So you are looking for new job opportunities and your local market isn’t a great fit. Eventually, you may have to come to terms with looking at less-local options. This could mean at-home or virtual opportunities, but if your work takes place in person, it would likely mean relocation.
Relocation can be a scary idea. The concept of taking a chance on a job opportunity and moving (literally) out of your comfort zone is definitely something that needs more than a moment of thought. There are two main questions that come with determining whether relocation is an option or not: can you relocate and do you want to relocate?
Who is relocating?
There is a noticeable difference in the way questions need to be addressed when you are moving alone versus when you are moving with family. Before we can talk about the ‘can’s and ‘want’s of relocating, we need to figure out the factors that are involved.
Your situation changes immensely depending on if you are moving completely alone, with pets, children, or spouses. Depending on who is included in the relocation, it will change the budget on the move, viable locations, and what amenities will be necessary to have within a certain distance.
Pets may have special care or housing needs, such as active dogs who need large backyards or play areas or horses who need stables. For children, good school zones and safe communities will be high priorities. A spouse will need to have the same opportunities available to them that you are pursuing, should they relocate.
For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on relocating alone. If you are looking for a family relocation guide, check it out here!
Relocating alone has benefits and drawbacks, as every situation can. The benefit here is that you are the only human factor to worry about. You have an idea of your budget, timeline, and comfort level when it comes to choosing a new place to live.
The downside here is that you are your own limiting factor. You will be in charge of packing, booking help and travel, and joining a community based on your own efforts without someone familiar around to encourage you. None of this is to say that moving alone is more or less difficult than moving with family, but it is something to keep in mind as you plan for relocation.
“Can I afford to relocate?” is the first question you need to ask. Since you are relocating alone, you know what your financial standing is and what you can afford. While you may be inclined to add in any offers of ‘relocation assistance‘ or a ‘sign-on bonus‘ to your funds, keep in mind that those are usually paid out as reimbursement after you start your new opportunity.
You need to be able to afford relocation costs and the costs of, at least, the first month of payments, on your own before considering relocation. In terms of numbers, for renters, it pays to keep in mind the 50/30/20 rule, which states that your monthly budget should divide 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings/debt payments.
You can use this as a guide for what you can afford to move into from the get-go and what you can afford as a minimum salary. For people looking to buy a house, there are mortgage calculators that can help you decide if the housing marketing is a good fit for your financial profile.
“Is there space for me?” is the next question that needs to be asked. City living is full of places to live, but rural and suburban areas do not necessarily promise the same. Suburban areas are a bit more flexible, usually with a close-knit community and options for temporary housing, but rural areas may not have any options available.
Many rural communities are aware that housing is limited, so job opportunities may offer temporary housing to help in the beginning. While that is wonderful, you should make sure to take the time to look beyond temporary measures before committing to a move. Whether you plan to buy or rent a place to live, one of the best ways to get updated information, especially in rural areas, is through a chamber of commerce.
In large cities where much of the market is covered by name brands, chambers of commerce will give you the same information as a Google search. In smaller locations, these places serve as a hotspot of information with the personalized touch you may not get from an electronic search. Take this as an opportunity to speak with someone who lives in your future community. They can give you the best look at the financial truth of the area from a day-to-day perspective, or they can give you contacts who can help as well, such as local realtors or renters.
“Why do I want to relocate?” is a hard question to ask and to answer. The easy answer is that you are moving for a job, and that is a good answer, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Even if you dedicate your life to your career, you will still have to exist outside of it. In those times where you’re not working, you need to have a reason to want to be where you are, or you risk burning out.
A good way to find things you would genuinely enjoy about the area is to start with a list about the things you like to do. If you like to cook with fresh ingredients, check if there is a local farmers market. If you enjoy sports, look for indoor and outdoor areas that host games, which is also a great way to find new connections.
If you have close friends or family, try looking in their area. Another way to set yourself up for a healthy relocation is to have a social support system. Technology makes this much easier than it used to be, but direct, in-person support could be the difference between a good day and a bad one.
You may not have friends or family in the area of your dream job, and that’s okay too! Before moving to the location, try to start getting involved from a distance. Join the social media groups for the region, learn about the local culture, and try to set up a plan of activities to do when you officially relocate.
Most importantly, allow yourself time to be excited for the opportunities ahead of you. Relocating can be a fresh start or a new adventure that people need, so outside of planning and packing, take the time to be proud of yourself for the work you have done and plan to do.
While this is a good guide, keep in mind that you can always find a reason to not do something. Our recruiters are great at helping candidates relocate to their dream jobs, so connect with our recruiters today! Send in your resume or apply directly to an opportunity!