New to New York: 13 tips for shining bright in the Big Apple!

By Simone Turner

Despite the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we hope that one day very soon New York city will be back to ‘normal’: Times Square will buzz again and the city that never sleeps will go back to being its energetic self. We also know that many Australians will continue to move to New York looking for work, so as a recent job hunter myself, I have compiled some top tips for surviving your first few weeks, job hunting and networking.

1. Write a three-month plan

Writing a plan is a great way to make sure you do the things you’ve researched and actually get in touch with people recommended to you when you land in New York. For me, this led to many fruitful meetings and interesting referrals. A plan makes it easier to start networking, make friends, and getting in the groove of the city. Just don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve every single item as scheduled. Moving to a new country is designed to throw everything out of sorts, but having a plan will help keep you focused and moving forward

2. Get a US SIM card

Definitely get a US number within the first few days of landing in New York. Recruiters can’t call you without a local number and it makes life so much easier.

3. Explore all avenues

New York has many ways to look for work. I found the Built in NYC website super helpful for job hunting and salary guides. I also found Bumble Bizz great for networking (where I met a few recruiters), and the members of the many Aussies/Australians in New York Facebook group sometimes posts job openings, so it pays to have your notifications on. Making new contacts in person and then following up by connecting with them on LinkedIn is also a must. Ask your contact if they can kindly introduce you to key contacts they have within the field of work you’re looking in as an introduction through a connection is often better than a cold outreach.

4. Keep your resume to two pages

Two pages is definitely the maximum for resumes in New York. I had to shrink mine down from four pages and remove certain items. If you’re busy before you leave, do this on the plane so you’ll be ready to go when you land!

5. Follow up, follow up, follow up

Call and follow up on all of your job applications. I’ve been slack in the past with this, and although sometimes uncomfortable, it’s a great habit to get into. Recruiters in New York receive thousands of applications and emails per day, so may easily miss yours. Following up could also lead to some helpful feedback too.

6. Exercise and get on the New York time zone

Exercise is so good for the brain, as is getting enough sleep. It took me staying up and awake for an entire night to actually get on New York’s time zone. Once I did and I was doing daily exercise, I felt so much better! This will definitely help boost your mood and keep up your energy.

7. Get out and explore

Get out of your airbnb, hotel, backpackers, or wherever you’re staying as often as you can, even if you really don’t feel like it or it’s cold. You never know who you’ll meet. I met a recruiter on the subway and another at the World Trade Center station. One day while doing job applications at the Moxy Hotel in Times Square, I met a company director who asked me to send through my resume. Getting out of your living space will enable the city to inspire you, and the energy and people to lift you up when you need it.

8. Have down time too

I know I mentioned getting out, but I also believe in knowing when downtime is required. The city itself and job hunting can be exhausting, so make sure you have one or two days per week where you stay local. It helps to recharge.

9. Be kind to yourself

Remind yourself that it hasn’t been that long. Starting a new life in a new country and finding a job takes time, years! Don’t beat yourself up for not having a certain number of interviews and meetings. Instead, list everything you have done and what else you can do in the future.

10. Put yourself out there

Go to things you might not normally go to in Australia. In New York there are so many free comedy nights advertised in the Aussies/Australians in New York Facebook groups, networking events, meetup groups, dinners to make new friends and even fundraising events. Sign up for emails from The Skint for free/cheap options in your neighborhood. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of these events have moved to online or virtual platforms where you can still network and meet new people. I often attended events outside my normal comfort zone, and it paid off by making new friends and contacts for my career.

11. Make new friends

Friends make the journey so much better and you can easily make great ones by attending networking events with the Australian Women in New York or America Josh, and using Bumble BFF to meet and connect with likeminded people. I made wonderful friends at America Josh’s networking events and Bumble BFF, who I know I’ll be friends with for life. Right now America Josh is hosting online Friday night drinks and trivia, which are a fantastic way for people to feel connected right now! You can register here.

12. Feeling uncomfortable sometimes is okay

Know that feeling uncomfortable in the first few weeks is normal. Cry if you need to, forgive yourself, comfort yourself with tea, vent to strangers, but continue to know you are amazing! What you’re doing is not always easy, but it will be worth it. Do what you can control and hand it over to the universe (who has your back) to help you with the rest.

13. Fill up your cup

Fill your cup with every single positive podcast, book or video you can. I recommend watching Lewis Howes’s Chasing Greatness – THE MOVIE (free on YouTube) or reading If you have to cry go outside by Kelly Cutrone. As the saying goes, we can’t pour from an empty cup and you definitely can’t be your best self and look for work, if your mind isn’t nourished.

This essay was written by Simone Turner and is republished with permission.

Simone Turner

Simone became a volunteer with AWNY in February 2020. She is a presenter, marketer and copywriter from Melbourne who can’t wait to come back to New York. Find her on Instagram @simoneaturner or TikTok @simoneadeleturner for content creating tips (and laughs!).

Image credit: Unsplash / Ian Dooley

What are your top tips for shining bright in the Big Apple?

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Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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