What to Pick First – the City or the Job?

As many college seniors will attest, January signals the beginning of go-time. The end of the college bubble is near and that means the end of dorm housing and or parental help. Yeah…it’s kinda scary. But, that’s why we’re here to help!

The first thing to do is to think about how important where you’ll be living is to you. What do you want from your city? If you don’t have a strong preference, if Nashville is equal to San Francisco, you might just want to apply to multiple cities and see which companies bite. Believe it or not, when I was first applying, I was looking at Boston, New York, and Chicago and got a job in Chicago first — and that’s why I ended up there. Having job security definitely trumped choice of city for me, so if money is at all an issue, I’d recommend this strategy.

However, city choice is significant to many people and you should really try to be realistic when thinking about it’s importance to you. Give it a good think. Are you looking to pursue a particular industry that’s city specific? For instance, the entertainment industry? Or, public policy? Do you prefer smaller cities? Larger ones? Where do your friends and family live? My First Apartment has great city guides for New York, Boston, Chicago, and LA, so definitely check them out.

Especially if you’re worried about finding a job, you might want to look at cities with lower rents if you have the option. A good way to compare the cost of living is to play around with a cost of living calculator and CNN has a pretty good one. I also did a post a while back about major cities with cheapest rents.

When I was considering moving to New York from Chicago, I was shocked to find that to live at the same level as my then-current salary of $30,000, I’d need to make $45,000 in New York. Well, between you and me — I don’t. Nope. not even close. And yet. . .I manage. So, if New York is your dream, you’ll find a way to do it. No matter where you want to live, you will find a way to do it — but you might have to give up some amenities, which will be a lot easier to do than you might think.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.