With 77% of US workers willing to relocate for their jobs, your thoughts of moving somewhere for a new career aren’t out of the ordinary. Maybe your dream job is with a company based in another city, maybe there’s a promotion or new opportunity available in a different area, or perhaps you feel overworked at your current job.
Whatever your reason, moving yourself or your family to another city is possible when you take the right steps.
Let’s walk through every stage of relocation and look at some tips for making the process as smooth as possible.
Once you’ve decided that relocation is for you, the first step is lining up a job. Sometimes an offer will come out of a conversation (or seemingly out of nowhere), but if you plan to move to expand your possibilities and growth potential, you may not initially have any prospects. Where do you start your search?
Sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, and Indeed have vast resources of job openings, and LinkedIn continues to grow more prominent than ever. You can also tap your network and ask about opportunities, though you’ll have to be careful about who you ask—if you're trying to be discreet, you don’t want word getting back to your current boss!
After you line up a job and submit an application, you need to prepare for being interviewed. With a nonlocal job, the first step usually involves a phone or video interview.
If your long-distance interaction goes well, the company may fly you out for an in-person meeting, but getting through that video interview is the first big hurdle. Here are some tips to make it less stressful:
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. Nothing is worse than dropping a call or fiddling with settings while your potential new boss watches awkwardly. Check your connection before your interview starts.
Look at the camera, not the screen. On a video call, you may feel tempted to focus on the other person’s face, like you would during an in-person encounter. Resist this temptation. On a video call, you want to look directly at the camera instead. This step provides the best view of you and ensures that the interviewer sees you looking at them.
Dress how you would for interviewing in person. You may have heard jokes about people doing video interviews in their underwear—since the other person can see only from your shoulders up, what’s the harm, right?
In reality, the way you dress also impacts your attitude, the way you carry yourself, and the impression you give others. In fact, though they may not be able to see your pants (or lack thereof), it may shine through in your behavior.
If the video interview goes well, many companies will want to fly you out at least once to meet you in person, give you a tour of facilities, and get to know you better. However, more and more often, companies are skipping this step and going straight to hiring.
If the company hires you without flying you out to meet, consider taking a trip there anyway. Exploring the area in person allows you to check out the city and make sure everything is a good fit.
You may have to start off in a hotel while you look for a place if your new job needs someone quickly. Eventually, though, you’ll want to find something a little more permanent.
Ask yourself a few questions beforehand to speed up the process: Do you want to rent or buy? Will you need a house or an apartment? Are you okay with roommates, or do you need a place to yourself?
Services like Trulia and Zillow simplify finding a place long distance. But if you have the money, you should take a trip to your chosen city to scope out a place to live. It can be hard to get a feel for a home from just pictures online. For maximum efficiency, pick out a few favorites and plan to visit them when you fly in for an in-person interview.
When planning your move, factor in any differences in the cost of living while looking at housing and utility options. Even nearby towns can have significant gaps in prices. Luckily, you can calculate these costs using tools online to remove some of the extra work.
Be aware that some areas are shockingly expensive! It’s a lot more money to maintain the same lifestyle in New York or San Francisco as you had in Savannah or Charleston.
If you have to move to an area with higher living expenses, this moment may be an excellent opportunity to negotiate a higher salary. Many companies are willing to tack on an additional pay increase to compensate for cost-of-living changes.
Changing jobs and moving cities is stressful enough. You don’t want to make it any more stressful by trying to wing it on moving day. Plan out your move, so you arrive at your new residence a week or two before you start work. This should allow you time to unpack and settle into your new home.
Many people like to move themselves to save some money, but a work-related relocation is one of the best times to step out and let someone else handle things for two reasons:
Leaving a familiar environment and job to dive headfirst into the unknown is stressful. And that's without trying to keep boxes organized and dig through all your old drawers. Professional movers can come in, pack you up, and have you shipped out without you lifting a finger.
You have a good chance your new employer will pay for it. Many companies offer relocation packages or compensation for new employees, primarily if you work in a high-demand field. It’s something to consider bringing up during negotiations.
Like with real estate listings and cost-of-living calculation, you can also use online tools to find a moving company that fits your needs.
Moving to a new city means a lot of changes—new job, new house, new city, new friends, new schools—planning can help remove some of the stress. Follow the tips listed here to start your planning process.
And try to keep in mind your reasons for relocating, whether they’re for professional development or personal reasons. Before you know it, you’ll be all settled into your new position and a new home.