Professional Resume Writer, Career Writer and Career Coach
When your dream job posts, will you be ready? What if that dream job was in a faraway city or a different continent…would you move for it? Most of us have dreamed about what it would be like to accept a job in a new place at one time or another. But when it comes to actually making a move, it’s usually the logistical details that give us pause. The key to job searching in a different location is to have a plan.
Below, we’ll help you flesh out a plan for how to find a job in a new city — from research to planning and packing.
Set Your Mind & Find Benefits of Moving to a New City
Professionally speaking, moving to a new city can boost your salary and gain access to better career opportunities, depending on where you go. Personally, you might relocate to be closer to family, find a lower cost of living, or scope out a change of scenery.
They say that simply “living life” is the best way to learn and grow. Relocating to places unknown also helps you develop important soft skills many employers appreciate, like judgment and decision-making abilities, independent thinking, risk management, and innate curiosity.
Benefits of Finding a Job Before You Move to a New City
There are several financial and emotional benefits to finding a job before moving elsewhere. Here are a few advantages worth considering.
If you wait to move until you’ve got an offer in hand, you’ll rest easy knowing you’ll have support and can earn money from the jump. Some companies offer relocation assistance to help with moving expenses, but you must also consider other costs like rent, vehicle registration, and the local cost of living. Securing a job beforehand will allow you to live off of your savings with the security of knowing that another paycheck is on the horizon.
Find Peace of Mind
Keep in mind that this process includes two very stressful life events: moving and starting a new job. With one of those key factors out of the way, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with relocating to a foreign place.
Options to Plan Ahead
It’s easier to pinpoint where you should live once you know where you’re going to work, remote work notwithstanding. You’ll also know your salary before moving, which will also make budgeting easier.
Armed with proof of income, you’ll find a place to buy or rent faster. Leverage your offer letter as an income statement to help you reserve a new home. Without it, mortgage lenders and rental companies will view your application as less competitive and riskier than others.
Things to Do Before You Start Your Job Search
Contrary to what social media can suggest, most people plan before they uproot and relocate. Behind every #ontheroadagain social post is hours (months, even) of research, scheduling, and saving to live and work in a new area.
At the start of planning how you’ll find a job in a new city, you’ll feel like you’re climbing the steepest mountain during the harshest blizzard. So, take baby steps and follow this order before you move for a job.
- Refresh your resume and social profiles. You can’t job hunt effectively without an updated resume and polished social profiles. Ensure your resume includes your most recent work history and achievements, as well as your desire to relocate. Then, audit your online presence to match. If you can boost your LinkedIn with project examples and recommendations, do it.
- Alert your network. Now is not the time to operate a solo mission or embark on a fierce independent streak. Instead, get your people on board (the ones you trust to always have your back) and let them know about your intentions. Your colleagues, family, and friends can better assist and support you if they know the specifics of what you’re doing, who you’d like to talk with, and how they can help you get there.
- Identify a few targets. Ask yourself why you want to make the move and what it will take to get there. Will this change require more classes, licenses, or certifications? Envision your next chapter and put a plan in place to go after some targets. Browse job boards like JobSearcher, identify a few companies or positions of interest, and commit time each week toward achieving your goals.
How to Find a Suitable Job in a New City?
When it comes to trying to find a job in a new city, the process is not something you can just “wing.” We recommend that you save your “whim-like tendencies” for smaller, less permanent decisions like where to go for dinner.
Once you’ve decided a move is on the horizon, the next step is to figure out how to get hired. Here are a few tips for making it happen.
Research the Job Market
How’s the job market in the city you’re eying — are there jobs available in your field? For example, a move to the south might not be the best fit if you’re targeting start-up jobs in Information Technology. Also, consider typical hiring processes in your industry. Senior-level tech jobs usually move through their hiring process slower than healthcare organizations that work quickly to fill open roles. Plan your timeline accordingly.
Finally, take a trip or two before committing to a move to ensure you can picture yourself living and working in the region.
Make a List of Ideal Companies
Pick out five or so companies you’d really like to work for and get on their radar. This requires you to be more proactive than waiting for the job ad to post on LinkedIn. Pay attention to their company pages on Job\Searcher, and don’t hesitate to reach out to their hiring managers to introduce yourself and inquire about open positions. It is vital to talk to as many people as you can so you can stay informed and access information that isn’t “public”.
Change Your Location on Your Resume
Local candidates have an advantage in roles that aren’t remote-friendly. To overcome this obstacle, replace your current address with your intended address and timeline for relocation in your contact section. For example, you might write, “Relocating to Austin, TX in Dec. 2022.”
Detail your plans to relocate in your cover letter, explaining (in a sentence or two) your motivations for re-moving and how your expertise is exactly what they need in their next position.
Rebuilding Your Network
Local networking is vital. Search for online networking groups in the area you plan to move. There, you can connect with people in your industry. Then, update your current network on your plans to move and see if anyone has a contact you can talk to about local job opportunities.
Plan for Interviews at Any Time
If you’re not flexible by nature, now is the time to get comfortable with the unknown. Job hunting in a different city could require you to book an out-of-town interview at a moment’s notice. If you’re unavailable, they’ll find someone else who is. Budget for these travel expenses ahead of time. They’ll be hefty, but you can make the trip more worthwhile by attending local networking events at the same time.
Next to your resume, LinkedIn is your most powerful relocation tool, so ensure your profile is up to date well before you make any moves. LinkedIn Groups have made it insanely easy to connect with professionals living in your area of interest and working in the same sector. Most major metropolitan areas have local industry-focused groups you can join, introduce yourself, and contribute to discussions.
Also, set up job alerts by zip code and geographical location. You can also secretly make yourself available to recruiters in the region by adjusting your job search settings.
Discuss Relocations Options within Your Current Company
Depending on your role and the company you work for, it might be possible to take your job with you. One option is to ask your employer if you can work remotely and travel back to headquarters as needed. On the other hand, larger organizations are usually more open to transferring you to one of their offices in a new location. It’s worth having these transparent conversations before putting in your notice — if you’re lucky, you might be able to avoid a job hunt altogether.
Finally Consider a Seasonal Job
If you absolutely have to move and are unable to find a job before you do, then there are other options. Consider a temporary or seasonal job to help ease your worry until you can line up a more permanent position.
What to Avoid During Finding a Job in a New City
Relocation sounds fun and exciting, but you need to do some research before packing your bags. For one, make sure you’ll be comfortable in your new city. Spend some time exploring the city — not as a tourist, but as a potential resident. For one, can you afford it? (Silicon Valley is much more expensive than the midwest, for example).
Carefully calculate your living expenses and weigh them against your potential salary range. If you can’t afford to live, eat, and explore in your city of interest, consider other areas that are more within your budget.
Once you hone in on an affordable city, pinpoint a few residential areas you’d feel safe living. Avoid dangerous areas without a lack of public transportation if you don’t have a car, and target neighborhoods where job opportunities are plentiful. Research companies in the area and determine whether they’re profitable and built to withstand dynamic economic conditions. If you’re unsure about your ability to keep a stable job in a new place, then find a more prosperous city instead.
In short, you should AVOID
- moving without ever visiting the city
- not planning and calculating expenses
- not researching residential areas
- ignoring a company’s financial standings
Frequently Asked Questions About Finding a Job in a New City
1. How do I get a job when relocating?
The key to figuring out how to find a job in a new city is to have a plan — one that you start months in advance. Job hunting in a different location requires a well-stocked professional network, clearly-defined career goals, and an updated resume and professional brand.
2. What city is the easiest to get a Job in?
According to a recent CareerBuilder study, these are some of the cities with the most job openings:
- Bellevue, WA
- Tempe, AZ
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Sioux Falls, SD
- Springfield, MO
- Orlando, FL
- St. Louis, MO
- Tacoma, WA
- Cincinnati, OH
- Richmond, VA
3. Should you find a job before moving?
It’s best to put off a move until you have a job for financial reasons. Without proof of income, you’ll have a tough time securing a place to live and affording the local cost of living. If you’re lucky, your new gig might offer relocation assistance, too!
4. How far in advance should you look for a job when relocating?
In general, it’s best to start looking for a job in a new city about five or six months in advance. You’ll compete with local candidates, so be transparent about your relocation plans, and try to provide a definite moving timeline when possible. Hiring managers won’t waste their time with candidates who are merely “considering” a move.
How long the hiring process takes will depend on your industry. The current economic state might also affect how quickly and how often companies are adding to their teams.
When you’ve armed yourself with that ‘relocation” research file on your laptop, it’s time to make a move. Once arrived, strike up a conversation with everyone you can — while you’re pumping gas, buying groceries, and signing your lease. Finding a job in a new city can be scary, but the riskiest decisions usually reap the biggest rewards. Plan ahead and keep the rash decisions to a minimum. If you feel empowered and prepared, then allow us to be your cheerleaders. We say “go for it!”