9 Things to Consider When Relocating for a Job
Your dream job isn’t always down the street – it could be across the country. If a company offers you an in-house position, you might need to relocate to a new city or state to step into that role. While the job offer is certainly an exciting opportunity, you need to carefully consider whether you are able to relocate.
However, many people who relocate for work have a positive outlook on the decision. Forty percent of people who relocated say they did it for career advancement or to make more money. In addition, the Employee Relocation Services industry grew by 1.2% in 2022, which reflects the increased demand to support relocating employees.
If you are considering leaving your current position and current state, you need to learn about the relocation process. Use this guide to make the right decision for yourself and your career.
1. Job Opportunity Assessment
If you are relocating for a specific job offer, make sure you thoroughly evaluate the new opportunity and the company offering it. Here are a few questions to ask yourself — and your potential employer.
- What are the day-to-day tasks involved in the job role?
- What responsibilities will you be expected to take on?
- Is this a step up for your career and what are the long-term opportunities for growth?
- Does this position align with your career goals?
- Is this the type of company you want to work for?
- Does the organization respect its employees and provide competitive benefits?
Some of the answers to these questions can be found online. For example, you can search Glassdoor and other social media sites to learn about the company’s reputation, culture, and work-life balance.
2. Cost of Living and Compensation
As you enter salary negotiations with your new employer, keep the cost of living in mind. The salary your future employer offers needs to factor in your new cost of living while ideally including a pay raise that aligns with your career advancement.
There are plenty of cost-of-living calculators online that you can use. For example, if you earn $50,000 per year in Tampa, Florida, you would need to earn $95,000 per year in San Francisco to maintain your same cost of living.
There are other financial aspects to consider as you plan your move too. Taxes can change from one state to the next, which will eat into your take-home pay. You will also have moving expenses that can hurt your savings — like Realtor fees or costs to break your lease. Fortunately, it is possible to write off your moving expenses, especially if you are relocating for work.
3. Quality of Life and Lifestyle
Just because your dream job offers you a position doesn’t mean you will love working and living in your new city. Evaluate whether you want to live in that area and the quality of life you can expect. For example, someone who grew up in Miami could have a hard time adapting to Minnesota winters. Other factors to consider include recreational activities in the area like parks and hiking trails, cultural amenities like theaters and museums, and community activities like volunteer organizations.
4. Family and Education
Another factor to consider before agreeing to a relocation is the impact on your family. If you are single, moving is an easy decision: go where you want to go. However, your kids might not want to leave their friends and your partner might not be able to quit their job and find another easily where you are moving.
Research the opportunities in the area, ranging from the schools your kids would attend to the healthcare facilities and support networks available in the new location. Also, have open conversations with your family about the opportunities that come with moving and the aspects that could be scary — like starting a new school. Everyone who has to move with you should be involved in the decision-making process.
5. Social Support and Networking
Your social network can also play a big role in how you and your family ease into the new area. For example, if your kids can join a local recreational sports club in the summer, they can make friends with kids they will see when they start school.
Evaluate how you plan to make friends or join communities in the new area to start building a social support system. For example, you can find churches that align with your religious beliefs or audition for a local theatre to meet people with similar interests. Everyone in your family has social needs, so keep each member in mind as you plan your move.
6. Housing and Commuting
One of the biggest factors that come with moving is finding housing. You need to find an area that you like, that is safe for you and your family, and that has a reasonable commute. For example, the average one-way commute in America is 27.6 minutes. This reflects how Americans want to live in one area and are happy to drive or take public transit to another.
First, look for neighborhoods that you like and have positive safety records. Check out the amenities and community where you want to live. Then compare your favorite locations to the commutes they have.
Know that you don’t have to buy a house in your new area immediately. You can look into temporary housing or short-term rentals to get to know your city better. Also, depending on the cost of living, you might need to prepare to move into a smaller home. Preparing for downsizing before you move, like donating unwanted items and only bringing your favorite holiday decorations, can make this transition easier.
7. Work-Life Balance and Well-being
Focusing on the community aspects of a city and the neighborhoods you want to live in can make your living situation more comfortable and support your work-life balance. If you only know your co-workers, you might be tempted to throw yourself into your job. This only compounds the stress that comes with a new work environment. Make sure you have hobbies and social activities in place to help you relax and connect with others in your area.
One way to relax on the weekends is to explore recreational activities and wellness facilities in the new location. Taking a walk in nature or swimming laps in the community pool can help you mentally step away from the office.
8. Long-Term Career Prospects
As you settle into your new role, consider your long-term career opportunities in the area. Evaluate the potential for advancement in your job, the networking opportunities in your area, and the job market stability.
Your career goals can impact your relocation decisions. They can affect where you move and how long you stay there. For example, you might opt to rent a home instead of buying a property in a town because you aren’t sure whether you want to stay in the area in the long run.
9. Storage Solutions
Relocating can upend your life, which means you might need to store your belongings or vehicles for a period of time before you settle into your new city. Make sure you work with a storage provider you can trust. This includes storing large pieces of furniture while you look for housing or storing your boat, motorcycle, or RV until you can move these vehicles with you and use them again.
Storage is important wherever you are going. It doesn’t matter whether you are moving to a larger city in Texas or smaller towns in Arizona or Missouri, you need to know that your belongings and vehicles are safe from the weather, theft, or general wear and tear. Once you settle into an area and have space again, you can return your items to your property.
Pros and Cons of Job Relocation
Landing a job is hard, but the process of relocating is even harder. There are so many factors to think about before you agree to move. Every person is different, but there are a few common threads to keep in mind. Here are a few pros and cons to consider.
- You have an opportunity to advance your career.
- Your family can start fresh in a new and exciting city.
- You can learn more about yourself and where you want to live.
- Moving is stressful and expensive.
- You might not love the place you move to.
- You have to rebuild your friend group, social circle, and community.
Make sure you weigh all aspects of your life carefully before making the decision to relocate. You don’t want to move someplace where you aren’t happy, which could cause you to move again a year or two later.