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How To Land a Job in the City of Your Choice

You know where you want to live, now you need to land a job there.  There are many reasons a city may call to you; family, climate, culture or just an overall appeal.  How do you go about getting a job in the city of your choice?

Guest writer Dan Calonge offers his personal experience of pursuing a job in Cincinnati to be closer to family.  It takes a concerted effort, but as Dan has proven, diligence can win you a job in your ideal city.

I Know the City, Now to Find a Job

I grew up in Ohio, but after graduation, I had the yearning to explore the world beyond. I left Ohio for 22-years of growth and learning.  I lived in Ann Arbor, Austin, Miami and Seattle, working for a variety of large high tech companies.

I speak fluent Spanish, so I spent a number of years traveling throughout Latin America (learning Portuguese in the process) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had a great experience all around, but eventually, my heart was pulled back to Ohio.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to live in Cincinnati, near family?”

I knew I wanted to make the move.  I picked my city and now it was time to find a job. No matter what your reason for moving is, I recommend the following steps for landing your next job.

Making the Transition

Some strategies were more effective than others, but here are the few that really stand out:

  1. Meet with People

I cannot overstate how much of an impact talking to people can have.  My rolodex in Cincinnati was tiny at first, but I did have a great start in talking to some connected people.  I started with a few names, went to meet with them all and worked my way out from there.  In total, I ended up meeting with around 25 people… one-on-one.

  1. Meet in Person

This one was huge.  In this day of instant collaboration, we are used to making calls and talking via video.  Anyone can do this, but it’s the rare person who will fly across the country to meet in person.  That shows serious determination and earns the attention of anyone you’d like to meet.

I flew to Cincinnati about 8 times in one year.  Some of those trips were tied to holidays and such, but most were just to meet with people.  I often arranged as many individual meetings as possible in a three-day period.  It is expensive, takes time and uses up valuable vacation.  However, nothing shows you are serious like showing up in person.

  1. Be Flexible

I wasn’t picky with who I met with.  If you’re interested in the non-profit sector, don’t rule out talking to a connection with a bank.  Why?  Because you never know who she may be connected to.

At almost every turn, I met with someone who said, “you know, you have an interesting story.  I know someone that you should talk to.”  Many of these conversations will end up in further connections, but all you need is for one to pan out.

I also considered opportunities that I thought were ‘outside my comfort zone.’  My career had been spent with large multinationals, but the chance to join a local organization was really exciting.  You never know if a certain opportunity will turn into something you never imagined.

Cincinnati may not have the scale of opportunities as larger markets like Chicago or New York, but there are opportunities nonetheless.  For instance, you may be able to fill a more senior role that perhaps you didn’t have access to in your current city, or may you get to work on greater cross-section of topics.  Keep an open mind.

  1. Be Patient

I would love to say that it took me just a few months to make this happen, but the truth is that it didn’t.  I was earnestly focused on this for one year before I finally connected with an organization that could use my help.  There’s really no shortcut to it.  You may get lucky in a few months or it may take longer than a year.

At some point you will be frustrated, as it may take longer than you had hoped, but keeping your eye on the prize is what you need to do.  There’s a quote that I often referred to for inspiration: “A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”

It turns out that a contact of a contact forwarded my resume to a previous employer.  Turns out that they liked what they saw and, with some discussion, I ended up joining Cincinnati Bell to help lead a transition in their business marketing strategy.  I would never have guessed that this is how it would have worked, but then again not much in life is certain anyway.

Relocating anywhere is a big step and I hope that these thoughts have helped you plan your strategy.

We appreciate Dan’s insight and tips, knowing that a job search can be challenging, especially when you limit it to a specific city.  It’s refreshing to hear Dan’s first-hand experience that it is possible to land a job in the city of your choice.