When thinking about where you will be living after graduating, do any of the following phrases come to mind?
(a)"I want to move to (name of a city)."
(b) "I'm willing to move anywhere, I just want to live somewhere different."
(c) "I'm willing to move wherever I can find a job."
If any of the above statements sound familiar to you, Career Tips for Road Trips will offer some tips, suggestions, and resources on how to make scenario (a), (b), or (c) a reality.
Realities of Job Searching in a Different City
The truth is it's easier to do a job search in a city in which you already reside. You already know the area. You have a local telephone number and mailing address. You can be more flexible with making an appointment to interview or returning for a second interview. You won't need to make travel or moving arrangements.
However, it's not impossible to find a job in another city. Most people don't relocate unless they have a job waiting for them. If you want to move to another area of the country, you'll find potential employers at job fairs or through your college's on-campus recruiting program.
However, you may want to move to a specific city (not necessarily for a job), or you may be willing to move anywhere for a job, but may not have a specific company in mind.
If you're willing to or want to move, here's what you need to know.
Anywhere, USA Is a Big Place!
Life will be less stressful and your job search and relocation will be more manageable if you narrow your search to a particular city or region (your specifications should be narrower than "west" or "south.")
Consider the following factors when selecting a city or region to move to:
Cost of living:
- Can you afford to live in the area(s) you are considering?
- What is the average starting salary for the career fields you are considering? (Go to your career center for salary information.) Plug those numbers into a salary calculator (you'll find one at www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/salcalc.html) to compare the cost of living in various cities.
- Ask yourself: Can I afford to live the lifestyle I want in this city or am I willing to adjust my lifestyle as needed (get a part-time job, live with a roommate, use public transportation, go to fewer movies)?
- Climate Does the weather suit you? Is it hot or cold? Humid or dry? Does it snow much? (Do you like snow?)
- Economics What does the economy look like in this area? Is the region growing? What are the industries in the area? If you don't have a job in hand, will you be able to find a job in your field in the area?
- Social/cultural Are there things to do that match your interests: outdoor activities, book clubs, movie theatres, restaurants, volunteer opportunities, etc.? Are there young people moving into and living there? Is this a place you might want to remain, where you could raise a family (if a family is in your future)?
- Proximity to friends and family How important is it for you to be near them?
- Is public transportation convenient?
- What might your commute time be like when traveling to and from your office? In New York City, for example, some people spend one to two hours commuting to work!
- What travel options are available if you want to get out of town (bus, train, airplane)?
Make a list of criteria important to your quality of life and then do your research. You'll find your job-search resources will be helpful in planning your relocation.
Network, Network, Network!
A key resource in any job search is networking. It's also a great way to find out more about the city where you might want to live.
- Friends and family Have you told people your plans to relocate? Can they put you in touch with people who can offer information for your relocation?
- Alumni Make the most of the alumni network you are about to join! Contact alums located in the region where you want to live through your school's alumni association.
- Professional Associations Professional associations or societies serve as a great informational source for that profession. They also have local chapters or clubs that you can use as a resource for information on your new location, for an "instant" network, and for people who may be willing to give you advice on everything from where to live to where to get your hair cut. To locate professional associations, hop on the Internet and do a search.
Read the Newspapers
Get a copy of the local newspaper's Sunday edition. (Better yet, take a short subscription!) Read the business section, local/community section, arts and entertainment even the sports pages. Get to know this region you plan to call home. What industries are growing in the area? Which companies are staples of the community? Are any companies planning to move to the area? Visit newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com) to access online newspapers from around the country.
Explore the Colleges/Universities
Check with the career center at your school to see if they have contacts at colleges or universities in the area. You may have a built-in pipeline to information on industries and organizations in the area, potential places to find job listings, and other resources you can call on for help.
Research the Chambers of Commerce
A Chamber of Commerce is an organization that promotes the economic development of the particular region it represents and often has information you can use to locate potential employers and learn about the city or area. Check out the web site www.uschamber.com to locate the chamber in your choice city.
Other Things to Consider Before You Go
1. Determine your budget! What can you afford to rent? How much will utilities cost? (Remember that utilities could include: gas, electric, water, garbage collection. If utilities are not included in the rent, ask what the approximate monthly cost for each is.) Also find out how much cable and phone service will cost (Don't forget: You may also have a computer and want Internet service.) Plus, budget money for food, transportation (either public or gas money for your car, or both). And you'll still want spending money for dinner, movies, concerts, etc. Be honest when making your budget, but be willing to make changes where necessary!
2. Scour different resources when looking for places to rent.
- Newspapers are a great start (Hint: there are more places for rent advertised on the weekends than weekdays).
- Free apartment guides are often available in laundromats, lunch/deli-type restaurants, and grocery stores.
- Local Realtors may have rental listings.
- Drive through neighborhoods you wish to live in looking for "For Rent" signs!
3. Prepare for changes.
- Change your address: Fill out a forwarding address slip at the post office in the city where you are currently living. Be sure to contact everyone who sends you a bill or mail on a regular basis (credit card companies, loan agencies, magazines, cell phone companies, etc.) to submit a change of address.
- Change your driver's license: You'll need to change the address on your driver's license or get a new license if you are moving to a different state.
- Change your vehicle information: If you own a car and are moving to a new state, you'll need to register your car and get a new license plate. You may also need new insurance-check with your insurance agent.
- Change your bank: You'll want to establish a new account at a bank near your employer or home.
Moving to a new city is exciting! Remember to be patient. You will experience some stress, but having a plan will alleviate a lot of it.