As the job market becomes more and more competitive, qualified professionals are realizing the importance of location flexibility. This is particularly true if your current city has few opportunities in your field or a dense population of professionals with your expertise. It’s all about supply and demand. A nurse in a city with only two hospitals stands a better chance of career advancement if they move to a city with 10 hospitals. Similarly, a highly industrialized area is always in high demand for experienced and qualified engineers and architects.
The desire to relocate is shared by many of today’s professionals. Studies find that 59% of employees are willing to relocate for a new job in another city and 44% prefer relocating to another state. While there are many reasons why employees choose to move for a new job, the declining state of our economy seems to be the most significant reason for relocation. As the cost of living continues to increase, professionals are seeking a break in more affordable, cost-efficient states. According to the Black Enterprise’s 2010 Top Ten Cities for African Americans, Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dallas are amongst the top five. But before you turn in your resignation letter, pack your bags, and call the movers, there are certain things that you should do in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Do your research. The last thing that you want to do is to begin looking for a job in a city that you might end up hating. Find out as much as you can about prospective cities such as facts about the cost of living, the education system, the nightlife, the seasonal climate, and the cultural diversity. Then list the pros and cons of each location and narrow your search down to your top three choices. Visit web sites such as Sterling’s Best Places and Findyourspot.com for rankings and statistics on various cities. Most importantly, plan to visit your city of choice for that first-hand exposure.
Plan. Plan. Plan. Relocation can be a very tedious and time-consuming venture. The best way to prepare is to plan in advance. Once you’ve selected a city, you can’t just start sending out your resume and expect everything to fall into place. It’s best to map out when you plan to make the move; how much you can afford to spend; and when you plan to resign from your current position. You must also determine whether or not you’ll be able to quit your current job before you have a new one and where you’ll live when you first move to the new city. Make a relocation budget, implement a strict savings plan, and set time-specific goals for your job-search and networking pursuits.
Upgrade your self-marketing package. While many employers encourage relocation, there is still a large majority that refuse to offer positions to out-of-town candidates. This makes the competition for relocation positions very stiff. In order to increase your chances for selection (and maybe even an expense-paid relocation), it is extremely important to have a professionally created cover letter and resume. Your cover letter should briefly explain your desire for relocation while your resume succinctly showcases your skills, accomplishments, and areas of expertise. A simple Word template isn’t good enough anymore.
Though a long-distance job search can be stressful and uncertain at times, the more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be to land that dream job in your dream city.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.