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How to Land a Job in New York

New York City. The Big Apple. The town so nice they named it twice. If television, novels, and movies are to be believed, it’s the centre of the universe. Broadway, Times Square and The Empire State Building. This city never sleeps. As the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

But, if you’re going to make it there, you’ll need a job. And that means conducting an exhaustive job hunt in one of the most dynamic and competitive cities in the world. But approach it correctly, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a gainfully employed New Yorker in no time.

Where to Look

Because of the sheer volume of positions out there, your options are many. There are a lot of temporary, part-time, and full-time positions to be had. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the competition is fierce and cutthroat...everyone wants to live and work in New York.

The solution? Consider taking something part-time or temporary - and perhaps NOT in your chosen field - while you continue to look for your dream job. You have to pay the bills, right?

Recruitment and Staffing Agencies

There are many job recruiters and staffing agencies...just tread carefully. Some are rather unsavory. A few with good reputations online include:

There are countless others. A quick Google search will reveal dozens more, but do some background checking before you select one. A recruitment or staffing agency does involve a fee, but it might be worth it, to help land a job quickly. Be honest and upfront about what you expect and what you are looking for. Agencies will generally require that you submit a resume, and provide two pieces of government ID (as well as proof of employment eligibility - i.e. a work visa - if you are not American).

Classified Ads and Employment Boards

It may seem kind of old-fashioned, but reading the classified (or “want”) ads is still pretty effective. The major newspapers and periodicals all have some kind of section devoted to finding employment, and many employers continue to utilize them to fill positions (especially temporary ones, which as previously mentioned, are a great way to stop the financial bleeding while you look for something permanent and fulfilling).

The chief benefit here is that classifieds usually don’t require any fee on your end, so you save a little money over using a recruitment agency. The downside is that many listings are for undesirable positions with low pay and long hours. It’s best to utilize both recruiters and classifieds to double your chances.

Lastly, you could splurge and hire a headhunter. They work for you directly, and they take a certain percentage of your first year salary as a commission. Expensive? Yes. But they might (not guaranteed, though) be the difference between finding your dream job and finding a job. Timeout New York has a fantastic list of the best headhunters in NYC by industry.

Best New York Industries

NYC is a massive, sprawling, world-class city. Virtually every industry and field is present in some capacity, so your odds of finding something in your chosen career is better than average. That said, there are some areas that are better represented than others. A few of the best New York industries includes:

A Few Final Tips

NYC is tough, but crack its exterior shell and you’ll come to love it. Be determined. Make sure your resume looks incredible - New York has a high standard, and you’ll need to meet its level. The Forbes article on Tips for an Unbeatable Resume has some excellent advice that you should follow. And remember that New York never you’ll likely be working beyond the basic “9 to 5”. Know what you’re getting in to beforehand, pound the pavement AND splurge on a staffing agency or headhunter, and your chances are better than "just" good. 


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