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Moving to DC (directly out of college)

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Since it seems many of you have done it before or are currently working in DC, I thought I'd ask for a bit of advice. I recently graduated from a "top" university with a 3.8+ GPA. Without any job offers attractive enough to make me stay in the Bay Area, I've decided to move to DC to work on or as close as possible to the Hill. My resume is respectable (3 internships, 1 competitive fellowship, research skills, etc), but it's mainly limited to office/research roles. I've decided to make the move in September to take advantage of the vacated positions filled by summer interns. How much money will I need to make the move from California? This is my main issue, I have about two thousand dollars to my name and can not expect any help from parents, relatives, etc. How long should I expect it to take to find a job? Assuming I work as a floater while blanketing CH with my resume and working my connections in DC to find me informational interviews. Do the internal employment listservs really exist? Does anyone know where/how to find them? So, I guess that's my situation. Feel free to dash my dreams et cetera, I'd like to hear it all.
post #2 of 46
I'm not too familiar with the answers to your last two questions as I don't work in the government sector, but you will probably want to look at places in Maryland to live. Prince George's is certainly not the nicest part of the Metro area but as far as I know it's the least expensive. The District itself and Virginia are a bit pricey.
post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
How's public transport to the outer areas? I don't have a car.
post #4 of 46
Why have you never come to the S.F. SF meetups?
post #5 of 46
Can someone explain to me the appeal in moving to DC right out of college with no money so that you have to share some apartment in Virginia and proofread speeches for some jackoff congressman or press releases for a thinktank? Not to belittle you specifically, but at least a half-dozen of my recently graduated friends from college have done the same and I didn't want to put the question to them in that way.
post #6 of 46
Before you leave, get in contact with your alumni and professors from school to address pursuing your career interests and making a move to DC. Your school is very good and should have an excellent alumni network so check with career services. Look for people who are employed in your field of interest and those employed in DC and ask them questions. They will be invaluable in also having contacts when you arrive in town. They could also point you in the right direction in terms of employment opportunities (don't ask for this, but simply ask for advice and they will usually mention any leads if they are aware of any).

If you live in a group house (2-4 roommates) outside DC or in Petworth, Columbia Heights you could certainly get away with spending 500-800 a month. I have some friends living in a large house in downtown Silver Spring, MD (10 miles from DC, very accessible by train) paying around 600 a month. You should start looking at craigslist and padmapper to get an idea of prices for various parts of DC, Montgomery County, MD, and Northern VA (arlington and alexandria). Living in DC is best but until you find a good gig and settle in, it's not the primary concern.

Good luck.

Leftover_salmon: DC is a fantastic city with a lot of young, smart people and tons of intriguing oppotunities. I wouldn't move here broke, but I definitely see the appeal for people with career aspirations that can't be filled elsewhere.
post #7 of 46
Gee, Bay Area to D.C.--get ready for a culture shock. It's not that cool in D.C., but it's getting a little bit better with Obama type people. On the upside we are experencing 99 degree weather this week Rent is very expensive out here (not that is different than the Bay Area). Food is more expensive, I think, than in California. You will need money for a security deposit and, perhaps, first and last months rent. This is a lot of dough. Good neighborhoods to live if you are young are U street, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle. Dupont is the most expensive and gay, U Street (my neighborhood) the most hip and Adams Morgan the drunken party life. For a studio, expect to pay at least $900-$1200. As to moving (I've done cross country trips twice), the cheapest I found was to move stuff via amtrak. They charge by the weight and not by the volume. So ship all of your bedding and other light stuff. I drove my car across country twice and just stuffed all of the heavier stuff in there. You can also try door to door shipping, which is like $1,600 bucks. With your cash, you're going to have some problems. Job market here is better than most places in the country, but it will still take some time. You should try looking right now, consider temping if there is much work and volunteer if you can. Your network is the best bet. Go on as many informational interviews you can--most of them will go nowhere. But I got my job through connections--everyone but the first.
post #8 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodum5 View Post
Leftover_salmon: DC is a fantastic city with a lot of young, smart people and tons of intriguing oppotunities. I wouldn't move here broke, but I definitely see the appeal for people with career aspirations that can't be filled elsewhere.
I do agree that it is a fantastic, fun city filled with smart, young people -- I absolutely loved it when I was there. My skepticism with regard to living/working there right after college has more to do with my hatred of government and what seems to be illusions on the part of young people that they'll be living in a West Wing episode. The whole place is a circle jerk with regard to that (much like L.A. and the "industry" or NY and finance, though at least in the latter, people don't believe they're making a difference in the world). Anyways, I've said my two cents. Don't want to sidetrack the thread further. Now, for a constructive comment: If you're interested in the Hill, get on contacting California congressmen/senators. That would be the first thing I would do if I was from CA.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftover_salmon View Post
I do agree that it is a fantastic, fun city filled with smart, young people -- I absolutely loved it when I was there. My skepticism with regard to living/working there right after college has more to do with my hatred of government and what seems to be illusions on the part of young people that they'll be living in a West Wing episode. The whole place is a circle jerk with regard to that (much like L.A. and the "industry" or NY and finance, though at least in the latter, people don't believe they're making a difference in the world).

Jesus, I know exactly what you mean. I go to college with a couple of these types, but I went to HS with a shit ton of them who all went to American University. It really pisses me off to see these young people who are IN LOVE with the SYSTEM. All they care about is rote knowledge of law and the way things work in DC. They all got started early with Model UN and other youth fake government programs. What happened to being young and passionate about REAL things? How can you become an old, boring, bureaucratic sell-out if you're already there at 19?
post #10 of 46
Ha. I get your point, but working on the Hill answering phone calls is quite the lure when you get off Capitol South metro station and see the giant dome staring down at you. Not to mention the intern with the skin tight, teeny short skirt suit with the plunging neckline wobbling in her 4 inch heels up the escalator infront of you.
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I do have a few connections I can mine, and luckily one of those is a DC OG. I'll definitely start contacting people through my alumni network, oddly I'll have to pay a fee to reactivate since Berkeley deactivates access after graduation. Would any of this be possible to do while living in CA? Or would I have to physically be in DC for interviews, etc? I guess my primary objective would be to find a staff assistant position if that makes a difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
Why have you never come to the S.F. SF meetups?
I almost went to one in November, but research needed to be done for an upcoming project proposal. @leftover_salmon, I generally agree with what you've said. In fact, I've only watched one episode of The West Wing--and I hated it. I fully expect to be working for low wages and living in substandard conditions. But, I genuinely think this is the best way to start my career for a number of reasons. Law school will always loom in the distance whether or not I decided to enroll and working on CH only improves my chances at the big 5. And besides, I would go insane if I accepted the offers I had to work in FiDi SF at some marketing firm. There's only so much psuedo-progressive bullshit I can stand.
Quote:
Gee, Bay Area to D.C.--get ready for a culture shock.
I may have gone to school in Berkeley, but I grew up on the Central Coast. It can be quite "backward" by San Francisco standards.
post #12 of 46
1. Are you taking a car? FedEx your shit via ground and drive your car or fly on a cheap Priceline flight. I have moved coast-to-coast like this for less than $500.

2. It may take weeks, it may take months, it may take a year. In this climate, and in the D.C. bubble, you just never know. I doubt I would move across the country on the hopes that I would land something. Especially with little money and no one to stay with.

3. For your purposes, yes:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11612.html

Most people that I know (I'm from DC and have had 2 Hill-type jobs) get jobs via personal connections/recommendations and networks. But if you're 'cold-calling' the D.C. job scene, the listserve deal may indeed come into play
post #13 of 46
I had what are pretty good connections, at least as good as a fresh-out-of-college type can have, and could not find a job after three months of looking. It's pretty tough.
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
I'm not taking a car. I sold it years ago to pay for my degree. I've read that article, it seems like finding a "list" would be ideal, but I'm not sure how much they played that up. I do have quite good connections--like, people with Rahm Emanual on their recent calls. I'm not sure what even they could do, though, if the job scene is as bad you guys make it sound. My initial plan was to find a floater type job to pay the rent while I sublet some shitty place until I make enough to afford the first month/deposit. All the while, feverishly working my connections and handing out my resume to CH offices until something works. Would that plan work at all, or am I being overly optimistic?
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by ektaylor View Post
How's public transport to the outer areas? I don't have a car.

The Metro is excellent and gives good coverage way far out into the surrounding counties but is not 24 hrs a day. Need to find a young lady to go home with if you're out late.
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