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I found a job posting that I desire. I can't afford rent near enough to commute. Even if I could, I don't have a vehicle, so I can't make the commute.

Is it OK to apply for the job? Should I try to negotiate the first month's rent and/or a vehicle as part of a starting bonus/relocation package? Should I just buy an inexpensive used vehicle?

Am I right that it is foolish to apply for a job without first having a means to get there?

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  • 3
    Lots of people don't own vehicles but get to work every day. Some even use a bicycle.
    – Kilisi
    Jun 20, 2021 at 22:50
  • 1
    Apply, then see what happens. Maybe you can borrow someone's car, use public transit, rent a car, take an Uber, use a bicycle, sleep on someone's couch, work remotely the first month, etc. Where there is a will, there is a way. The only foolish thing is to worry about a negotiation for a job that you haven't even applied to yet. Jun 21, 2021 at 0:41
  • Why is it foolish to apply for a job if you've not worked out transportation or rent details? You can always decline the offer if you can't make it work. I'd say it's foolish to get all that stuff sorted when you don't even know when/where you'll be working. Jun 21, 2021 at 2:26
  • @Gregory Currie I guess it's a double edged sword then. If i already had the car in advance it wouldn't matter where the work is located. I could even sleep on said car.
    – mpo admin
    Jun 21, 2021 at 10:21
  • @mpoadmin If I had to choose, I'd pay for accommodation, and use public transport. Jun 21, 2021 at 10:47

4 Answers 4

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Transportation:

If you can buy a used car as you mentioned, then you can drive to work. This is good enough for the first step.

First Month Rent:

The first month rent can be part of the negotiation for the relocation package. Some companies only pay for the moving expenses while other may pay for both the moving cost and the first month rent.

Thus, you need to discuss that first month rent with the hiring company during the salary negotiation phase.

It is not foolish to apply for a software job without having money in your own pocket to pay for the first month rent. Nevertheless, you should be prepared to buy a used car quickly right after you get the job (unless you want to use public transportation, which may or may not be a good option depending on where you live.)

In addition, you should apply for a job as soon as you feel that you are technically ready. If you apply for a job today, it does not mean that you will get a job tomorrow. In this COVID time, it is likely that you may have to go through many interviews with many companies until a good one hires you. So, the more interviews you have, the more interview experiences you will get, and therefore, you will do better in future interviews.

This answer is for companies in the US.

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  • You will be amazed what concessions renters will make to fill a vacancy. Having a job offer and proving your ability to pay your rent often will go a long way. You just have to ask for concessions, a full term signed lease, is better than an empty apartment.
    – Donald
    Jun 21, 2021 at 2:45
  • @Donald, Thanks for the helpful info. That is true, and good to know. Jun 21, 2021 at 3:46
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You're free to ask for whatever you want.

But the company isn't compelled to ensure you have a mode of transportation to work, and a place to sleep. Some companies may do this, especially if you're moving from overseas.

I recommend you save up money which you apply for jobs, so you can afford rent. You don't want to miss out on an awesome opportunity because they are not able to pay the first month upfront, or give you a relocation fee.

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Rather than asking for money to buy a cheap car and make the initial payments for signing a lease specifically, figure out what you need to meet those needs in advance and just ask for it as a generic signing bonus.

Asking for very specific categories can run into bureaucratic problems where money is only authorized to be paid for X, Y, or Z. A signing bonus OTOH will likely fall under an approved category; which makes it something that hiring managers can approve via their standard discretionary authority. This is especially true if you don't spend your negotiating leverage on other perks instead.

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You are putting the cart MILES in front of the horse here.

Follow these steps:

  1. Apply for the job

  2. Get an interview

  3. Get an offer

  4. If you feel it's a really good offer, ASK if they are willing to provide relocation expenses. It's unlikely that asking will blow up the whole deal.

  5. If you feel like the compensation isn't enough, you can make a counter offer saying that you require X, Y and Z (including relocation expenses), but keep in mind that they may withdraw the original offer after this

Anyways, you are already thinking about steps 4 and 5 when you haven't even completed step 1 yet.

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