So you applied to hundreds of jobs online, but after getting nowhere, you ended up following my advice and booked a trip to the City of dreams. Congratulations! You are now about to enter phase two of the New York job hunt: the part where you network your a$$ off!
Never ever been to Manhattan or any of the five boroughs? The first thing you need is a point of reference to get your networking game on. There must be someone in this town who is somehow related to you: that guy you sat next to in College who always posts pictures of the skyline on Facebook, or your sister’s friend who started her own business here…It’s time to put that six degree of separation theory into practice!
Any occasion can be an excuse to network in New York, that’s why you should never turn down an invite. When I was looking for a job in Paris, I would feel guilty about going out while being broke and unemployed. Well that mentality does not apply to the Big Apple! Just because you’re not attending a professional event doesn’t mean you won’t meet the right people and that they won’t talk about work.
There is an upside to New Yorkers being career freaks: they don’t mind talking business to complete strangers while they are out! If it wasn’t for being at a random party one night, I would have never met the person who introduced me to my current boss. People here are curious about everyone’s story, sometimes for selfish reasons: they may need you one day. Acquaintances in the City are a two-way street, so until you become the person who gives advice, you shouldn’t feel bad about taking some!
I think there is a huge difference between the idea of networking in the US and Europe. New Yorkers will actually keep their word if they say they want to help you. Where I’m from, networking basically means that you were privileged enough to have connections and can use them at any given time. In America, it’s about working hard to make those connections, and it’s considered a real skill.
Contacts are not going to fall out of the sky, you actually have to make the first move, and there are many ways to do so. When I felt like things weren’t coming my way, I went to companies and delivered my resume in person, hoping to be at the right place at the right time. The reactions were very positive: people thought it was daring of me to show up like that, and it did get my resume in the right hands.
Bottom line is; it’s all up to you! If everything goes well, the Network Until You Drop phase should be the last step of your master plan to become a New Yorker. Ready?