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Relocation Dos and Don'ts

Relocation Dos and Don'ts

Larry Buhl

In a tight market, many job hunters cast their nets wider to include not only a variety of industries, but also other cities and states.

If you're considering searching for a job in another market, remember that it takes even more research. And you'll need to consider several variables that might not have occurred to you, experts say.

Here are some relocation dos and don'ts:

Do:

  • Research Companies: Just as you would in your own city, target specific companies you'd like to work for. Research the target companies and hiring managers, and network into the company using multiple contacts.
     
  • Research the Area: Is climate important to you? Do you prefer the throb of nightclubs or the drone of crickets? Can you afford to live in Manhattan, for example, on the salary you're likely to command?
     
  • Set Up a Reconnaissance Trip: Schedule face-to-face meetings with all the people you've been networking with via phone, email and the Internet. Make it clear that you're interviewing at several companies in the area -- it will let them know you're serious about relocating, says Susan Whitcomb, author of Job Search Magic and president of Career Coach Academy.
     
  • Assure Employers: Hiring managers expect you to provide a good reason for moving to the area. Having family in this area, wanting a simpler lifestyle away from the commute of the city or desiring a better climate are all logical reasons for moving. "I'll move anyplace I can find job" will not reassure employers.
     
  • Learn Where the Jobs Are: "If you're a scientist, it makes sense to look at hubs that are booming for biotech, such as Florida, California, Boston and North Carolina," says John Heins, chief HR officer for Spherion. Heins adds that it's important to look at the overall job market as well. If you move across the country and get laid off six months later, consider the chances you'll find a similar job -- or any job -- quickly, he says.

Don't:

  • Fish: If you paper the country with your resume, it will be pretty clear that you're fishing, which will make you look scattered. Stick to the proven strategy of targeting companies within one industry first, and make your pitch and your reasons for relocating as specific as possible.
     
  • Expect a Company to Move You: Unless your expertise is in strong demand, employers aren't paying for relocation expenses anymore. Have enough -- or more than enough -- money for the move. That means truck rentals, security deposits, transportation costs, and at least several months of cash to cover your rent or mortgage on your current home.
     
  • Ignore Your Family and/or Significant Other: Will you be able to find good schools in the new location? If your spouse wants to continue her marine biology career, how likely is it she'll be able to do it in Kansas?
     
  • Forget the Follow-Up: After your reconnaissance trip meetings, send thank-you notes within 24 hours, then touch base within seven to 10 days, or the appropriate amount of time agreed on in your meeting with the contact.

And don't forget to go beyond mere statistics when investigating a new area, Whitcomb says. "There's nothing like a drive through the neighborhood during the day and night to get an accurate feel for a city and its neighborhoods," she says.

If you're considering relocating within your current company, most of the dos and don'ts still apply, according to Heins. "However, you have to look at the politics of your company and consider whether relocating for a job would give you a career boost, or even save your career if your current job is going away," he says.
   
Useful Relocation Tool

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