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Thinking about moving to the islands, any suggestions?

 
KevoCleary
(@KevoCleary)
Advanced Member

Hello everyone,
this is my first post on this message board. I am thinking about moving down to the Islands (either St Thomas or St John) and I just have a couple of questions that someone might be able to help me with. I am looking to move down in the beginning of September before the season really starts so that I could get there, settle in, find an apartment and find a job. I have been working in hotels and restaurants my whole life. I double majored in hotel/restaurant management and tourism/event management in Vermont. I graduated last year and have been working as a kitchen supervisor at a Marriott while also instructing a serving class at Champlain College in Vermont since. I have been to the islands four times and I know I want to move down there for at least one season but if I could land a job that I can make a living off of I would love to stay long term. I was going to apply to various restaurants/bars around both islands as well as resorts like the Ritz Carlton, The Westin and the Marriott near Charlotte Amalie. Anyone have suggestions on how to better prepare myself? Are there any websites to look at apartments on either island or a job listing website (besides this one)? I have friends who live in St John and I would love to live near them but it all depends on where i land a job.

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions!
Kevin Cleary 😎

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Topic starter Posted : April 6, 2009 9:32 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

The only STT online rental listings that I know of are in the Island Trader: http://islandtrader.vidaily.com/ Don't rent anything until you've seen it in person. Seasonal jobs will be harder to come by as U.S. economic issues have affected vacation travel.

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Posted : April 6, 2009 10:22 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

If you've been working at a Marriott, can you request a transfer? Otherwise, get your resume done (preferably professionally which is not expensive at all) & before you come, send it to the hotels stating you'll be moving & would like to set up an interview & give them your arrival date. This is rather old-fashioned in this day & age but it really helps: after your interview, write a thank you note to the person you interviewed with. Trust me on this, that's really impressive & will jog their memory about you. Hospitality is all about courtesy & service & this shows them you're really serious. Jobs are hard to come by & every little bit helps. If you can get written letters of reference, that's a big help.

Employers don't want to talk to you until you're here. Good luck.

Edited to add that I meant all the abovve if you're applying at the hotels. If you're just looking for a bartender job in a local watering hole, it can be more casual.

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Posted : April 6, 2009 10:26 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Hands down this is the best website to read, front to end, to prepare yourself for island living. I think it's much better then that book they sale. This is the only other decent site for jobs http://www.career.vi/ . For housing you can also try caribbean craig's list.

If you already work with marriott I would check their website first for job transfers. Since you are already part of the company reaching out to the stt human resource manager by email might not be a bad idea either. But don't reach out to ANY employers unless you have a very firm date of when you will be here. Most won't talk to you at all until you're here and will ignore your resume, but some will look at it if you have a good cover letter with your arrival date.

Best way to do it, is to save up enough cash for two to three months and hit the ground running. Talk to everyone you can about needing a job and a place to stay. Take whatever you can get at first and then as you make more contacts and friends 🙂 you will find the right job. You very very rarely find the right job right off the plane, it takes a while to find your niche here.

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Posted : April 6, 2009 10:33 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

The Tart has reminded me that the Island Trader is no longer available on line, though it is still a free hard copy publication you can pick up next time you're here. It may also be possible, for the cost of postage, to have the publisher mail you a copy: (340) 714-9120 or (340) 714-9131.

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Posted : April 7, 2009 11:00 pm
Ronnie
(@ronnie)
Trusted Member

Island Trader is on line. Didn't you check your link?

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Posted : April 7, 2009 11:35 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Yes Ronnie, I checked the link, and the date, and it was there. However, the Tart saw this thread and sent me a PM stating that it's no longer online, something to do with advertising revenue, so I thought perhaps I was looking at the final online issue. I then passed along the Tart's information on in this thread, giving her full credit, so that should anyone ever bother to read past posts when researching a possible move, they would have current information. I don't know if the online version came, went, and returned, or if it is headed back to hard copy only, and I admit I don't really care. Now you and everyone else knows everything I have heard and done in responding on this thread. All I have left to say is that I wish the Tart could post on this forum so she could share her thoughts under her own "name."

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Posted : April 7, 2009 11:58 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

Trade & Betty both said you may be able to transfer since you already work for the Marriot.
I don`t know ANYTHING about the food/service industry, but I have had two renters here who worked for the Marriot in the states & had contracts with the Marriot to stay for 2 years.
They(Marriot) paid for their car to be transported & personal things(lots of boxes).
None of them made it 2 years, first made it 1.25 years, second left after 1 month!
Both are back in the states.
As a landlord, I don`t answer the calls I get from people working at the Marriot anymore!
I always lease the first day it`s avaiible anyway.
Don

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Posted : April 8, 2009 12:17 am
2fortherock
(@2fortherock)
Active Member

The island trader is on line....I just looked at it...and its up to date....virginislandsdailynews.com on right side mid page is a linke for St thomas island trader...

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Posted : April 8, 2009 12:21 am
KevoCleary
(@KevoCleary)
Advanced Member

Wow, thank you all for the help. It all means a lot to me. I actually asked the president of my company and my bosses for letter of recommendation today and they all said they would gladly write me great ones!! I also talked to the GM of the hotel about transferring to the Marriott of the Ritz and they said it is totally possibly so that is kind of what I am banking on for now. I decided today that I am going to book my ticket for the 27th of August so that by the 1st of September I atleast have an apartment to live in on either St Thomas or St john and then my next course of action will be to land the job. I am totally willing to take on any job offered to me to start but I definitely want to land something that will keep me there and will provide me with a nice living situation (financially speaking) for the time I spend in your "neck of the woods".

Betty, I checked out the careers.vi website but all those jobs' postings were like a year old so I don't really think it's up to date but thanks for the knowledge of it existing. I really have the confidence that once I am there I will be able to live a nice lifestyle while working hard and earning money but at the same time living the laid back lifestyle of the islands. I have just been living in New England for long enough and I feel almost trapped (and way to cold) that I want to try a new lifestyle out for atleast a year or two or possibly more if that's the directions I choose to head in.

If anyone has any other suggestions or know of any apartments/ jobs opening up in the end of summer/ beginning of fall in the eastern side (near red hook area) or in st john I would be open for talking further. I am a very motivated person looking for a change of life and I have been there enough times to know that's where I want to be for the next step in life. 😎 Thanks again for the help!

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2009 1:22 am
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

I think you might have done your search wrong, I just did a search and there were at least 25 job opening on stt for 2009. You have to remember these are small islands there are not many jobs. Our jobs wanted section in out paper is HUGE if it covers 2 or 3 of our small pages.

Be careful if you feel trapped there you will feel it here. There's nothing like rock fever. In new england you can drive and get away. Here you're stuck except for expensive plane tickets.

And remember don't rent anything until you are here and see it in person. Best of Luck.

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Posted : April 8, 2009 2:42 am
Edward
(@Edward)
Trusted Member

Betty is absolutely right: This forum is the best source for information about moving to and living in VI.

I got lots of great tips before my pre-move visit.

The URL for Virgin Islands Daily News is : http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/ (It works, but there are only 5 jobs posted today.)

What to pack? Patience, flexibility, and a good sense of humor. They don't weigh much, and they don't take up much room in your luggage.

Good luck!

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Posted : April 8, 2009 6:20 am
KevoCleary
(@KevoCleary)
Advanced Member

Betty, sorry i just looked at a couple different listings and they were from a while back. I'll take another look tonight.

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2009 8:26 pm
gcgem
(@gcgem)
Advanced Member

Your best secure bet is to get a transfer to the Marriott. You would be right on to do that and then once here look at opportunities. This has been a tough season and year for most. Use your professional contacts to your advantage.

Also, consider talking to Ronnie @ Fairview Villa and use as a place to stay for a week or two before you finalize a true rental. If he isn't available I stayed at the Green Iguana by Blackbeards for a month before I found our place. Best to be here and then see the places and locations to rent. Remember this is a small island and you can live many places with easy access to where you work. I live just west of Red Hook and work downtown -------oooohhh, just 6 miles one way. Good news, many rentals available vs. previous years, so should be easier for you.

Don't be in a hurry for St. John. Goodness knows we love that island BUT not a easy one to live on . Cost of living is VERY high compared to STT. Might be wise to try STT first than move on to STJ. Once again, be here physicially to check it out, then decide.

Did anyone mention to be pretty solvent when you get here? It again is to your advantage to have some ready cash available for yourself. You are arriving in the heat of hurricane season, a new life. slowest time of the year and many start up costs. Since I recruit many from the states, I recommend you bring AT LEAST $15,000 in back up to get you through the first 6 months. This is a DIFFERENT life style and it is always nice to thave that buffer. If you never use it fine, but nice to have a plan. When you don't have the $$$ it can certainley add to your pucker power....

Any other questions, you can PM me

I moved back for the 2nd time 2 years ago with NO regrets - but did learn from the first time, learning by the school of hard knocks.

This is a glorious place to live and cherish it.

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Posted : April 10, 2009 7:15 pm
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