Moving to find work

I answered a question on LinkedIn about nationwide job searches and moving to find work. That subject comes up regularly. Therefore, I’m posting the answer here with some minor edits.

In this market, you have to recognize that it’s not the employer’s problem that you live out-of-state. The company is likely to have plenty of good candidates. That said, it’s incumbent on the applicant to be available, flexible, and willing to make it work.

You need to do all of that without whining to the employer, who often has doubts about not hiring a local person anyway. Be prepared to be on the work site quickly, if you get the job. The logistics of moving is your problem. You aren’t being hired to be babysat, and it’s not up to the employer to make life convenient for you.

Does that sound harsh? Many people with solid experience, degrees, and good skills are lined up for jobs. Some of the best opportunities may not be local. One person I know got three offers out-of-state, but nothing local came through.

If you are unemployed, you have to decide whether having a paycheck, benefits, and a tight budget are better than being uninsured, on unemployment, or out of unemployment. Start thinking about the possibility of other locations as soon as you need to look for work. You’ll be in a better position to make it work if you don’t wait until your resources are exhausted.

Family matters are a personal issue. Some people can, and will, take a job and simply state that it’s a necessity. Others can’t deal with family pressure when there’s dissension. Know where you stand before you try to make a move this big. If you are asked how the family feels about the move, you probably can’t lie that well.

Always check the cost of living (COL) before looking for jobs in a new area. Can you really take a job at the same salary and move to an area with a 28% higher COL? Price cheap living options in a new job location. Do you have a camper? Check for small RV parks with cheap monthly rates, and look at studio apartments with utilities paid. Then, reduce your current budget to bare bones. Know where you stand. Also, be sure you are a person who can live on a shoe-string and maintain absolute control of the budget. Locate resources before the interview and be prepared to move quickly and make informed decisions.

Also, if a job offers relocation, be sure to ask what that means. A relocation of $7,500 may cover relocation for a single person with a small apartment, but it may not even cover the moving van–much less the incidentals–for a family with large home. Relocation no longer automatically means a full package deal. Remember, it might take a long time to sell a home too.

There are questions you need to answer before you make a commitment. Are you willing to live apart from the family for a year or more? Will the salary allow you to pay for travel home? Can you rent your home and manage the maintenance from a distance? Do you have friends or family who can act as property manager–without straining the relationship? Is the job in an area you want to live? Or, is your goal to be employed in your present hometown when the economy improves? Do you understand that once you take a job out of town it may be harder to get one in town again–especially in the near future? You’ll be in the same position–again, in reverse. Does your spouse have to work? Is he/she willing and able to relocate? These are just some of the key questions.

If you present yourself with confidence, the employer’s misgivings will be greatly reduced. The fact that you’ve done your research and have answers for his concerns further assures him/her of your ability to handle the changes. If you’ve been through successful relocation previously, be sure to point out those successes too.

The fellow with three offers out-of-state took one of those and ended up making more money than he did before he was laid off, even when there wasn’t a job to be found locally. It’s all a matter of what a person is willing to sacrifice to make it work. Any nationwide/international search requires planning, organization, and sacrifice. There will be unexpected changes and challenges.

You may need to pay for the interview travel costs yourself too. Don’t count on softening the employer on that. Don’t interview for anything you don’t really want either.

Six No-No’s During A Holiday Job Search

Keep up your job search over the holidays. Although you may be busy and want to forget the problems for a while, so does everyone else. Take advantage of the holiday season and keep actively looking for the right position. Be willing to schedule an interview the day before or the day after a holiday. Be available and demonstrate that your job search still has priority. If you are there, while someone else is out of town, you may end up on the short list in a hurry.  While this is the season to be jolly, there are some things that you should not do.

  1. Don’t wear the Santa socks and a reindeer tie to the interview. Save the humor to entertain others after you are hired and know whether this company is a fit for that type of humor.
  2. Don’t talk come to an interview obviously suffering from last night’s party.  If you can’t hide it and function at your peak, don’t party before an interview.
  3. Don’t bring gifts or food to an interview. Your heart may be in the right place, but those things may be against company policy.  Drop the food gifts on your friends, family, veterinarian, beautician, barber, doctor, and others you know.
  4. Don’t serve liquor, if you arrange a networking party during the holidays. You won’t have to worry about everyone getting home safe (there’s liability for hosts in some states). You also won’t have to worry about anyone misbehaving from over indulging.
  5. Don’t be late due to traffic or weather. Promptness demonstrates your ability to plan and control your schedule. Check the weather reports and allow enough time. If you are early, you can review your notes or take a few moments to visit the restroom and relax a bit. Of course, you don’t have control over flight cancellations or delays, but you do control your personal schedule and transportation.
  6. Don’t decorate your resume for the holidays. It will stand out, but not in the way you intend. Save your creative talents to help decorate at home.

Now, enjoy your holidays and keep looking for that perfect job. You could end up with a lot more reasons to celebrate!