Whether or not to relocate is a question that’s very likely to come up in your job search—especially given our current economic shakeup. The job just may not be where you are. But for many people, it seems like a huge risk to pick your life up and move. It’s a fact that relocations are a risk. But who’s to say that it’s not also a risk to stay where you are?
Unless you’re the one with the crystal ball, you don’t know what’s going to happen with the job market, the housing market, the organization you currently work for, your kid’s school situation, or any number of other factors where you are.
Meanwhile, relocating for a new job can offer benefits you haven’t considered. It’s a great opportunity to see another part of the country and experience cultural differences that we have even in different parts of the U.S. A willingness to relocate can boost your chances to land the job you want, and it might be your only chance to find a position that’s not available where you are. It might even be a better job than you would qualify for in your area because of a shortage of these types of folks in the new area. If the new job is in a high-growth location, it could lead to lots of advancement opportunities. And sometimes, changing who you work for is the quickest path to a salary increase. Exciting possibilities all around….
Here are some things to think about when you’re considering the decision:
• Most companies offer some kind of relocation assistance that they’ll tell you about up front. It could include things like a house-hunting trip, moving costs, closing costs, or short-term rental help until you get settled in. Some companies have made big changes in their standard relocation packages in the last few years, but don’t let that deter you. If what they’re offering is not working for you, it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you need. But ask it toward the end of the process—it’s part of the negotiation. It’s not going to be a deal breaker for them that you’ve asked, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
• Do plenty of research on your potential new city. What’s the cost of living there, and will your new salary be enough for you? Will you have to commute? Will your spouse be able to find employment there, also? If you have kids, have you checked out the schools?
• If you’re really nervous, try to find ways to make this a reversible decision—rent before you buy a house in the new location, or even go without your family for a few months so you can test the waters before you uproot everyone.
Remember, nothing is forever. Go get the job, gain the experience. You can always move back to wherever in 2 or 3 years…with new knowledge and a fresh perspective.