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Finding Work in a New Town

Are you moving to a new location without a job? You’re not alone. If your spouse has a accepted a great gig, and you’re traveling in tow, you’ll need to find something for yourself. Or perhaps you’re an adventurous soul who packs up and moves to a new locale before you have a job lined up. Nothing wrong with that. Unless you end up unemployed in a new city for a long time. That would suck.

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Work Camping from an RV

Creative Writing Type A PrintAccording to NBC News more and more people are buying RVs. Their “On the Road Again” story points out that RV purchases are a sign that the economy is rebounding because RVs typically been a discretionary purchase. In other words, retirees and those with deep pockets could afford to buy them and drive them. With gas at $4 a gallon, and those rigs getting 12 MPG average, many find it’s cheaper to drive a car and stay in hotels rather than maintain an RV, when you consider how much use they get, insurance, registration, upkeep, and of course rent at campgrounds if you’re not boon docking.

But over at NPR, the rise of RV Sales and their use paints a more dismal picture. The mid-day program “Here and Now” highlighted the plight of those who can’t afford to retire. These people are  living in RVs and chasing jobs all over the nation. Did you know there is an underground workforce that travels from place to place following hiring booms? Amazon loves RV Workampers and hires a lot of them every winter in Nevada at their distribution site during the busy holiday shopping season. The fact that workers show up with their own housing, and leave when the surge is over is a benefit to companies. As for the workers, maybe not so much. These are not full-time jobs with benefits. And because workers cross state lines, there’s the health insurance issue they have to deal with.

There are many people who dream of a life on the road. A way to see the country, pick up some work along the way, and live on their own terms. The website “Cheap RV Living” offers a glimpse on what it’s like to live in an RV and find work across the country. And over at they chastise NPR’s Here and Now for only presenting one side of the story in their blog: “Not all Workampers are Old, Broke, and Destitute.”

Of course, you don’t have to pick up minimum wage jobs if you’re working out of an RV. If you’re an expert, consultant, writer, or do outside sales, you can also make a decent living from the road. It all depends on how good you are with networking, and finding temporary work in your field. Thankfully there is a network of like-minded people to offer up advice.


Blog Relocation Uncategorized

Relocating for a New Job

It’s been said that the way to become a pro at any task is to do it, over and over and over again. There is no short cut to repetition and experience. At 1st Rate Resumes, we are experts when it comes to relocating for a new job. Over the past 10 years, we’ve moved 5 times back and forth across the country, and now we’re on the move again.

Effective September 3, 2012, 1st Rate Resumes will be in the First State. Over the past 4 weeks, we’ve been pounding the pavement looking for housing, and getting settled into our new digs. We expect to be back in service by September 10th. If you need a resume before that date, contact us, and we’ll refer you to a qualified and highly respected colleague. Thanks for your patience. We look forward to working with you.

Check out my tips on relocating for your next job.

Blog job search Relocation Uncategorized

The Job Search is Tax Deductible

Well, maybe. It depends on where you are in your career. I spoke to a CPA this past week and learned the following about tax deductions regarding your search.

1. You can’t be just graduating college and launching your career. That is not tax-deductible

2.  You can’t be changing careers. You can deduct classes as they pertain to what you’re doing now, but if you want a new occupation, you’re on your own.

3.  If you’ve been unemployed for a very long time, such as a stay-at-home mom, then educational expenses are not deductible.

4.  You can deduct mileage to and from job interview or any un-reimbursed expenses, such as airfare.

5.  You need to itemize in order to get the deductions and you have to meet a minimum. For example, if you make $30K a year, you need to have at least $600 in order for your expenses to be deductible.

6.  Resume preparation services ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Blog Relocation Uncategorized

Moving Tips

I’ve moved back and forth across the country with a big German shepherd dog and up to 2 cats. This included my spouse, who drove the moving van that towed our second vehicle, while I follow behind in car. We’ve also used car transport services ($900) to move the car for us on a carrier.

We have a strategy that has improved the comfort level of our pets, (they cringe whenever they see us packing up boxes now) and makes the move as smooth as possible.

1. We purchased two-way radios so we can communicate without having to dial up cell phones, etc. This is much safer, and cheaper too since there is no charge for minutes. The pair of radios runs anywhere from $50-$100 depending on brand and quality. We recharge them every night in the hotel room. It’s a God send especially when driving through major cities, because I can help the moving van move to another lane easily, and he can alert me to a major traffic jam ahead because he has a better view.

2. The cat stays in a carrier (no food or water in the morning) and the dog rides in the moving van for a good view out the window.

3. We stop at almost every rest area to stretch legs and give the pooch a walk. Always find a shady area to park where ever possible. We eat at rest areas so the animals don’t have to stay in the car unattended on a hot day.

4. Ours is a cat that likes the great outdoors, so we have to be especially careful she doesn’t escape the car or hotel room, even though she has a microchip. I had one little houdini disappear one night, and found him hiding behind a washing machine in the laundry room down the hall from our hotel room. While motels with indoor corridors are a nice luxury, I will admit it’s no fun having to load up luggage, ice chests, and the cat carrier. That’s where a valet cart will be helpful. A ground floor room is best, near the exit door. We actually prefer a room with an exterior door that we can back the car up to. Of course, RV parking is a must if you’re traveling with a moving van. Therefore pull in early (around 3PM) to get the best room and parking location, and give your pets a chance to relax and eat before the journey begins all over again the next day. A parking garage is a nightmare.

5. AAA is an excellent bargain for what you get. Besides the roadside assistance package, you also get great discounts at hotels and restaurants, and I love the Trip-Tik mapping service.

6. Also, if possible, choose a motel/hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast that you can load up on a tray and bring back to the room. Again, it helps your pets feel comfortable that you are spending time with them during the move and not abandoning them.

Finally, keep collars on your critters with ID and also have them micro-chipped. We use Home Again which runs about $45 at the vet and another $12 for registration with free lifetime updates.

Blog Job Search Advice Relocation Uncategorized

The Fine Art of Relocation

I never planned to move around so much. I’m not in the military, I guess I just have itchy feet. I started out on the east coast as a kid, then I was dragged to Arizona kicking and screaming where I spent my teen and college years. In my 20s I was off to Southern California. Then I did my tour of Denver, San Diego, Cajun Country, back to Colorado, and back to Arizona. It’s as if I’ve come full circle.

Thankfully, I own a business I can take with me, since I operate online and 99% of my clientele is long distance (most found me from cities where I used to live.) I learned a lot about moving and the job search throughout all these relocations that I thought I’d share, just in case you need to move for a job.

First, employers are skeptical about hiring people without roots. I know, because my own resume would scare anyone. Truth is, you really don’t know if you like a town until you’ve been there at least 6 months. And let’s face it, if you don’t like your new surroundings, chances are you’ll be gone within a year leaving the employer in a lurch to replace you, and that costs them money. Anything can cause you to hate your new surroundings, whether it’s the weather, the political atmosphere, stupid residents, the economy, cost of living, ugly landscape, or lack of things to do. For me it was bad roller rinks, or no roller rinks.

The second thing I learned is study everything you can about the place before deciding to move. Not only can you read local newspapers online (I peruse the letters to the editor) but gives excellent insight on demographic breakdowns, weather patterns, housing, schools, major employers, etc. And they offer a forum where you can ask questions and post opinions about a certain locale. After all, one thing you can’t find on is how noisy an area of town is (train whistles at 4 am?) or if there’s a seasonal weird odor such as sugar cane burning. Arizona allergies make me miserable every year between Easter and Mother’s Day. And in some parts of the country, the wind blows non-stop during the winter months.

The third thing I learned is to maintain an account with a major bank. It’s far easier to change an address than it is to open a new account. Other things to keep in mind: you’ll need to find new service providers for things you can’t accomplish on line. That means finding a new mechanic you can trust, a dentist you like, a veterinarian for your pets, a favorite grocery store, and of course restaurants. Chipotle and In and Out Burger have not made it to every city yet. Oh, and finding your way around and pronouncing local names can also be a challenge. My number one priority is a nice indoor roller rink, and that’s the reason behind most of my moves as of late. They keep shutting down.

In a future blog, I’ll tell you some secrets of moving cross-country with pets, especially if you’re transporting more than one vehicle.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

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Job Searching in a New Town

I’ve moved around a lot bit during my lifetime and racked up quite a bit of experience on how to find a new job in a strange town. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. In a slow economy, many employers are not willing to pay for relocation expenses, so plan on paying for your own move. Mention in your cover letter you are already planning on relocation and give the reason. I found that if you have family living in your new town, or are returning home, you have a much better shot at getting noticed.

2. Read the local newspapers online, especially the editorial page to get a feel for the culture and collective mindset. Employers want to make sure you will fit in, and not move away 6 months after they hire you because you discover you hate the place.

3. If you’re moving to a big city, look at major online career sites such as and Also, don’t rule out Craigslist, which has some excellent opportunities throughout the country.

4. Find out what the average salary is for your occupation by searching, as well as your local government page, that should list census information and the median home value as well as salary info.

5. If your seeking to buy a home, utilize, a free site that evaluates the listing price and comps of recent sales of more than 60 million homes throughout the United States. I’ve seen FSBOs (for sale by owner) listed at thousands more than the zillow valuation. If you’re not aware of the area’s average value, you might end up paying too much.

6. Once you get settled, start networking immediately, with local clubs such as Toastmasters, the Chamber of Commerce, and organizations that share your interest. Many communities even have local job search clubs.

7. Have enough money set aside for at least 3 months rent and living expenses while you get settled.

Good luck in your move and your new endeavors!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes