Building a Professional Network in a New City
September 21, 2022 9:35 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are planning to move cross-country (to Seattle), but I'm struggling with the job application process in a city where I have no contacts. How have you made this work, long-distance?

I’m feeling that landing a job is all about who you know, and I know…very few people in Seattle. So far, applying for jobs—even ones for which I’m well qualified—has felt like spinning my wheels. I'm spending serious time on applications and getting auto-rejections a day later that don't make it seem like they're even really considering me.

So: what next? I think informational interviews are the answer, which feels vulnerable but necessary, but hearing how others have done it would be helpful (and heartening).

Have you successfully made the switch to a new job in a new city? What helped you? (Fwiw: I’m a mid-senior level marketer. Are YOU someone I should chat with?)

(Posting on behalf of Mrs. soonertbone)
posted by soonertbone to Work & Money (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I moved to Seattle two months ago and was having the same results with applications. I had to resort to asking my company to allow me to work remotely. If your job cannot be done remotely, you could try to connect with local staffing agencies or recruiters for your industry on LinkedIn.
posted by lovelygirl at 10:06 AM on September 21

Part of the problem may be that you're applying from far away. If you already have a Seattle address start using it.
posted by mareli at 11:03 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Seconding mareli here.

It'd be worth it to get a Google Voice phone number in a Puget Sound area code, and then have those calls forwarded to your regular phone.

Also, if you are really invested in going to Seattle, and need to submit a physical address? There are virtual mailboxes where you can purchase a POBox, where the address looks like an apartment address, for about $20-30 a month.

Then, put that Google Voice number and virtual mail address on your resume/cover letter.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:20 PM on September 21

I tried to do this 17 years ago during my move to Seattle. It was daunting, but it can be done.

If you are able, I strongly suggest:
* Reaching out to various Seattle-area staffing agencies (e.g. Prime 8, JeffreyM, TERRA Staffing, and yes, UTemp Staffing - University of Washington's staffing service) and sending them your resume and explaining your situation.
* Flying out and actually meeting with some of them, if you can. They get bombarded with applications from around the world - putting a face with a name really, really helps.
* Following mareli's and spinifex23's instructions, if you're able.

I don't know what your career is, but tech, education and healthcare are massive up there - I know, I know, duh. But, there are some wonderful places to work in and around Seattle if you can obtain a good contract role and get a foot in. UW is a great place to work; so is Microsoft. I've heard Apple in Seattle is WONDERFUL. Facebook and Amazon are okay, just know what you're heading into. :)

Send me a memail if you'd like to know anything else! While I am very happy in our new city, I do miss certain aspects of living in Seattle.
posted by theseventhstranger at 1:14 PM on September 21

These jobs are likely local and may think you are trying to make it remote (so many people are applying to jobs across the country that aren't and won't be remote so I suspect there's a filter for non-local people that perhaps there wasn't before). That might be happening if a computer is reading your application without a human intervening. So, if you have a Seattle address, I'd add it. If you don't have a Seattle address, don't use a mailing address at all, or use "Seattle, WA" only without a street address. Or, get a PO box or something. In your letter and email or whatever you are sending, make it clear you are relocating and will be there on X date.

I don't think this is about who you know because so many places are doing so much hiring right now. Let us know how you're handle this location information in case we are all guessing wrong.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:12 PM on September 21

Not Seattle-specific (and not recent, this was in the 10s), but my ex worked in your field and finagled himself a job in the US from the UK after networking with total strangers, exclusively on LinkedIn. (Actually, I’m not active on that platform but have heard it’s now full of noise, don’t know if that strategy would be as successful today. Maybe still for your sector? Also possibly relevant, he did pride himself on his ability to “blag” [bullshit] his way up the ladder (and out of situations), so maybe showing your persuasive and charming side would be a help, too - although, it may be there’s a gendered dimension to the style in which one can go about that successfully, idk). I remember that he joined tons of professional groups on there.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:38 PM on September 21

Best answer: I'm in Seattle, and might be able to help you network with people in marketing in a few different industries. Memail me if you want, and I'll send you my contact info.
posted by Gorgik at 9:03 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It depends on the job but in my experience personal network means a lot when you are job hunting. And it's not just who you know but it's also your secondary network - the people who are known by the people that you know. Informational interviews are a good way to hook up with the second order acquaintances - you not only get the information but also a personal connection that may make them want to be helpful by passing on your resume or telling you about someone else you should talk with. Since you don't know everyone that your friends know, you want to be really public about what you are looking for and see where it leads. If you have any alumni networks, reach out to those folks well.
posted by metahawk at 9:14 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm also local to Seattle and recently hired someone who was moving here. She reached out to me directly on LinkedIn or maybe my company email, and expressed that she wanted to move here and asked me some questions about the position. That put her on my radar and I interviewed her when her application came through a few days later.

I work in the legal field and if that's one you're considering for your marketing skills, memail me!
posted by purple_bird at 1:49 PM on September 22

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