How I Prepared to Relocate and Made it Work

2009 May 18
by Grace Boyle

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.

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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.

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  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

     It really just depends, but with so many apps and resources like PadMapper, Air BnB or Craiglist there are tools to accommodate people. I had a friend go with Air BnB in the interim, then they had a nice place to stay and could find a place when they were acclimated to their new town. Landlords all vary depending on if you have an income or not, but it’s not too bad…

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  • Parkmana

    The expensive part is traveling to a prospective location… and then going back home to spend even more on the final move.

  • methew giffen

    Hiii @ grace boyle;

    nice post ;and thanks for sharing it with us. and i really appreciate your hardships and dedication while moving to a totally new place and adapt youself with the conditions over there. its always verry difficult for someone who dont want to leave his/her home town , but due to any reason we need to relocate may be because of new job or transfer. so its always helpful whwn you call a local movers and relocating company to assist you while moving.

  • Mamie Degenstein

    Dear Grace,
    My husband and I want to move from Arizona to northern California. He needs a job, but I think it is not feasible for him to go back and forth going to interviews between states. At this time, our finances won’t allow it I feel we should sell our house and use the proceeds to move and rent a house there. Then he could start looking for jobs. What is your input here? By the way, your article was excellent. I need all the help I can get.
    Sincerely,
    Mamie

  • Mamie Degenstein

    How can I get a reply to my question?

  • http://graceboyle.com/ Grace Boyle

    Hi Mamie – I just sent you an email. There really isn’t one answer here and I’m no expert, but I sent a bit more detailed information and thoughts in my email to you directly :) Thanks for sharing. Best of luck too!

  • NRBX

    Grace, thank you very much for sharing your experiences! My wife and I are looking to relocate to Denver, from Florida, this year but we haven’t been able to get interviews or at least potential leads to employers. She’s a software developer and I am a regional sales manager for a consumer electronics company. We are desperate to leave but we’re afraid of moving without a job first. Do you think it will be easier to land a job while already living in the city?

  • http://graceboyle.com/ Grace Boyle

    Of course – I know it varies for everyone too. I know that it’s risky, but I have found it is easier to land a job when you’re local. Denver/Boulder are desirable places and people are moving here all the time. For that reason, it’s far more competitive than people might think. Amongst a stack of resumes if your address says Florida and the rest Colorado, that in itself may be hard. I might suggest connecting with a local Colorado recruiter so you can try from afar or perhaps just save a lot in advance so you have a pillow when you land here. Obviously, easier said than done but I noted it really helped as I got to know people when I was here and was able to meet for coffee, network, go to events, interview, etc. at the drop of a hat. Made myself available (if that makes sense). Best of luck to you!

  • Danny Archer

    I agree with you. Unplanned relocation can cause a lot of tensions. So, it is important to plan the move.

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  • Sarah Miller

    Moving is indeed a challenging task. But then, if you have properly planned for it, it can be made a lot easier. Thanks for sharing such tips. Surely, it will help a lot of those planning to relocate. Related info at http://monarcamovers.com/