That's the only word I can think of to describe my first month in New York. The time has flown by thanks, in a large part, to the sheer amount that has happened in the last 30 days.
For anybody who has been in a similar position, the 3 main questions when you first leave the airport are; 'Where am I going to live?', 'What am I going to do?' and 'Will I enjoy it?!'.
Here's how I got on with all three.
Ten days in, and ten viewings later, I finally found a place that ticked all the boxes. Close to a subway? Check. Nice area? Check. Affordable? Check-ish - let's just say it's not bad for a place 15 minutes from Manhattan.
While I found the place after 10 days, it was another 2 weeks before I could move in. This meant that it was almost a full month of long trips into the city from Westchester - taking between 90 minutes and 2 hours to get to lower Manhattan. In other words, the same length of time from Monaghan to Dublin - I certainly won't miss the commute.
I am now based in Astoria, a lively area in it's own right, and only 15 minutes to mid-town. I haven't had much time yet to check out the local area but so far, so good.
As I write, this is still a work in progress - but progress is the operative word.
Until I had accommodation under the belt, I couldn't properly focus on the job hunt as my time was spent in the housing section of the classifieds as opposed to the job boards. When I did start, I was using a mix of LinkedIn and Indeed to search for roles. There is plenty up there but more often that not it feels like you are submitting your resume into the ether - the response rate is not high. Having said that I have a target for job submissions per day and this contributes a lot to that. It's a numbers game as much as anything.
In conjunction with that I had updated my location on LinkedIn to New York and set my title to 'Actively seeking a new role'. This attracted a lot (of very welcome!) enquiries from recruiters. Most of these roles were a good fit, and one in particular was a great fit but the visa was an issue. Dealing with a recruiter instead of directly with the hiring company makes it more difficult to smooth over these concerns.
Even since before I left in July I had been reaching out to a lot of people in the Irish American community and the digital/marketing sphere in New York. The response from this has been great with many going out of their way to be of assistance - including a resume re-write and plenty of sage advice. I switched on the trial version of LinkedIn Premium at the start of August to give my social networking a further boost (though in truth it makes little difference).
It was only last week when Craigslist was recommended to me as a good source of the type of roles I'm looking for i.e. dealing directly with companies with an immediate need, avoiding getting lost in the Applicant Tracking Systems on the major jobs boards etc. By the end of the day I had my first face-to-face interview set up. Goes to show the importance of working smarter, not harder.
Honestly, I could probably have put this under Fun Stuff.
The first event was 2 days after I arrived - the third Thursday get-together hosted by the IN NYC. It was in a bar near Grand Central called Tuttle's and I was fore-warned that the Irish Network events are on the more social side of networking, and less on the business side.
I was not disappointed. With a free bar for the first hour I quickly got talking to a number of people coming from a variety of sectors, all of whom were either ex-pats or 1st/2nd/3rd generation Irish. It was here I was speaking with a person who had a digital marketing background who invited me to my second event a week later.
This event, a monthly get-together of a group called MOSAIC (bonus points if you can guess what that stands for!), is specifically for those working in the digital marketing / creative space in New York. Again, it was less business networking and more of a social meet-up held in Libation in the Lower East Side. In attendance were plenty of mid and senior level digital marketing people - the ideal audience for me.
The very next night brought my third event hosted by the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue. I finally had my business cards printed which is just as well as this was a much more formal event. Even so it was still a lot of fun with whiskey tasting and beer provided by McSorleys - an Irish American institution. Unfortunately I had to leave early as I was living in Westchester at the time and had to make the last bus!
The second IN NYC was just last night in Tir Na Nog on West 31st street. Again, it was a lot of fun and I got talking to a lot of interesting Irish-Americans as well as some old faces.
Next week MOSAIC are hosting their August event in Central Park. As well as that the Irish business networks will return from their summer break in September so there is plenty more networking ahead!
The free resume critique on Top Resume was pretty useful. While the resulting advice is fairly generic, some of the graphs will give you a good insight into how an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) parses your resume.
A friend recommended a Chrome plugin - Hunter - for tracking down the contact details of people outside your network. I'm sure it gets plenty of abuse by spammers, but if you use it ethically it can be a great way to reach out to a particular hiring manager, for example, and help get your resume to the front of their mind.
All of the cliches about New York are repeated ad nauseum. I have nothing to add - except to confirm that yes, the city lives up to the hype.
I've been kept busy between catching up with family and friends, going to great bars and restaurants in the five boroughs, BBQs, a trip to a rooftop cinema, bottomless brunches, a jazz show, hitting balls at the driving range, Game of Thrones watch parties, rooftop parties in Brooklyn, roaming around Greenwich Village and the High Line in Chelsea. And this doesn't even scratch the surface.
This post has gone on much longer than planned and I need to get back to the job search so there is nothing left to add except sign off and stay tuned for the next one!