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Old 09-04-2009, 07:28 AM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
Although I believe that some of the income levels people have posted are a bit of a stretch I'm willing to go with it for budgeting purposes....

What areas within the Arlington, Alexandria, Reston, Tyson's Corner, etc are "good" areas for a single mom and her child. I can figure something out with daycares considering I do get some form of child support but I'd like to know exactly what areas to keep in mind to get a better grasp of rental prices since I do not intend on buying a home for at least a few years.
Opinions on an "acceptable" salary will always be subjective... but FWIW here's mine.

When I moved to NOVA, I accepted a job that had more or less the same responsibilities as I had with a similar gig in Philadelphia. My salary went up by 15%. I moved with my SO into an apartment complex in a convenient if unglamorous part of the Alexandria section of Fairfax County (as opposed to the City of Alexandria). If I had moved in on my own, my salary increase would have been cancelled out by paying full rent and utilities.

If you're coming from Atlanta, I would guesstimate a 15-20% salary increase for a similar position. There are salary calculators online that can probably give you a more accurate figure.

It seems like your priorities are a relatively affordable town that is reasonably safe with good-to-great schools that would also be convenient to the usual job centers. You may know by now that the majority of job growth is not in DC but in NOVA, particularly in places like Tysons Corner and the Dulles Tech Corridor. If you play those odds, then living in Alexandria or Arlington would be an expensive gamble for your purposes. Places like Reston, Herndon, Sterling and Ashburn would be a good starting point. Good luck to you!
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,118 times
Reputation: 10
I'm looking into all area of NOVA so I can be open to more possibilities. My priorities are pretty much what you listed except, I'm not worried about school districts right now since my son is almost 3 and can't even start pre-k until 2011 or so since he has a late birthday (December).

Here's what I've come up with...please interrupt at any point...
I'm going to apply for jobs in the NOVA area until I'm basically blue in the face while at the same time, newtwork if possible. If and when I receive some sort of lead or offer, I will find a sublease for temporary purposes until a steady paycheck starts to come through. As for a babysitter, I'm hoping to find a person to watch my son, if the price is right and their background check & references check out. I'm kind of hoping to land a job and somewhere to rent within an area where I can use public transportation to cut some expenses with commuting and whatnot. If I have to post an add for a roommate at some point to help with expenses, I'm not oppose to that idea whatsoever. I'm doing extensive research of the area to make sure I do not make an hasty decisions involving my son.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:17 AM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
I'm looking into all area of NOVA so I can be open to more possibilities. My priorities are pretty much what you listed except, I'm not worried about school districts right now since my son is almost 3 and can't even start pre-k until 2011 or so since he has a late birthday (December).

Here's what I've come up with...please interrupt at any point...
I'm going to apply for jobs in the NOVA area until I'm basically blue in the face while at the same time, newtwork if possible. If and when I receive some sort of lead or offer, I will find a sublease for temporary purposes until a steady paycheck starts to come through. As for a babysitter, I'm hoping to find a person to watch my son, if the price is right and their background check & references check out. I'm kind of hoping to land a job and somewhere to rent within an area where I can use public transportation to cut some expenses with commuting and whatnot. If I have to post an add for a roommate at some point to help with expenses, I'm not oppose to that idea whatsoever. I'm doing extensive research of the area to make sure I do not make an hasty decisions involving my son.
Even though this area has a more resilient job market than most these days, I'd be hesitant to come up here with anything less than an year-long opportunity. That's just my opinion though; others' mileage may vary.

Despite concerns about how mass transit is keeping up with sprawl here, it's better than many regions. That said, those areas within a mile or so of Metrorail tend to be more expensive than comparable neighborhoods further out. So for affordability's sake, you may find yourself on the one of the many people utilizing the various bus systems, possibly transferring to a train or another bus.

One housing option to consider might be to rent a basement apartment in someone's home. It's a popular option for homeowners looking to for cushion with their high mortgages and renters looking to pay less than what typical apartment complexes demand.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:32 AM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,118 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks. I've actually been looking into basement apartments as a possibility. I do plan on moving to the area and staying for over a year, I was just simply saying I would be open to the idea of a roommate for about a year. This is going to be a tricky move but I'm sure there are more single parents than one thinks... and with a very stict budget and proper research/planning I can accomplish it. I was extremely shocked to find out the salary range there for plain admin. work so I have to up the stakes with my education and shoot for something higher.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:38 AM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
Reputation: 2588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
Thanks. I've actually been looking into basement apartments as a possibility. I do plan on moving to the area and staying for over a year, I was just simply saying I would be open to the idea of a roommate for about a year. This is going to be a tricky move but I'm sure there are more single parents than one thinks... and with a very stict budget and proper research/planning I can accomplish it. I was extremely shocked to find out the salary range there for plain admin. work so I have to up the stakes with my education and shoot for something higher.
Great! I just wanted to give my layman's advice on how financially prepared you should be upon arrival.

Although I don't recall seeing many threads here about single parents banding together in housing, I would not be surprised either if it were a popular plan here.

Are you saying that the difference in salary for in admin. work wasn't as high as you expected?
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:04 AM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,118 times
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Oh yes...An admin salary there is comparable to that where I currently live, which is a joke. I live in West Central GA currently and GA isn't doing well at all as far as the economy goes. I've been looking at numerous companies to get a feel for salaries for various positions. The only reason I'm looking into Admin. work is because I have a great deal of experience but i definitely don't want to under-sell myself with that type of career. I have a Finance degree so now I'm looking into positions that require a degree which I'm hoping (and crossing my fingers) that I can possibly start off between 45K-60K. This may be wishful thinking but I'm going to at least attempt, ha. Does that even sound feasible for someone with a finance degree?? Here 30-45K is entry level with a college degree but cost of living is half of that in NOVA.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:17 AM
 
1,326 posts, read 2,688,230 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneyBlu View Post
ChristineVA, what you wrote above really caught my eye. I don't want to hijack the thread, but I'd love to hear more of your opinions in finding a job in defense for people who are not already in the field. And if anyone else out there has knowledge of the hiring process with defense contractors, please jump in!

Specifically, do you feel that having to know someone to get hired is true of all departments with defense contractors?

I ask because I recently interviewed for a public relations position with a defense contractor that I was a VERY unique fit for. I have a long history in PR and I had every last thing in the job description, including skills in a particular language that not many people speak (and a lot of experience in that country)...yet, I have almost no experience in defense and know no one in the industry.

I felt like I had a great shot until I read your post. Is it a lost cause? And, if so, how does one get their foot in the door?

Again, I don't want to hijack the thread, but perhaps the OP will find the same info useful. Thanks!
As an HR person in the defense industry I can speak with a little bit of knowledge here. As to not being able to "get" in without knowing somebody, not necessarily true, but as with any industry it sure doesn't hurt. What makes it appear impossible is the fact that those that do get the jobs seem to come from within defense, two reasons - around here that is a huge employment base and who can blame the company for hiring someone who already speaks the language...so to speak.

I guarantee that all hiring with major companies is done above board. Some companies go thru recruiting centers which handle all interactions with future employees, eliminating the nepotism that can happen without safeguards in place. That said having discussions with future employers met through friends etc is classic networking. It allows you to find out when a job is posted, as they often are only for short times. It therefore appears that they "knew" someone, which they did, but someone else does the hiring, makes sure that person matches etc.

Of course there are those that get in that shouldn't be there..

As for the PR position, that is a unique field within Defense, as you are actually using techniques/technology etc that aren't unique to Defense. Does that make sense? I think you stand as good a chance as anyone, and in some cases perhaps better, depending on the company's history with past PR people. They may need change!

BUT the second reason...and this is a big BUT - the number one reason someone might get a job here over you...Security Clearance. Trust me, as having hired people (even with past clearances) that we had to sit on for a year...couldn't fire because their paperwork got caught up in a snafu...

Having an up to date clearance...all other things being equal...I'm going with the guy with the clearance.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:30 AM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
Reputation: 2588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
Oh yes...An admin salary there is comparable to that where I currently live, which is a joke. I live in West Central GA currently and GA isn't doing well at all as far as the economy goes. I've been looking at numerous companies to get a feel for salaries for various positions. The only reason I'm looking into Admin. work is because I have a great deal of experience but i definitely don't want to under-sell myself with that type of career. I have a Finance degree so now I'm looking into positions that require a degree which I'm hoping (and crossing my fingers) that I can possibly start off between 45K-60K. This may be wishful thinking but I'm going to at least attempt, ha. Does that even sound feasible for someone with a finance degree?? Here 30-45K is entry level with a college degree but cost of living is half of that in NOVA.
Wow, that is surprising to read that the admin. salaries here aren't much different than where you are. Finance is such a broad field that it would be hard to be specific - even if I were an HR professional like slduvall - but I would think there would be jobs available in your salary range at a certain level of experience.

I guess the next thing I could suggest is to send your resume to some local recruiters and ask for a phone interview to gauge what "market value" would be around here. Robert Half/Office Team may be a good place to start.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,118 times
Reputation: 10
When you say local recruiters...do you mean temp agencies? I know that seems like a stupid question but I'm not familiar with recruiters whatsoever. I also looked Robert Half and theres a few different companies that go by that name... I appreciate the advice thus far. My stress level is decreasing the more I speak to people that are from the area and can give some insight on things I might not necessarily take into consideration.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:12 PM
 
1,326 posts, read 2,688,230 times
Reputation: 992
I was going to add that with good admin experience it would be easy to get at least $40K in this area. If you are willing to go into DC and have executive type experience $50+K. I would stick with applying for positions that have a range above $35K, as that will be the lower offer. Say $45 - 60K If you get no bites, then you know your experience doens't warrent it. Definitly talk to the recruiting firms, and since you have a finance background, stick with those firms. Admin is the way in, but you need to sell yourself to someone who will buy the other experience as well, or you are wasting your time and potential for advancement.

The temp firms are immediate hire, they are less likely to talk to you before you get here. Which make it hard to get a committment.
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