Relocating for your career is a big step. Even if you have landed your dream job, moving far away from your friends and family is a big deal that you should not underestimate. There are a lot of things to consider before you make the move, and you may find you have a to-do list as long as your arm. Here are some tips for relocating to a new town or city for your career.
The first thing you need to do is research the location you are planning to move to. It may be that you don’t have a choice about your destination, as your employer is relocating somewhere new, and you have to go with them to keep your job. It may be that you have been offered your dream job hundreds of miles away and you will need to commute. However, if you have just left college, you may have a variety of different options and it is a good idea to write yourself a shortlist of places that look good to move to with your qualifications.
Different areas need different skills. For example, the best place for Nurse Practitioners to move to may not be the same as the best place for bankers or data analysts. If you do your research thoroughly, you will know where to go to get ahead in your career and the type of lifestyle you can expect to find when you get there.
Visit the area or areas you are thinking about relocating to so that you can get a feel for the place and decide whether it is somewhere you would enjoy living or not. Although you are moving for your career you will still need to consider external factors such as whether the amenities meet your needs and whether you think you will settle in easily. If you are planning to move with your family, you may want to consider how easy it will be for your partner to find a job in your new location or what the school system is like. Make a few visits to your destination and make sure it is right for you before you take the plunge.
Understand The Costs
You may have been offered your dream job and a $50,000 pay rise, but you need to consider how much of that you will need to spend on your living costs. Some cities and states can be a lot more expensive to live in than others, and there is no point in making such a big move for an extra $50,000 if you are spending an extra $60,000 on rent, bills, and other essentials. Visit some real estate agents and ask what the prices are like in your new destination and what you may be able to expect to pay for bills. This will give you a good idea of whether the move will be financially advantageous for you or whether it just looks good on paper.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of making the move, too. If you have a lot of furniture that will need to be moved across the country or have things that will need to go into storage, for example, this could cost you. Selling your home and car could also leave you out of pocket. Work out how long it will take you to earn this money back and you will soon be able to see if your move is worthwhile or not.
Ask For Assistance
Once you have an employer lined up, don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance in making your move. Some employers will be able to offer you more help than others. If your whole company is relocating, then HR may have lined up some support so that they can help with the cost of moving. Some companies even rent accommodation for their relocating employees for the first few weeks or months. If you are relocating to work in an industry where it is difficult to find employees, or you are starting a graduate employment program, you may find that you are offered help to move or settle in from your new employer. It may be that your employer won’t be able to offer you any help at all, but if you don’t ask you won’t get it, and some employers will respect you more for taking the initiative to ask.
If you have decided that relocation is the right thing for you to do, then try to get as organized as possible. This is going to be a big move and you will want to make sure that you don’t forget anything essential. Write yourself a to-do list and tick off the tasks you have completed as you go along to help keep you organized and on top of things. Ask friends and family to help you prepare for the move and delegate jobs to them if you can, as this will make your life easier.
You do not need to take absolutely everything with you at first, just enough to get you through the first few weeks or months. It can be a good idea to put your non-essentials into storage, especially if you are moving to smaller accommodation than you are used to or going to be renting a furnished house at first. You can always send for your non-essentials once you have settled in.
Have a good clear-out before you set off and as a rule of thumb, you should donate or throw away anything that you have not used for the last six months. You don’t need it. Think about your new lifestyle and how it may differ from your existing one and pack accordingly. You may not need your ski jacket in Southern Florida or five bikinis in Alaska, so be smart about packing.
Pack anything you know you will need urgently in a separate bag. You may need identification to show your landlord before they will give you the keys to your new home, so make sure this is accessible rather than buried at the bottom of a packing crate. You will need your phone and wallet so keep these to hand too. Once you have arrived, you may want to know that the kettle and your toothbrush are easy to get to, as well as any other essentials you will need on the first night in your new home. You can unpack the rest as you go along.
It is a good idea to give yourself a few days at least to settle in once you have relocated. Get your bearings and learn the route to your office, the grocery store, and any other places you will need to get to frequently. This can make you feel at home in your new location. It is never too early to start social networking, so don’t be afraid to join local groups on social media or groups that offer meet-ups. That will stop you from feeling bored and lonely during your first few weeks and help you to settle in.
Don’t Make Long Term Commitments
Avoid making long-term commitments for the first few months. Renting rather than buying a home will give you the flexibility to move on again if you decide you have made the wrong choice or realize you like the look of a neighboring town more. Avoid signing a long lease for the same reason, as you will find this difficult to get out of. Make sure you are happy with your town and neighborhood before you make a long-term commitment to it.
Have a Backup Plan
The best-laid plans don’t always work out. It may be that you decide you hate your new job or even your industry. You might not like your boss or your neighborhood. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you but if you need to make further changes you should be prepared for them. Relocating for your career is quite a leap of faith and you are entitled to change your mind if you want to. Have a backup plan in mind for if you decide your new life isn’t for you after all and don’t be afraid to walk away from it if you are unhappy. There is no point beating yourself up about this or feeling like a failure if things don’t work out. It took a lot of courage to make the move in the first place and you should be proud of yourself for trying. Having a backup plan will at least give you options if you do decide you want to leave.
These are nine great tips for relocating for your career. It is a big step, but it can be exciting and offer you a whole new lifestyle you never knew existed. Follow these and you will find that your move runs a lot more smoothly. Don’t forget, you can always go and visit your old town and even move back if things don’t work out for you.
Photo by Lukas