Arlington: What's the best way to look for a job in another city, one that's halfway, or all the way, across the country? My boyfriend and I are interested in leaving the Washington area in June and are starting to look now. Friends tell me to just look in the classifieds of the major newspapers for the areas I'm interested in, but my parents and others seem to think that I should fly to the cities and knock on doors. That's an expensive way to job hunt, but would the personal "in" be worth it?
Definitely. Few places are going to seriously consider you while you still live elsewhere. You especially need to make advance visits since you haven't decided where you're moving. You will probably find very different job markets in each place, and the reception you get while knocking on doors might help you whittle down your choices.
Arlington: I've been working through a temp agency for some time (seven months). I'm grateful to be working at all, especially since I am in the Metro area a fairly short time (18 months perhaps) and feel awkward about applying for and accepting full-time work. How available are contract or full-time temporary jobs without going through a temp agency? I have just finished a master's in a humanities field (not so marketable), so I don't have specific qualifications/certifications for typical corporate jobs.
Most companies use staffing agencies to fill temporary and contract jobs, so what you're doing now is probably the wisest way to enjoy steady pay without making a commitment.