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Travel

How to Move Across the Country with No Job

In 2017, I moved from Rhode Island to Los Angeles, California – with absolutely no job lined up. With some planning and hard work on the ground, it all turned out all right. Here is how I did it and how you can, too!


It was June 2017, and I suddenly realized something: I was going to move to Los Angeles, California. From Rhode Island, no less. Yup, that was it.

Family members questioned why I had to move so far away, but I was fresh out of college and desperate to work in the film/TV industry. I also wanted the biggest apartment I could get with my impending low wages, so I was drawn to LA as if it were some palm-treed, sunny-all-the-time magnet.

The only thing was… I didn’t have a job lined up. I was going to wing it and hope for the best. And guess what? It all worked out just fine. Here are the steps I took to make that happen.

STEP 1: BOOK YOUR FLIGHT 

This one should go without saying. But here is your reminder to do it. Just do it.

STEP 2: GET AN APARTMENT LINED UP… KIND OF 

Once I decided that I wasn’t going to do anything else but move to LA, I figured I needed a place to live when I got there. Turns out, Facebook is home to (no pun intended) thousands of housing groups wherein young people are posting open rooms in their apartments. All it took was one post in a couple different LA housing groups for me to find a good-looking apartment at a good price in a nice part of town.

However, the one thing I will strongly caution against at this part of your move is signing a year-long lease remotely, as you haven’t seen the place in-person yet. What documents you should sign at this stage are month-to-month rental agreements, roommate agreements or any other kind of agreement that would allow you to leave the place so long as you give a 30-day notice.

The last thing you want in a new city is to be stuck with awful roommates, in a disgusting apartment – or worse, both – with no legal ability to get out.

STEP 3: ID YOUR MODE OF TRANSPORT 

Your flight is booked and you have a place to lay your head. Next up: how are you planning on getting around town? Of course, not all cities require you own a car, but in my case, I certainly needed one in Los Angeles.

If you decide you do need a car – and you can’t drive your pre-existing car there, if you have one – you have two solid options. Option number 1 is you ship your car to yourself. The price on this depends on how far your car needs to be shipped. To give you an idea, it would have cost me approximately $1,200 to ship it from Rhode Island to Los Angeles, which is one of the farthest distances a car shipment in America could be.

Or, you can purchase a car when you get to your new city, but what are the odds a car that will work for longer than a year will be cheaper than $1,200? 

STEP 4: FIND YOUR CONNECTOR 

I hate being the one to tell you this but, once you get to your new city, you will need to find some way to pay your bills. The good news is that there are a variety of ways in which you can accomplish this. Food service and retail positions are the classic go-to’s if you are looking for something immediate. Finding something more related to your career path might take a bit more time, but my story is proof that it is possible to land a job in your field when you don’t know a single person in your new city.

All it took was telling one person in my industry (on the East Coast) that I was moving to LA. Luckily, I had done good work for him, so he jumped at the chance to help me “land there on my feet.” He connected me via email with about five industry friends of his in LA, but then it was up to me to make good impressions and prove to them that I was worthy of their job recommendations.

Sure enough, in two weeks, one of these industry folks knew someone who knew someone who needed to fill an assistant position, and he recommended me for it. I fortunately got the job, which allowed me to pay my bills, continue living in LA and – even better – gain a foothold in the film/TV industry.

So, the main question is: do you know anyone in your current area who knows someone in your field in your new area? Do you know anyone who has moved out to your new area? Really wrack your brain on this one and be somewhat shameless in reaching out to these people, as all it takes is knowing one person who can at least help you get your foot in the door.

STEP 5: STAY OPTIMISTIC 

Uprooting yourself from one city to another is a big undertaking if you want to do it right. That’s why it’s imperative you stay optimistic and hopeful, because the stronger you are mentally, the easier it will be to push through the hard times to make this crazy dream of yours into a reality.

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by _mikaylab

My name is Mikayla; I am a writer and filmmaker who splits her time between LA and Rhode Island. I have a Bachelor's degree in Multiplatform Journalism from the University of Maryland, but I love all forms of writing. You can usually catch me wearing joggers, listening to Travis Scott and sipping coffee.


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