A Career Relocation Checklist

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Time and time again, I hear candidates tell stories about the hardships they face when attempting to move to a new market and find quality employment. I can truly relate to this experience, as not only do I help candidates from far away successfully land great jobs, but it’s a large part of my personal story. I have done not one but TWO cross-country moves! It certainly wasn’t easy, but it was well worth the time and energy to arrive at the end result. Whether you are in the initial phases of considering a relocation or wondering why your applications to out-of-market companies are not getting traction, here are some helpful hints to ease your relocation woes!

  • Talk with all “decision makers” – As obvious as this may sound, make sure significant others, children, and any other individuals impacted by your relocation are on the same page and are supportive of the process. Make sure this is the first step! Otherwise, you might expend a lot of effort (and maybe even make it to offer stage) for no reason. There is no “act now and ask forgiveness later” on this one. It MUST be your first step.
  • Research EVERYTHING – A different location on the map means a different EVERYTHING. You will want to get a sense of communities, cultures, schools, housing, job opportunities, etc. Depending on where you are coming from, one major consideration could be the cost of living adjustment. Therefore, do your research on cost of living comparisons between markets. Remember, if you are living in a high cost of living area, your earnings could drop by moving to a lower cost of living area, but that’s okay! Also, if you are coming from a low cost of living market, you want to be prepared to negotiate a proper compensation adjustment, so you don’t undervalue yourself. There are many tools online to help, so Google is your friend!
  • Have a plan – Once you’ve talked to decision makers, researched the area and concluded what market makes sense for you, decide on a general plan and put it in place. When can you realistically start a new job? How will you move all your household items? If you have a house to sell, when will it need to be on the market? If you have a lease, when does it end? Do you have enough PTO and money set aside to fly or drive in for in-person interviews? There are many other considerations, but these should be at the top of your checklist.
  • Connect with a quality, local recruiter – At the risk of sounding self-serving, one of the reasons I was able to successfully move to new markets was because I had quality recruiters as champions in my corner. Connecting to a quality recruiter will provide insights into the local community, quality employers, relevant job opportunities, cost of living considerations, and general expectations of the process. They can also advocate for you directly to a hiring manager to differentiate you from internal postings where they may defer to local candidates.
  • Be flexible – Every market is different, but we all know that local candidates are likely to get preferential treatment. If you truly want to be considered for that “hot” position in a new market, you should be flexible related to timing, compensation, and your availability to interview in person. In a nutshell, if a company needs to meet you live, make it happen as quickly as you can, and with reasonable (or ideally no) expectations of reimbursement. Be flexible on expectations for relocation assistance and a timely start date. This will put you “on par” with local candidates. Having unreasonable expectations for reimbursement, relocation support, and/or a delayed start date could tip the scales against you.
  • Go visit with a plan – When you secure an in-person interview, or simply make plans to visit the area, make use of your time. If considering an apartment or short-term housing, research various options and make a list of them to go visit. Some of them do not require appointments, but some do, so make sure to call or book ahead and verify that they have availability at the time you are anticipating your move. If you’ll be immediately looking to buy, ask your recruiter for a recommendation on a local, reputable real estate agent.
  • Give notice – Once you have successfully been offered and accepted a position, resign in plenty of time to give your boss a standard notice, plus adequate time to move and ideally get settled into your new place. The usual resignation period is two weeks (depending on your level), so try to negotiate an extra week to move and get situated.
  • Select a moving company, move yourself, or sell your items – There are so many moving company options, ranging from reasonably priced to high end when it comes to cost. Make sure to do plenty of research and get quotes from multiple moving companies. Pay close attention to reviews online and check to see if they are with the local Better Business Bureau. If you would like to make the move yourself or move with a fresh start, you know what to do.
  • Get settled – Once you and your items arrive at your new home, try to unpack and organize as much as you can before your first day on the job. If you decided to ship your items, it is very likely you may arrive before your things do, so make sure to go shopping for the essentials in the meantime, while not breaking the bank.
  • Let the adventure begin – Before your first day of work, check out the “hot spots” in your neighborhood to scope out places you could see yourself enjoying after work, or on the weekends. Your first few weeks in a new area will be a blur and possibly lead to some mixed emotions, so putting down roots quickly, meeting new people, and taking advantage of your new community will help with the transition and remind you why you wanted to move in the first place!

Rachel Gaines is a Recruiting Manager with Taylor White, a boutique staffing firm specializing in Accounting & Finance placements, both permanent and contract, in the broader Tampa Bay market. For more information, feel free to contact her at rachelg@taylorwhite.com