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Friday, July 9, 2010

entry-level job search with boyfriend

A reader writes:

I'm going into my last year in college, and I'm starting to look for a full-time position for after I graduate in May. My boyfriend is also graduating, and we want to try our hardest to be in the same city. Many of the companies that we are looking at have many locations across the country for new hires, but the company generally assigns one.

When would be a good time to mention the boyfriend as a factor in what city I'd like to be assigned to? My strategy right now is to talk about that if I get an offer, and see if there's any flexibility, but not before. What advice would you have?

I think it's fine to mention during the interview process that you have a preference for City X, but that you're open to considering other locations as well (if indeed you are). Once you have an offer, you can push hard for the location you want. 

On the other hand, if you know that there are only certain locations you're open to, and you're set against the others, there's no reason you should wait to make that clear.

I'd keep the boyfriend out of it though -- you may find employers making assumptions that might not be true, such as, "Oh, she'll just ending up leaving the job to move to be with him."

Really though, you might save yourselves a lot of heartache if you go about this the other way around --agree on a city you both want to move to, and then base your job search around that location. Good luck!

12 comments:

Kim Stiens said...

I agree with AAM, with one caveat. If you guys want to be together, and that's necessary to the job search, just keep applying everywhere, without regard for matching locations.

Ultimately, no offense, but you're not likely to be swarmed with offers in this economic climate. Unless you're in an in-demand field, like you are gonna be a nurse or something, you're gonna be competing against the classes of 2008 and 2009, many of whom haven't gotten the jobs they want and have a year or two of crappy work/volunteering/whatever under their belts that you don't.

So, keeping that in mind, you should also know that you don't really need two incomes to survive. Do what you're doing until one or the other gets an offer, then both of you move, and the other can search in that city. You've got 6 months before student loans come due (and its super easy to get deferments on those anyway), so unless you have kids one full-time income will support the two of you in a meager lifestyle until the other can find a job.

Class factotum said...

When I was looking for a job in Milwaukee from Memphis, I didn't want to tell the recruiter I wanted to move because my then-boyfriend, now-husband lived her. So I didn't have a good answer about why I wanted the job, other than I was unemployed and not in a position to be picky.

I couldn't stand the lying, so I soon started telling them my real reason. Much to my surprise, the recruiters were really happy with the news: They really couldn't understand why someone would just want to move here out of the blue. (Because everyone wants a long, cold winter with icy driveways!)

My point: if one of you gets a job first, the other probably shouldn't be afraid to specify why s/he wants to to be in that city.

Rebecca said...

I lean against mentioning the boyfriend because, for some reason, society requires the piece of paper that says "Marriage Certificate" before your relationship (or any decision you make that involves the relationship) is considered serious and legitimate.

I have definitely seen the same hiring people accept "I'm moving to be with my husband/wife" without any question, and then gossip and snipe about "I'm moving to be with my boyfriend/girlfriend" as if the candidate was dropping everything and changing their life for someone they started sleeping with last week.

KellyK said...

Rebecca has a good point. For some reason, moving to be with a boyfriend seems irresponsible, when people move because of their spouse's jobs all the time. Something vague about "having family in the area" might work. If the boyfriend is worth picking up and moving for, he counts as family in my mind.

Heather said...

I honestly just went through this situation. I agree that whoever gets a job first after applying every where you can is probably the best course of action.

I would also tell the recruiters where your preferences are, but that you are willing to move to other locations. I did that and still got the job!

As long as the two of you are on the same page in your relationship and what is going to happen, everything will work out great.

Anonymous said...

You're a senior in college? So you're what? 21? 22? Boyfriend, schmoyfriend - this is baby stuff. You're decades away from being in a serious enough relationship to make residence and job decisions about someone else. Grow up first!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:18 AM
Decades away? I know people who were married with kids at 19 (and are still happily married with more kids now, at 30). Prolonging adolescence may be more and more common, but it's far from the universal standard. Some people are ready to be adults at 21, even if some people wait until they're 35.

Rebecca said...

And some people never grow up, and do things like be anonymous trolls on comment boards.

Kim Stiens said...

Even if they break up a year from now, this question isn't ultimately about whether or not she should move with her boyfriend, it's about the best way to conduct two nationwide job searches to eventually end up in the same city. That's helpful for many people for many reasons.

Anonymous said...

"Boyfriend" = youth and impermanence

"family" (as in the family we choose, rather than the one we are born with) = stability and commitment.

So I would tell employers that my preference would be certain cities because of family.

KellyK said...

Also to anon @ 9:18, if they want to start their post-college life together, they should. Maybe they won't end up together for the long term, but they'll know that, rather than ten years later wondering what would've happened if they hadn't taken jobs across the country from each other and lost touch.

And seriously? "Decades away"? As in more than one decade...so people aren't ready to make real-life decisions until 40, when a lot of them have been married for a decade or more already, often with a kid or three?

I find this extra ironic because today my husband and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. We got engaged at the tender ages of 22 and 23 (having been dating for a couple years at that point), and I moved to Maryland (from PA) to be with him. I'm incredibly, incredibly glad that I did.

This isn't to say that every pair of college sweethearts is going to live happily ever after--or even that Mr.K and I have made it to happy ever after yet. But it's silly to say you're "too young" to try to wind up living in the same place as your significant other.

~Mary said...

My boyfriend of a couple years and I are going through the same situation right now. Graduates, and trying to find work in the same city, while trying our best not to compromise our opportunities.

We both want to stay in our hometown, but agreed on 3 or 4 other areas that had potential for both of us, that we wouldnt mind moving to. He also found a posting outside our selections, and after discussing it, applied to that as well (which led me to begin looking in that area just in case!)

Bottom line - keep applying where YOU want to. He can always get a temp retail job once you get there until he finds a job as well. Use the "family nearby" excuse if you feel the need to bring up reasons for being in certain places in the interview. I agree with another poster about the term "boyfriend" seeming immature and gossipy - - sad, but true.

If they want you, they'll work with you. Especially if there is an office nearby and your job doesn't require you to be at a certain location. Companies with many offices may have great telecommunication setups for this exact purpose.