Finding a Job in NYC: Tips and What to Expect

I’ve heard it said that New Yorkers are always looking for a new job, a new apartment, and a new partner. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for those things, almost three years after I moved here, that I began to feel sane. I’ll be honest, finding a job in NYC can be tough. I never had to look for a new partner, but I did spend more than a year and a half looking for a new job.


New York’s job market is brutal. While most ambitious women, expect and even encourage challenges, the job search can be tough. So whether you’re new or just moving to New York, or a seasoned veteran, so I’ve compiled a few tips to help you through it.

Manage your Expectations

Finding a job in NYC is a long process – plan for it. A lot of employers in New York are determined to find the perfect fit. Be prepared to go on multiple interviews. For my current job, I went on four interviews and they lasted anywhere between an hour and a half to three hours. In the end, it was worth it. I love my job.

Also, after you go on all of these interviews, be prepared to be let down. Companies receive so many applicants. And with all of the driven, talented, successful people New York attracts, the talent pool is highly competitive.

Get a Damn Website

And no, linkedin doesn’t count. Try to get your name as the domain. At the minimum, this site should have your resume. If you happen to have a blog or other successful online presence, be sure to include it. Now only does a website help you stand out from others in the candidate pool, I think that it shows you take yourself seriously. Visit my post on how to create an online resume and portfolio for tips on how to get started. 

Work your Ass Off

Have a polished online portfolio. If you don’t have one, it’s time to make one, and that might mean finding some type of freelance gig to develop it. You’ll also have to submit multiple applications a day. If you’re unemployed, I think it’s good to show you’re doing something, so consider volunteering, especially if it can help build your portfolio. Be honest with yourself. Are you really working hard at the job search? Try to treat the search itself as a full-time job. It will move things along much quicker.

Network Meaningfully

The job search can really be all about who you know. If you’re new to the city and  don’t know anyone in New York, that’s ok. I was hired for both positions I’ve had based on talent alone, so it’s not impossible. But I also wasted a lot of time trying to network in ways that were absolutely wrong for me. For months, I went to so many networking events and meetup groups for professionals and left completely defeated. The minimum number of attendees at these events was around 50 or 100, it was always at a crowded, loud bar, and I was competing with everyone to get noticed. I’m an introvert, so clearly this was a disaster.

The NYC job search can be all about who you know, so network meaningfully. Click To Tweet

I made much stronger and more meaningful connections when I was in a more relaxed environment, surrounded by people who shared similar interests with me. I volunteered, attended potlucks, and book clubs. At these events, I found people who were genuinely interested in helping with my job search. I often walked away with someone’s email or phone number, but you have to ask for it. Don’t be shy!

If you Need Cash Immediately, Try a Temp Agency

A temp agency may be a good fit if you need to develop your skills or need a job ASAP. You get paid pretty quickly after being hired. Even if you’re employed as a temp, still apply for full-time positions in your field of interest. Temp work is often terrible, with low, hourly wages and no benefits and paid time off.

Don’t get Discouraged (You can do this!)

I know it is so, so tough out there. I remember crying after going on a third interview with an organization, only to be told I was the second choice. I went on so many second and third interviews with companies. It sucks SO much, but everyone in New York knows what it feels like to be looking. It is an incredibly frustrating, stressful, and, frankly, humiliating experience. Keep it up. Take a break when you need to. And try to focus on other things in your life that make you feel empowered and whole.

So, have you ever tried finding a job in NYC? What are your experiences?

P.S. My favorite job search websites are: IndeedHireArtRework, Jobvite, IdealistLinkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *