Some people just want to go, go, go. Especially when it comes to their careers.
Maybe you just graduated college and dream of finding a job in a big city, or you could use a change of pace and want to work abroad. Maybe there just doesn’t seem to be enough appealing job opportunities where you live.
Whatever the reason, plenty of job seekers want to find their next gig in a faraway place—in another city, another state, or even another country.
While a cross-country (or globe) search can seem daunting, these five professionals prove that it’s definitely possible. Each one of them ventured to a new place to begin a new career—and their stories just might give you the inspiration to do the same.
1. Alexandra Kramer
Customer Service Associate, Knot Standard
Alexandra Kramer was sure of two things when she graduated from the University of Florida: She wanted a people-centered job, and she wanted that job to be in New York.
Why New York? “I just feel like it’s a great place to start your career,” she shares. So she started looking at startup companies, drawn to the idea that in that kind of role, she’d gain a ton of great experience and develop a multitude of new skills.
And while her degree is actually in PR, she was confident that it’d help her in any position. “You can use all the skills you gain from a degree in PR… in any type of job you want. It’s really versatile!” That, along with her people-oriented personality, made her the perfect fit for a customer service position at custom clothing platform Knot Standard. There, she works directly with the company’s customers, helping them over the phone, via email, and face-to-face in the showroom—all in her dream city.
2. Susan Hinton
Senior Front-End Developer, Zappos
Susan Hinton first discovered multimedia in a community college course in Melbourne, Australia, where she was exposed to video, photography, sound production, and 3D modeling. “More than anything, it honed in my interest on computer programming,” she shares—which spurred her to start teaching herself both front-end and back-end languages after graduating.
After working a few jobs in Australia, she heard that Zappos was hiring front-end developers. “I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to come to Las Vegas,” she remembers. She didn’t have any contacts at the company, but blindly sent off her resume, anyway—along with a unique stop-motion cover letter video. “I think it got their attention, because I got a call back, and after lots of interviews and coding challenges on Skype, I finally flew over there for an interview.”
And that long plane flight wasn’t in vain—she landed the gig and serves as a great example for other cross-continental job seekers. “The recruiting process was awesome,” she shares, “because even though I wasn’t in the same country, they were still willing to give me a go.”
3. Paul Iliya
Chief Commercial Officer, iCracked
Coming from a family of doctors, Paul Iliya thought he wanted to follow in their footsteps—“until I went to college and realized that definitely wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he admits. Instead, he studied English and economics and started a teaching career in Austin.
That is, until about a year ago, when the founders of iCracked came out to Austin. They all met up to talk over a couple of beers, and convinced Iliya to move to Redwood Shores, California to join the company. “I’ve been out here ever since and I haven’t looked back,” he shares. (After checking out iCracked’s waterfront office, complete with a communal dock and boat, we don’t blame him.)
As the company’s chief commercial officer, Iliya is constantly developing new products and services, including the new buyback and redistribution programs—but he also gets to work closely with the customer service, communications, and sales teams.
4. Markus Spiering
Head of Product, Flickr
Markus Spiering may have trained as an architect—but one of his first career moves was founding a mobile software distribution startup in Berlin, Germany. Shortly after, he relocated to California to join the team at Yahoo, where he learned about a photo sharing service called Flickr.
Inspired by a friend who penned a book about a similar (but subpar, according to Spiering) sharing service, Spiering published a book about Flickr, called—fittingly—Das Flickr-Buch. And when a position opened up in the company’s San Francisco office, he landed an interview and brought a key influential factor: that book. “I think it helped the process,” he laughs. And it must have done just that—because he got the job.
Now, Spiering collaborates with product managers, engineers, marketing, and legal to oversee successful product launches. One of his favorite parts of the gig? Even though he’s based in SF, “Flickr is a global product. We have users all over the world, and we have employees all over the world."
5. Megan Hurlburt
Communications and Marketing Manager, Venture for America
After graduating with a degree in journalism and communications, Megan Hurlburt was eager to move away from South Carolina and find a job in another part of the country. “I started looking for jobs all over the place, but I really wanted to be in New York City,” she recalls.
She came across the job description for Venture for America when it was only about six months old—and she ended up joining the company in NYC as its fourth employee.
Her role evolved over time, beginning as an executive assistant, then taking on the company’s communications—beefing up its social media and blog presence—adding in some fundraising, and eventually settling into the defined role of marketing and communications.