Changing Cities for a New Job: What You Need to Know

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The prospect of moving to a new city is an exciting opportunity, but it’s not one without a fair share of challenge and stress. It also might be one that’s relatively unavoidable because in today’s fast paced, interconnected world, careers are rarely static. Sometimes, the only path forward for advancement is relocation. But it’s important to do it right. Establishing a new life in a new location is a daunting task, but with a good approach the transition can be smooth and productive rather than chaotic and disadvantageous. If you’re considering a big move in your immediate future, here’s what you need to know.  

Lock Down Your Approach

One of the most challenging aspects of moving to a new city is just how overwhelming the whole process can feel. With a seemingly unlimited list of factors to juggle and worry about simply getting moving in the right direction might be the most difficult challenge of them all. The first thing you have to do is decide what approach you’re going to take for starting anew. It might seem like a complex question, but in practice there are actually only two basic scenarios and you should choose the one that best serves your purposes.  You can either:

A) Already be in pursuit of one specific position at a company that you intend to move for if you land the job, or:

B) Plan on moving to the new city before having employment lined up with the intentions of launching the job hunt once you get there.  

Both approaches are valid and have their strengths and weakness. Option A carries less risk, and you’ll be more focused by being able to hone in on one a single opportunity. It’s also a comfort to know that out of all the challenges that the move will throw your way, having a steady income won’t be one of them once you get there.

Option B is a better approach if the destination is more important than the position you find. It also increases your chances of finding work because you can shotgun your approach and apply and interview for multiple positions which you wouldn’t be able to do if you didn’t already live there. It just takes more planning. You’d have to save up a decent nest egg to float you while you’re job hunting in a city with no income.

Do Your Research and Focus on the tangible

Figuring out if a city is right for you before you move is pretty difficult because it’s hard to know how you’ll feel once you actually live there. A lot of things that people love or hate about a location are completely subjective and, no matter what you hear, your experience could always be different. That’s why when you do your research you should focus on factors that will directly impact your life in a new location that aren’t a matter of opinion. Considering the number of restaurants in an area over whether or not people and reviews claim the food is top notch, for example.

This should extend to all aspects of your research. Focus on the facts and figures. Look into crime rates. Check out the school scores if you’re making the move with your family. Consider walkability and commute times. Most importantly, figure out the cost of living—and don’t forget to factor in how you plan on moving into your expenses. It’s not enough to know that housing might be more or less expensive, you should know the details of the local economy and how that will impact your daily life. Make sure to compare this to your anticipated income, and keep in mind that an exciting pay bump may work out to being less than you make now if you’re making it in a city that’s far more expensive.  

Weigh Out Your Options

When you select your new location of choice, or once you land the job you were pursuing, it’ll be time to figure out where you want to live. It’s an overwhelming choice that you can make much easier once you narrow it down to a specific neighborhood or section of the city to search in. You’ll have to take several variables into account when you make this decision, and you should weigh out the factors that are most important to you.

Every neighborhood is different and will offer various pros and cons. Ask yourself what’s more valuable to you: a cheaper neighborhood or a quicker commute time in a location that’s closer to work? Easy access to a mass transit station or a vibrant and hip community with lots of commercial activity and nightlife? Fortunately, these perks need not be mutually exclusive, and with a little due diligence, you’ll be able to find your ideal location. From there, it’s simply a matter of narrowing it down to the right apartment then starting your new life in your new dream town.