Today’s college graduates face an uphill battle to find gainful employment. A May 2012 study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University found that over the last five years, only 51 percent of graduates from a four-year college program held a full-time job.
While employment opportunities for recent graduates with little or no professional experience may be few and far between, a 2012 report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that, while unemployment rates remained high nationwide, 20 metropolitan areas boasted unemployment rates below 5 percent. Such figures are readily available to recent college graduates, who may feel their best bet to begin their careers is to move to a metropolitan area with a low unemployment rate.
The prospect of moving to a new city can be daunting for anyone, and young women are no exception. That move becomes even more intimidating for young women without a job to support them once they arrive in their new homes. Though the transition figures to be somewhat rocky, the following are a few tips for young women considering a move to a new city.
• Research before you start packing.
While the BLS study revealed numerous metropolitan areas that can boast low unemployment rates, that doesn’t mean every major city or those that young people tend to find most desirable are doing so great. Many young college grads dream of moving to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles after graduation. But those cities did not fare as well with regard to job growth as smaller cites like Austin, Texas, and San Jose, Calif. Before packing your bags for a new hometown, do your research to find the best fit for you and your particular degree. Because even if the Big Apple is beckoning, it might not be the place you’re most likely to land a job.
• Determine cost of living.
Many young people, particularly those from rural areas where the cost of living tends to be more affordable, are shocked to learn just how expensive it can be to live in a big city. In an analysis of the rental market in 2012, for example, Citi Habitats, a Manhattan-based rental brokerage firm, found that the average rent in Manhattan was $3,418 per month. Young women looking to move to a metropolitan area should determine the cost of living before making plans to move. Metropolitan areas are seemingly always more expensive than rural or suburban locales, but some metropolitan areas are more reasonable than others.
• Visit before you move.
Many young people harbor romantic notions of the big city. But larger cities, even those that boast low unemployment rates, are not immune to problems. Young women should visit a city before committing to move there. If you have friends or family currently living in a big city, spend a weekend with them and talk to them about everyday life and what you can expect. The better feel you can get for the lifestyle of a given city, the more you will know if that city is what you’re looking for.
• Determine how you will get around.
Few people who live in large metropolitan areas drive to work. In a city such as New York or Chicago, for instance, residents tend to rely on the subway to get to work, and many residents do not even own an automobile. Even people who live in the suburbs of New York City but work within city limits tend to take mass transportation to work. That mass transportation costs extra money, often several hundred dollars per month, is something to consider if you land a job in a metropolitan area but intend to live in the surrounding suburbs where rent is typically cheaper. Consider the cost and reliability of transportation when choosing your next hometown.