When you’ve decided you want to move to a new city, or you’re relocating for other reasons, it can be a challenge to figure out the best strategy for finding a new position. Should you move first? Or should you try to line up a new job and then relocate? What's the best way to get hired when you're here and the jobs are there?
How to Decide When to Start a Job Search
There isn’t one answer to the question of when you should start job hunting if you want or need to move. One of the biggest factors to consider is your finances.
Can you afford to go without a paycheck, pay for health insurance, and cover relocation expenses? If you have cash reserves, it can be easier to move first, get settled, and then start a job search. If you don’t, you will need to start looking for a job before you move.
Consider your personal circumstances, as well. Do you have someone in the new location you could borrow a bed or a couch from? If so, you may want to consider moving first, finding a job second.
The Type of Job You’re Looking For
Another factor to consider is the type of job you’re looking for. It’s quicker and easier to get hired for lower-level positions than it is for jobs further up the career ladder. If you’re at a mid-career or higher-level position, it’s going to take longer to get hired. You should plan your job hunt accordingly, and be prepared to conduct a long-distance job search. Keep in mind that you may be able to negotiate a start date that gives you the extra time you need to move and get settled.
Use CareerOneStop’s Cost of Living calculator to learn how much more (or less) it will be to live in a new location.
Tips for Finding a Job in a New City
Once you’ve decided when you want to start looking for a new job, the next step is to figure out how to get hired. Review these tips for finding work when you’re relocating to get started.
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Find a Job
Job searching isn’t always as quick or as easy as you think it’s going to be. Even if you’re going to wait to start a job search, start organizing it ahead of time.
Update your resume, start checking out job listings and companies you’re interested in working for, get a list of references ready to use, and have an interview outfit ready to wear.
2. Think Local (and Remote) for Job Opportunities
When you know the city where you want to work, you can target positions there or within a radius of that location. Use advanced search options to find openings where you want to work.
Don’t forget to search for remote jobs if you’re interested in a position that doesn’t require you to work onsite. If you can line up a remote opportunity, you can work from anywhere.
3. Sign Up for Job Alerts
Save yourself a step and sign up for job alerts to let you know when new jobs that match your criteria are listed. You’ll be able to set them up directly on company websites for major employers, as well as on job listing sites. You’ll receive an email or text message as soon as a listing is posted, and you’ll be able to get your application in right away.
4. Be Available to Interview
It’s important to have the flexibility to be able to get there quickly when you’re invited for an out-of-town interview. Most employers interview and hire on a tight schedule, and the company may not be willing to wait. If you can’t get there when interviews are scheduled, you may not be considered for the job.
Unless you’re being actively recruited, be prepared to pay your own travel expenses. You may want to line up the best modes of transportation in advance, so you’re prepared to book travel when you get an email or call.
Be prepared to interview remotely. That’s often the first step in the hiring process, even if the job is onsite.
5. Don’t Count on a Relocation Package
Employer relocation packages can make a move go very smoothly. If you’re offered one as part of your compensation package, it may cover all the expenses moving entails. There may be even some extra cash included to help you get out of a lease or make a deposit on new housing. Whether you’ll get one, or not, depends on the company and the job you’re hired for.
6. Get a Local Address at the New City
A local address on your resume and cover letter can help your application get selected. Some employers don’t consider out-of-town candidates because the logistics can be complicated.
7. Tap Your Connections
Who do you know in the place you’re going to? Do you have family, friends, professional, or college connections there? Everyone you know, and everyone they know, may be able to help you with your job hunt.
Put the word out, very quietly if you’re still employed, that you’re looking to relocate to get job leads and other assistance. Here are some of the people who can assist:
- Facebook Friends and Instagram Followers
- LinkedIn Connections
- College Alumni Network Contacts
- Networking Connections (attend as many in-person events as you can)
- Professional Associations and Contacts
8. Take Your Job With You
Do you love your job? There may be a chance that you can take it with you when you move. If your employer is thrilled with the work you do and would hate to lose you, they may be willing to let you work remotely. That’s especially the case if you’re available to travel back to the office for meetings that need to be held in person.
9. Request a Job Transfer
It’s obviously not feasible if you work for a small organization, but if you work for a large company with offices in your new location, transferring may be an option. You may be able to transfer to the same or a similar job, or you may be able to get a different position with your current employer.
10. Consider a Temp or Seasonal Job
One work option for when you can’t wait to move is to consider working as a temp or taking a seasonal job until you can line up a permanent position. Depending on the time of year and location, there may be plenty of short-term jobs you can do until you get hired full-time.