My disclaimer: I’ve relocated twice in the past five years, both times were over 1500 miles away. I’m may not be an expert, but I’ve done it both times with general success and I am a proponent, especially while you’re young. This is my candid advice on how to prepare to relocate for a career.
My relocation journey: Vermont–Iowa–Colorado, 2004-2008
You’re ready for something new. You’re ready to leave your hometown. You’re about to graduate college and don’t want to move back home. You’re not alone. Experience.com revealed in a study that 85% of Gen Y indicated they were interested in relocating inside the country, and 70% even said they’d consider moving abroad if presented with the right opportunity.
This is how I planned my relocation:
–Pick cities that are analogous to the industry you want to work in. If location is important to you, then focus on a place you’re dying to check out and live in but be sure the career you’re looking for is available. Check out listings like top cities for recent grads or Forbes’ Best Places for Business And Careers.
–Create a relocation strategy. Basic planning such as financial saving, picking a date to move, potentially visiting the city prior to your move, finding a place to live and budgeting are all important in relocating. Don’t undershoot with your finances. Preparation is key.
–Seek to acclimate yourself as much as possible to the local economy, media, business and lifestyle of the city of your choice. Before I moved, I subscribed to Boulder’s top newspapers, contacted the Boulder Business Bureau for a relocation package, regularly read articles about Boulder, created an RSS feed for “Boulder” on Search.Twitter and conversed with people already in Boulder through e-mail and Twitter.
–Leverage your resources. I contacted my Alumni office and asked them to generate a list of graduates who currently lived and worked in Boulder. I then asked everyone I knew (professionally and personally) if they knew someone in Boulder. This ‘networking list’ I generated eventually led to my current job.
–Research and be proactive. Where do you want to work? What kind of employers are in your choice city? I created a document of the companies I wanted to work for in Boulder. I researched them, found out who worked there, connected with them on LinkedIn and kept tabs on their job listings. By the time I got to Boulder, I was well aware of businesses in Boulder and where I wanted to work.
-Stay on employers radar. Although I was traveling a bit prior to my move and living in my hometown I would consistently e-mail my ‘network list’ to stay in touch which helped to establish a relationship with them. When my moving date was finalized and when I heard a company had a new job opening, I would get back in touch. It’s important to be persistent within reason. Once employers or contacts saw that I was coming soon, I arranged for interviews 2-4 days after I arrived. It feels good to arrive with appointments, meetings and interviews.
–Be open minded and ready for adventure. Sometimes I felt like I was climbing an uphill battle, but in my deepest moment of frustration and confusion, I remembered I made this move for me and the adventure it would bring. Don’t be easily discouraged and be flexible. There is room for career growth and change. Shooting for the moon is admirable, but remember there are many other stars and constellations to learn from in the meantime.
You’re not crazy for wanting to relocate even during these times. In fact, many graduates have to consider relocating if they want to obtain their preferred job. The more open you are to relocation, potentially the more opportunities will be available to you.
Go for it.