Moving to a new area is seldom easy, and the challenges of relocation can escalate dramatically for older workers, especially when coupled with a job search. By thoroughly checking out the job market and livability of the destinations you're considering before a move, you'll improve your chances of finding meaningful employment and get a handle on the stress.
There are several factors to think about when considering a move to find work, including the job market and your career interests and lifestyle preferences. Take these steps to ensure your new home is the right fit.
Test the Job Market Waters
Is your move fueled by a local jobs drought? Are companies downsizing or moving out of your area, or are you are currently -- or most recently -- in a field that's experiencing a downturn? Are you in an industry that's shifting to international operations and outsourcing work offshore?
Don't pack your bags just yet. Rather than throw darts at a map and hope to land in greener pastures, start with general market research in your region of interest and an overall employment outlook for your field of choice. Here are some helpful resources:
- Local Labor Market: Most states' official Web sites also have detailed labor market information. Find them via FirstGov's gateway.
- Occupational Outlook: The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook is available online. Search on your occupation or a new field you've been thinking about, and get a synopsis of the nature of the work, working conditions, employment stats and variables, training requirements and more.
Assess Lifestyle Preferences
Maybe you're a professional or on a solid career path but found the place of your dreams on your last vacation. Or, if you're tired of cold or rainy winters or can't stand the thought of another summer in the desert, destination research may top your list. Here are some references for you:
- Best Places to Be: Each year, Money Magazine publishes its "Best Places to Live" report.
- Get the Scoop: Many communities have daily or weekly business periodicals online that offer an insider's look at the state of local business. Check bizjournals.com and the Alliance of Area Business Publications site for current business news in specific locations.
- Ready to Move: Once you've zeroed in on a couple of preferences, use the extensive virtual relocation tools on Moving.com. There you'll find still more resources on finding a new home, orchestrating your move, and living and shopping once you get there.
Tap Friends, Family and Colleagues
Be sure to tap into your network for a more personal side to your relocation research. If you are a college grad or belong to a church, professional or fraternal organization, look up related contacts in your communities of interest.
Ask friends, family, neighbors and business associates what they know about Louisville, Boston, Seattle, etc. Find out if anyone has contacts in the areas you're considering. A personal connection makes a great foundation for a network in a new area.
Check It Out
It goes without saying that at least one in-person visit to your potential new hometown is also advisable.
Before you actually move, be sure you have documentation to support your work history in your current location. Get written letters of reference (or at least ensure contact information is current), gather examples of your work, and make copies of old job descriptions, performance evaluations, training certificates, newspaper clippings, etc.
No matter what field or destination you choose, be sure to factor in personal job satisfaction as part of the big picture. Not losing sight of long-range career objectives will allow you to set realistic short-term goals and help you stay motivated while tackling the immediate tasks of moving and settling in.