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Relocating Tips for Proactive Job Seekers

Looking for a job is never an easy task; this is particularly true during hiring freezes in a bad economy.

The news may report a growing job market, but many of those positions are concentrated in specific regions, causing job seekers to consider relocating for a job. While some people are able to chase their dream job, others are forced to wait out the current environment, hoping for a fast recovery.

For those willing and able to relocate for a job, the task of relocation is a little different than most job searches. Finding a job in the new city and preparing for the move itself are only a part of the delicate planning and preparation that goes into relocating for a job. Here are a few relocating tips for proactive job seekers. [TWEET]

Step 1: Searching for a new location.

First determine if relocating for a job is a viable option for you. Ask yourself if you’re able to afford moving to a new city. Moving costs alone could be more than $1,000. Are you willing to move away from family, friends and close networks? Are there health concerns or family issues to consider? Once you have considered all your options and weighed the pros and cons, start making plans.

Start searching for a new job. Treat the job search in the same way you would if you were looking for local opportunities. Research each new company before you apply. Look for information about salary, benefits and company environment. Don’t forget to check on relocation assistance. Companies may not advertise relocation help; this shouldn’t dissuade you from asking about it.

Use reputable research sites. Don’t limit your research to company provided information. Online descriptions and company statements are often marketing material designed to present the company in a positive light. Online job review sites provide more in-depth knowledge about the company. Glassdoor and CareerBliss provide employee-generated reviews.

Once you have an interview set up in a new city, recon the area before making a decision. Relocating for a job and choosing the best company is no good if you end up hating your new city. Use a relocation research company like RelocationScout. Hotpads also allows users to search for rentals and properties for sale at the same time. Trulia provides homes for sale listings from across the nation.

Never purchase a home, rent an apartment or accept a job offer in a foreign location without checking it out first. Set up a trip to view the lay of the land and a check out your potential new office during your interview. A quick three-day scouting event will provide more information than online listings and marketing material. Plan for your trip in advance. Divide your three-day trip into three search plans – job, home and community.

Don’t forget to follow-up with the hiring manager. Being polite goes a long way. After visiting your potential new city and employer, immediately send a thank you note. Make sure to mention aspects of the company you liked, reiterate some conversational topics and note something you learning on the trip. Check back with the hiring manager within ten days. Your follow-up letter should reiterate your interest in the job, why you think this is a good fit and why you’re interested in their company. Don’t regurgitate your cover letter or simply use mushy, filler language. Sincerity often is welcome, while insincerity often is dismissed.

Step 2: Get ready for the big move.

Don’t expect the company to move you into your new home. Relocation packages are uncommon in the current job market. Companies rarely offer assistance unless the job requires talent not currently available in the area or they are seeking candidates. However, it’s appropriate to ask the hiring manager if they offer any assistance with relocating for a job. Just wait until you secure the job to ask. Military veterans and the spouses have other options. The Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) helps retired military and their families relocate to a new job.

Keep family top of mind. Making the big move is stressful on everyone, especially family members. If you have kids, engage with them and ask them to help with the process. Children never want to change schools or lose friends. Encouraging them to help look at new schools in the new city goes a long way. Talk to them about new designs for their bedroom, fun activities in the area or a new hobbies. Help them feel excited and a part of the big move. Don’t neglect them and make them feel left out of the decisions.

Start early and never wait until the last moment. Give yourself plenty of “wiggle room” preparing for the big event. If possible, schedule the actual moving day at least two weeks before your first day at work. This gives you plenty of time to transfer medical records, enroll your child in the new school and orchestrate other necessities. Remember Murphy's Law – if something can go wrong, it usually will. Giving yourself valuable extra time helps prevent those unforeseen situations from devastating the relocation process.

Make a checklist. Before relocating for a job, create a checklist of things that need to be done on the day of the move and the following weeks. For future events, try to create a tentative schedule. This helps you to prevent missing important items on the list. Some items to remember include:

  • Schedule electricity and/or gas connection.

  • Plan a date to have TV, phone and Internet services connected.

  • Discontinue newspaper delivery, trash pickup and recycling services.

  • Forward your mail and ask friends or family to check your box.

  • Change your vehicle tags and transfer your driver’s license.

Relocation tools.

Preparation is key to making relocating for a job smoother and less stressful. Several online tools are available to help you adjust. Money concerns probably are causing you to worry. CareerPerfect offers online cost of living calculators and salary estimates for each region. Use this to determine if your new salary is fair and covers cost of living in the new area. Their budgeting tools helps you determine if your salary or loss of revenue will help or hurt the family’s finances.

The move itself sometimes feels overwhelming. Move.com features a wealth of moving related tools to help eliminate stress and remember easy to forget tasks to complete. Search for utility providers, calculate moving costs, plan a moving schedule or search for interstate moving companies.

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Photo credit: Nicolas Huk/Flickr

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!