Because finding a job is a job.
November 18, 2012 12:47 PM   Subscribe

How can I hit the ground running looking for a job?

In a few months I'm finally making the big cross-country move to Los Angeles; sans job, friendships, or place to live. I'm not concerned about finding an apartment, that will happen relatively quickly. And while I have great savings to live on, I want to find a job ASAP and as soon as I land I want to be on that job hunt.

How can I do this right? First, I won't have a local address, but I will within a week or two. Filling out job apps with an out-of-town address is a big no-no, right? Should I get a PO box or something? Or should I just wait until I get situated to start applying?

My work experience: I have very little of it, although I do have a well-written resume. I used to work in a garden center doing everything, including cashiering, but the bulk of my working (and presently) has been a produce clerk for a super reputable and well-known regional grocery chain.

That would be my ideal job to start out. But I'm going to be looking for any job, really I need full-time but I understand if I have to start out somewhere at 25-30 hours.

If I'm applying to fast food restaurants, I suppose it would make things easier if I got a California food handling certificate before I head out there?

I know I don't have much experience, but what are some good ways to think outside the box here? There has to be some jobs that don't require experience, but aren't your typical food service jobs. I'm thinking warehouse work, jobs for the city/county, and other odd jobs. I don't drive, so no driving jobs.

What about temp agencies? Would it be worth looking into them? I'm just trying to think outside the box here, as I know there are jobs that I qualify for, but just aren't what people think to look for. Which career websites would you recommend to look for these jobs?

I also plan to keep my eye out for hiring signs that I see throughout LA, but anything else I am not thinking of here? Or thoughts on getting those not-so-advertised jobs I mentioned above.

posted by signondiego to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tell everyone you know that you're looking for work. I used to roll my eyes at that whole "networking" thing until I realized that my most successful hiring experiences were gigs that I was told about by friends or family who put in a good word for me with the staff.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 1:11 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Grocery store work is better paying than fast food out here (unionized), so I'd suggest you try to get interviews at markets to start. Just call during off-hours and ask to talk to a manager. The main market chains are Vons, Ralph's and Trader Joe's. And the health food market chains are Whole Foods and Sprouts.

There's also quite a large farmer's market scene in LA, and there might be opportunities helping management or vendors. The biggest one is Hollywood.
posted by Scram at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: TJ's isn't a union shop but is considered a good place to work, as is Costco, and other more specialized chains like Jons, Food4Less, Smart and Final and so on. Do you speak Spanish--lots of places find that to be a plus.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:40 PM on November 18, 2012

A local address is important. Ideally, you'd have one for each part of LA that you are looking so you never seem far from the jobs you are applying for. I have San Fernando, South Bay, and Orange County addresses. I don't live all those places, obviously, but I have friends there.

Take a look at Craigslist jobs. There are some out of the box employers that post there, for sure. You can see how a lot of employers only want local (10 to 15 minute drive) candidates. I would lie and say you have a car (if it is the type of place where they won't be able to tell as long as you are on time). I think there is a definate stigma to not having a car here. It is assumed that you are either weird or poor. I think this will rule out some temp work. How will you be able to get a last minute job and show up an hour later?

Since you want to live close to your work, finding a job first and getting a place second might be a better bet. It would cost you more upfront to have temporary housing, but your quality of life would be better overall if you live a reasonable commute to your job. Plus it would be easier to get a lease/roommate if you already have a job.
posted by Monday at 11:55 PM on November 18, 2012

Best answer: You can get a local address using a Mailboxes Etc. They'll have a street address and a box number.

You can get a burner cell phone or have your current cell number changed to an LA area code.

If you want a grocery store job, go to the web pages of Southern California grocery stores and apply.

Vons, Ralphs, Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc.

Here's a weird site, Careers In Grocery.

According to this site, Sprouts is hiring a metric ton of people. Including produce managers.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:25 AM on November 19, 2012

Best answer: Hey, so I am doing this right now! Like literally I've been in LA for about three weeks and am leaving for a job interview pretty much as soon as I finish typing this advice.

Definitely tell everyone you know that you're looking for work. I have friends back in New York who are all "hey I think I know a guy who lives in LA - send me your resume and I'll forward it to him...?" You probably have friends like these, too.

What field do you hope to eventually work in? If it's entertainment industry by any chance, keep tabs on the UTA job list, and try to join networking google groups like Unemployment Sucks! and Local 0 (actually, I'm not sure if Local 0 is a thing out here, since I'm not part of it, but it's worth a shot). YAK is worth looking into as well, though I think it's more for people who already have entertainment industry experience. I've found two jobs so far through these sorts of listservs in just the past few months, and I'm about to go on an interview for a third.

Temp agencies are definitely worth your while. That's what I did when I moved from New Orleans to New York with little work experience and no prospects, and I was working within two weeks.

While I usually think finding work then an apartment is the best way (so you can live near your work rather than vice versa or having a hellish commute), it did not turn out to be feasible for me. It's just so much easier to find an apartment than it is to find a job, and the consequences of not having the former are so much worse than a lack of the latter. Also, it's very hard to get a job if you don't have a stable base of operations.

I'm in the mega interview phase right now, and I don't know how I'd do it without a place to get a good night's sleep, a hot shower, cook my own food, do laundry, and hang up my nice interview clothes. I wouldn't stress too much about getting a job first. Just be flexible and do what you need to do to make your life work.

I also wouldn't worry overmuch about LA area code on your cell phone. I'm keeping my 917 for the moment and have had no issues on the job front. For the time being, you can say, "Oh, I plan to take care of that really soon but it's not at the top of the priority list quite yet..." and shrug naively. There are also a zillion area codes for the LA area anyway, so I don't think it's as glaring as if you were moving to Cleveland or Santa Fe or something.

What might be more of a concern is a California drivers license, especially if your job might require you to drive or have a clean, legal, and up to date license. Since it's technically illegal not to switch over after some ridiculous amount of time like 10 days. I have not changed mine yet and have been feeling sort of nervous about it and being all "oh it's New York but I'm super about to change it, holiday weekend, busy busy whatcanyadoamirite?" I also find that I get people in stores scrutinizing my out of state DL a lot, and I've been accused of having a fake ID already, which is weird since I'm in my 30's. I can't even imagine what would happen if I got pulled over by the cops.
posted by Sara C. at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2012

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