By Caroline Levchuck
If you're just beginning your career or embarking on an entirely new one, you may be thinking about a change of scenery as well. How can you best decide which part of the country -- or the world -- will serve you best professionally?
Naturally, certain towns and cities are magnets for particular industries. New York City has Wall Street and finance jobs. Los Angeles has Hollywood Boulevard and entertainment jobs. Chicago has North Michigan Avenue and advertising jobs. However, while these areas represent the seats of these industries, opportunities still abound in many regions.
In other words, if you want to be a software developer, you may find a lot of opportunities in Silicon Valley -- and in other parts of the country as well.
Cost of Living
Typically, companies based in large metropolitan areas offer higher salaries. However, the cost of living is also higher -- perhaps to the point that a bigger salary won't compensate for it.
Create a budget based around living and working in different locales. Factor in what housing and transportation will cost as well as things such as entertainment. Make sure you're being realistic about your budget and always factor in socking away money for a rainy day.
Don't forget to take your lifestyle preferences into account. If you enjoy golf or tennis, pick a place to live where it will be easy (and within your budget) to pursue your favorite pastimes.
If travel is a part of your profession, the location of your home can mean the difference between a happy personal life and a miserable one. Think strategically about how close you are to a major airport and how accessible public transportation to it is. If you're in and out of airports with great frequency, you'll want to be able to get home and unwind in a hurry.
You'll also want to ensure that you can take as many direct nonstop as possible. When your only option is a smaller airport, you may have take connecting flights more than you care to.
Are you moving to an area that's experiencing economic growth? If so, that bodes well for your long-term prospects in the area. Even if you decide to change jobs or careers, a robust local economy will yield greater opportunity.
Contact local chambers of commerce for help in determining if the industry in which you work has a substantial presence in the area. This will be crucial in building a new professional network wherever you put down roots.