So you want a change in scenery and a fresh start. Lost in how to get started? Deciding to relocate is a major decision and can be a long process, but by taking the right steps, you may find yourself where the grass really is greener. With strategic planning and the necessary research, you can save yourself from a great deal of frustration, mentally and financially. Here’s what you should know when starting your search:
The key to landing any job is to conduct proper quality research. Learn about the city you want to relocate to in order to confirm if it is really the place where you want to start your new job or career. Gather preliminary information on the social scene, job market, cultural diversity, climate, and cost of living. There are numerous websites and articles dedicated to helping you find your way around different cities. Here are some great resources to start with:
Sperlings – Extensive city profiles, rankings, tips for moving: www.bestplaces.net.
City’s Best – Check out a city’s hotspots: https://citysbest.aol.com/.
City Rating – City demographics, climate forecasts, job market outlook: www.cityrating.com.
Homefair – A comprehensive guide, providing city and school reports, moving company information, crime statistics, cost of living, financial calculators, and mortgage rates: www.homefair.com.
How to Search for Job Opportunities
There is a plethora of resources available to job-seekers, but unfortunately, they are often over-looked and under-utilized. Most candidates use one type of search, such as only Internet job boards or only newspaper classifieds. In order to stand out as a candidate, use as many avenues as you are able manage, so you can get your name and resume out in the market.
One way to start is to check out job sites focusing in the area where you wish to relocate. This will allow you to get an idea of what type of positions are most prevalent in the near future so that you may tailor your resume to adjust to the market. Places like Craigslist, Monster, and CareerBuilder are wonderful at organizing their sites by geographical location and city to make searches more simplistic. Because of the convenience of these sites, they are understandably overused and subject to some not-so-kosher business by everyone from college kids to managing directors to your mom. Other more reliable job sites are ExecuNet for the high-level executive and the Idealist for you non-profit do-gooders.
In a sea of online resumes, you may find it difficult to get yours to stand out. These next steps are how you can set yourself apart and get ahead in the game.
If you are insistent that the Internet is the way to go, then make use of your social media networks. LinkedIn is the best tool for professionals in any industry, and recruiters often peruse this site for top candidates. Facebook and Twitter are also great resources to build relationships with people and business contacts. If you look hard enough, you’ll find job opportunities listed everyday by a growing number of companies.
If you are a recent grad, searching through online college career centers in the local area can be extremely valuable in finding opportunities and learning a few tips. Join your own alumni association to connect with past graduates who might be located in the area you want to work.
Networking is probably the holy grail of the job hunt. Especially in a tight economy where everyone is holding onto their jobs and advertised opportunities are limited, knowing someone who knows someone will be your key in the door. Maybe you have family where you want to move or co-workers who lived in that city. Ask around, you never know. Many times, larger companies have satellite offices throughout the country, so speaking with your HR representative may reveal new information.
Many industries have trade organizations, which hold networking events or career fairs. Make note of when they come to town, so you can assemble new lists of contacts. If you join the association, you can usually receive membership directories and early job announcements, plus you will be able to get insider information on the industry.
Headhunters, staffing/temping agencies, and executive-search firms will have exclusive jobs, so register with them in the new city. Newspaper Classifieds are a bit old-school, but check them out if you can. Most papers these days have online versions, so you don’t have to pay to look up the openings.
Now, the planning comes! After collecting all of your information, make a master plan to lay out the whole relocation process. Try to be as precise as possible and set goals as to when you want to move, where you would like to live, what week you can schedule interviews, and most of all, how much you can afford with your budget. Remember, it may take months to find a job, especially in a down market, and it can turn out to be very costly.
Some companies provide generous relocation packages, but if you are not a high-level executive, you can’t depend on it. The good news is that relocation costs are tax-deductible, but make sure to read the fine print so the IRS doesn’t come after you. BNet has an informative article on the topic: https://findarticles.com.
Your relocation budget should include rent payments and security deposits or mortgages, lease termination fees for your old home, utilities, new transportation costs, difference in cost-of-living and moving costs. Moving costs take into account flights, mail shipping fees, the purchase of new furniture and transportation of the old, Budgeting for the preliminary visits is just as important. Remember travel expenses to and within the city, hotel rates, food expenditure, and if you’ll need a brand new suit.
Having sent out your resumes, contacted old supervisors, and established a rapport with new contacts, you need to devise a trip strategy. It is a good idea to visit your desired destination at least a couple of times. Create a schedule to organize all that you need to accomplish. You will probably have limited time when traveling due to budget constraints or current jobs, so you want to stay on task. Try to line up all of your interviews during one time period so that your first visit can hit them all. If you have not been able to land enough interviews, contact employers for informational interviews, which will at least allow you to network and learn about the company.
Scope the area. Take public transportation, walk around different neighborhoods, and get a feel for the culture. Look at places where you would like to live. You might consider renting first to get comfortable in the area, and then you can find your perfect house as you become more familiar with your surroundings. If you are a parent, you might want to tour local schools and find out which are best. It is a fantastic idea to get involved in the social scene, time permitting. Go to a local bar, restaurant, or café and you could even chance upon an employer looking to hire.
Make sure you do not forget to record everything! You will want to review all of your hard-earned information once you return home, so take a notepad with you everywhere.
While relocating will, inevitably, be a stressful pursuit, a stimulating job in a different environment can lead to an exciting and worthwhile new start. Happy Hunting!