Welcome my friends to my Moving Cross Country series where you'll the find tips and tricks you need to make your move a success. No matter the motivation for your move, there are a few things you should probably consider before moving cross country. Don’t worry! I am not here to lecture you, too. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be lectured. I am here to offer you my thoughts, my own personal experiences and maybe a helpful link or two. So, please continue reading. 🙂
I moved to Southern California from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2011. I followed my beau, The Professor, who had gotten the job “offer you can’t refuse.” I had never, ever lived anywhere but Louisiana. And, as I stated previously, I never thought I would. I never thought I could. But, I could, and I did. Four years later, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go West!
I never thought I would. I never thought I could.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Now, I will say this: your parents are right…about some things. Wait, WHAT? There are some very real considerations you should make before moving cross country. You should probably have an idea of how you plan to pay for this move? Or how you will earn a living when you get there? Do you have a place to stay? What about friends or family to help you get settled? What area of the city are you hoping to live in? Will it be safe?
We didn’t know the answers to all these questions, but we were at least THINKING about and TALKING about these things long before we took the plunge. We prioritized what was most important to us (a source of income, a place to stay) and formed a plan for the rest. But, in the end, the opportunity to "GO" was just too attractive, no matter how unplanned the path. So, we went.
So, what did we do?
We planned, saved and took action. We knew at least five months in advance that we would be moving cross country. We both started saving, cutting costs everywhere we could. I found ways to make extra money by working overtime, selling items I wouldn't take with me and cashing in sick time. I made nearly $1000 selling my furniture and other belongings.
Even though we built up a nice little nest egg, we knew I would need a JOB ASAP. Los Angeles is expensive, y’all. So, I took action immediately. I began searching and applying for jobs well in advance of moving cross country. I used Indeed.com, my favorite site for finding jobs in the helping professions. I also went directly to the websites of agencies and organizations I wanted to work for to search for available positions. I checked back regularly and signed up for email alerts for new listings that matched my keyword searches.
Now, I knew no one would hire me then. Candidates were needed long before I would be available. But, applying forced me to learn the job market, the application processes and the stakeholders in the community. It forced me to brush up my resume and cover letter skills. It really pushed me and my name out there into the Los Angeles job market.
My hard work paid off in the end. I began to get call-backs before we left Louisiana. I even got through to the final round of interviews for a job six weeks before I was scheduled to move. The company’s interest in my skills (despite knowing I wasn't immediately available) really buoyed my confidence and propelled me forward. I had several interviews and multiple job offers within three weeks of arriving, all because I had been proactive.
Ultimately, I was hired within a month after arriving in LA by an organization who approached me. I will never forget getting the email request to interview me for a position they felt I “may be right for.” They emailed after reviewing the resume I had sent several months earlier. In the end, I got my dream job all because of an application I filled out online months before moving cross country!
So, where did we stay when we arrived?
We knew finding a place to live would be tough. Initially we'd have only one salary, so we had to budget with that in mind. We researched the cost of housing in Los Angeles, which helped us target budget-friendly areas. But, we had NO IDEA where I would get a job, which made it difficult to narrow down our housing search. Again, I had done a ton of research about potential employment opportunities, so we at least had an idea of where I might be commuting. Learning the major freeways and thoroughfares also made our search much more efficient. We were able to rule out options and target others based on our research.
Luckily, we had a very gracious friend who opened her home to us while we searched high and low for an affordable place to live in Los Angeles. And, this, my friends, was no easy task. We spent countless hours looking for a safe, affordable apartment online. We searched Craig’s List, local classifieds and sites like Westside Rentals. We scouted, toured and applied. We waited, sometimes very impatiently, for word. I am convinced that my Shrimp and Corn Soup and my incessant phone calls won over the manager of our first place. Never underestimate the power of good food.
We planned, saved and took action. Click To Tweet
Looking back, I wish we would have known about I’m Moving to LA, a terrific online resource guide about, well, moving to LA. Not moving to LA? Be sure to check out your new city’s official website. Many times there are great resources or launching pads to help you get a plan in place before moving cross country.
So, what did we learn?
I can only speak for myself, but I can truly say that moving cross country has taught me so much about life, living and myself. Sure, having a plan and knowing the answers to all of those questions (see above) would have been great, but let’s be realistic. In a perfect world, you would have a job already. You would have three months of savings and a sweet new pad. You would have a group of friends waiting to welcome you to your new home. You would have plenty of local knowledge BEFORE stepping foot in your new city. And there would be rainbows and unicorns waiting for you at the city limits sign or airport. Yes, having a plan is ideal, but, take it from me, you don’t have to know all the answers. You have to figure out what is most important to you and focus on solutions to those key problems.
The most important thing I've learned from my move is my own strength. I am more resilient than I ever imagined. LA has taught me that. So, ask yourself this: do you have the emotional fortitude to be separated from all you know by 1000s of miles? And I'm not just talking about your friends and family. I am talking about all you knew about yourself, your culture, and your value base. At some point, your choice to move will shake your foundation. It could be when you least expect it, when you are at your weakest. And, believe it or not, it can be a good thing. Trust me.
What You Should Consider
Moving cross country is hard. It is scary. It is exciting. It takes planning and plenty of action. You will learn a lot about yourself and your own worth. Here are a few key things to remember:
- Be sure to consider all job options and do your research. You may have to compromise before your dream job becomes a reality.
- Map out your short and long-term goals, what you hope to accomplish when you move.
- Start your job search before you go because you never know what you might find or who might find you.
- Save, save, save. Having enough to live on for a few months and for emergency expenses is crucial.
- Polish up your resume and work on cover letters (if applicable); this can make applications a breeze.
- Learn and study your new city. Scouting new digs and new hangouts is much easier if you know where you are and where you are going.
Remember, you can do this. But, you have to plan and be prepared for bumps along the way. Join me, friends. Let's be limitless! Let's eat, explore, romance, write, create and experience together!
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Thanks for all your support. It means the world to me. Until next time my friends!
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