an internship and a part-time job, I was constantly learning and honing my time management and multi-tasking skills; two qualities that are important in any field.
2) Start Saving Now
Saving money can be difficult, especially during school when you want to have some money to spend on your social life. During undergrad, I had a part-time job on the weekends, but because I knew my end goal was to move to New York City, I worked hard to save as much as I could. It may sound small, but after adding $10 into my savings account each week, I saved quite a bit of money without really missing it along the way! As graduation approached, I had to make a big decision: Should I stay home for the summer and save a bit more or make the giant leap to New York with barely any money? While I was initially panicked about missing out on potential New York jobs, I am so glad I decided to stay home because it allowed me to focus completely on saving as much money as I could before moving to New York in the fall. When I did move, I was less stressed spending in the city because I had a “cushion” fund. While New York is not cheap by any means, I felt prepared for the months ahead because of the saving I had done. Now three years later, I still try to think in the same mindset of always saving and creating that cushion fund to help make NYC spending a little less painful.
3) Network And Use Your Resources
While having lots of experience is important, using your connections is vital when finding a job in New York. The most valuable tool in finding both my internship and current job was through connecting with other professionals and networking. Do not discount any connections you may have—Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, employers, family friends, etc. I found that even though New York City is big, people are very well-connected across all industries.
4) Don’t Be Afraid To Make The Leap!
The biggest and most rewarding risk of my life thus far was moving to New York City with a one-way ticket and no job. After saving up all summer at home, I was lucky enough to move in with a family friend in NYC for a few months until I got settled. I know it is unlikely that most people have this option, but that’s why saving money is so important. Look into renting a place through Airbnb for a few weeks while you go on interviews and search for an apartment. I found that most employees and landlords like to see that you live in New York already, and so after missing out on some great positions because I was still in Michigan, I scheduled interviews for the day after I moved to New York.
When I first moved here, I got a position that was not my ideal job, but helped to build my skills. I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about a first job is that it needs to be your dream job, and that is so not true. If you work hard, the dream job will come your way. Three months into working and a week after signing a lease for my first apartment, the company I worked for unexpectedly went out of business and I was instantly out of a job. I began to reach out to my connections again to see if there were any available positions that fit my interests and experience. I connected with an acquaintance and soon interviewed for my current job. Before I knew it, this scary unexpected job loss led me to find my dream job, where I still find myself two years later! And that’s exactly how New York is: unpredictable, surprising and at the end of the day, always amazing.
5) Experience Everything And Don’t Be Afraid To Be Alone
Once you find a job and a place to live, the most important thing to do is experience as much as you can! You will constantly be running around here so when you get a minute to do, see or try something for yourself, do it! Moving to a city where you don’t know many people can be terrifying, but here I have never felt more content walking around and experiencing things by myself. It’s the best city to be alone in! Try new restaurants, go to museums, buy Broadway show tickets, and explore new neighborhoods—whatever you want! As you gain new friends and have visitors come to stay with you, you are able to show them all of your new favorite places and things to do. New York City is full of unexpected and incredible things so make sure to give yourself time to try something fun and new as often as you can.