Thinking of a Job Relocation? 6 Things to Know First

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By Robert Half January 2, 2019 at 9:45am

Are you itching for a change of scenery? You’re in good company. In today’s hiring climate, many professionals are considering a job relocation for new career opportunities.

There’s a whole lot to consider before making a move. Concerns might range from how much housing will cost and where the kids will go to school to what the regional salary variations will be. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of job relocation, along with several tips for long-distance job hunting.

Pros to job relocation

The opportunities may be greater. Your chances of career advancement can vary from city to city. For example, employers in one region might have a high demand for graphic designers at a particular moment, while organizations in another are looking for mobile design experts. Expanding your search to a broader area can help you land the position you really want.

Your pay may increase. Today, there aren’t enough skilled professionals in some markets to meet everyone’s staffing needs. More companies are reaching out to recruiters to find candidates from outside their geographic area. That level of demand means you likely have more leverage when it comes to negotiating your salary, signing bonuses, benefits packages and relocation expenses.

The new experiences could be exhilarating. Relocation can offer the excitement of exploring a new city and working with new team members. 

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Cons to changing locations

Relocation can be stressful. As individual events, starting a new job and moving are two of the most stressful situations you can encounter. You’ll be going through both at the same time. Add to this the fact that you may not have a local support system, and you’re potentially looking at a lot of stress.

Moving can be expensive. The costs of relocating can mount up. If your new employer doesn’t cover the costs of your move, be prepared to spend a lot on travel expenses, moving fees and setting up your new residence.

You may not see your workplace before moving. It's possible your only meeting with the hiring manager will be over a phone call or in a video interview. That means you’ll be walking into your first day with little idea of what the work environment is like. Your new company may have a cramped office floor plan that hinders your productivity. Or you might just get a bad workplace vibe.

Now that you've evaluated some pros and cons of relocation, here are some tips to help you make a successful transition:

Cast a wide net

To increase your chances of landing a job in a new city, reach out to former classmates, colleagues or connections in the areas you’re looking at. Specialized recruiters are also excellent resources when you're applying for jobs outside your home area. The best recruiters have a national reach and can help locate a position that meets your salary needs and career aspirations.

Know what you’re worth

Make sure you’re aware of the average starting salaries for professionals in the city you’d like to move to. Consult the Robert Half Salary Guides to learn the going rates for your position, then localize the figures using our Salary Calculator

Negotiate relocation expenses

It’s important to know upfront which of your costs your new employer is willing to cover. Many firms will pay for the transportation of vehicles and other possessions, as well as home-hunting trips. Keep in mind that even if an expense — such as fuel or family airfare — is not reimbursed in the standard relocation policy, some employers are open to negotiating.

Plan a visit

You don’t want to start your new job only to be disappointed with your employer, coworkers, organizational culture or new town. Even if your employer won’t compensate you for this particular trip, a fact-finding mission before you take the job is well worth the cost. Many employers will be happy to arrange a tour of the office or have some of your future coworkers join you for lunch so you can learn about the area and your soon-to-be workplace.

The initial stages of relocation are going to be challenging. But having an idea of what to expect can help you mentally prepare for the transition so you can tackle challenges head-on. Once you get settled into your new city and job, you may find it was the best career decision you ever made.

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