This is a guest post from Jaime Chapman. She is the CEO of Begin Within, a career services firm.
Make a Plan
The decision to relocate is a big deal. On job applications the decision is impulsive as you simply check a block: “Willing to relocate…Yes”
If you are thinking about moving to a new city for a job—do as Santa does, “He’s making list and checking it twice.” Santa Claus successfully makes billions of overnight deliveries and there are a few lessons we can glean from his savvy as a master logistician.
Create a master moving plan that will help you organize your relocation.
When you create your moving plan, account for personal and business items so you can seamlessly access the things you list all in one place.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy of the Career on the Move Guide
Search for jobs before you move
Do not make the mistake of moving first and job searching later if you are moving to a specific city. If you are smart, you will have a position lined up and have your new company pay for your relocation—saving time, heartache and money.
If your current company can accommodate telework, it is possible to negotiate working from home in your new city while getting settled. If you eventually want to work in a face to face role, teleworking buys time and generates income while you apply for new positions.
Sometimes, we cannot control the situation. If you are jobless in a new city, there are a few additional employment options that can bide time and pay the bills while you search. One option is to take on a side project, freelance gig or side hustle in anticipation of a period of unemployment.
Although it’s not ideal. there’s always the option to “flip burgers” and fall back on temporary jobs or lesser-level positions in the industry you are best qualified. For example, accepting a position as an Administrative Assistant rather than Executive Assistant or an Engineering Assistant rather than Supervisory Project Manager. To everyone, “flipping burgers” means something different.
Related Reading: Colorado Springs Business and Job Opportunities
Leverage your social capital
Start tapping into your professional and personal networks long before your move. People are your number one career asset. The following are some useful strategies that can help you stay in touch and come to mind when a new opportunity becomes available.
LinkedIn evangelists are real and they are awesome. There are plenty of LinkedIn profiles that collect cobwebs, but people who actively use LinkedIn are abundant and are powerful allies to have in your network. Collect LinkedIn connections. Make a habit to connect with everyone you meet in person on LinkedIn. Classmates, colleagues, neighbors, members from your religious group, people you meet at conferences and events, your local government, people you receive business cards from, and friends and family.Search online for top key words for your field and implement them into your LinkedIn profile. This is called LinkedIn Optimization. Optimizing your profile helps you get found by people (and recruiters) in searches. Be active on LinkedIn. Re-post articles, comment on posts, send messages to your connections and publish your own articles.
- Old Messages.
Each day check the oldest message in your email, text, and chat inboxes and strike up a conversation with an old friend. A simple message will do: “Hey, it’s been a while, how are you? I hope life is going well. I’d love to grab a coffee and catch up.” LinkedIn creates automatically generated messages for events like birthdays and work anniversaries, so take advantage of that tool. It’s an easy way to stay in communication with your connections.
- “Elevator Pitch” and “Punch Line.”
Create on an “elevator pitch” and a “punch line” to quickly and clearly articulate what you do and why you’re good at it. At networking events and in casual introductions, the elevator pitch and punch line are a secret weapon that quickly weed out irrelevant encounters from fruitful ones. The ultimate goal is to be the first person that your circle of influence thinks of as an expert in your field or when an opportunity opens up.Attend industry specific events in your area. Despite online applications used by most companies, the “good ole boy system” is the often most effective way to transition into a new role for one simple reason: hiring managers would rather hire a familiar stranger than a total stranger. To read more in-depth information, check out our article How to Introduce Yourself for examples.
- Make the ask.
Don’t suffer in silence if your career has taken a nosedive in your new city. There is a hidden market full of opportunities that are never posted online. The standard hiring process is costly and time consuming. Sourcing professionals and recruiters often gravitate towards referrals and warm leads to generate high quality candidates for current or future vacancies. Most people give serious consideration to a vetted recommendation that was passed along from a trusted referral source. Whether applying internally at your current organization or externally at other companies, opportunities will reveal themselves if you make the ask and tap into your network.
Related Reading: Colorado Springs Relocation Guide
Research your industry in the new area
Researching your industry is key to success in transitioning to a job in a new area. Utilize LinkedIn to make connections with people in your new area and start conducting “Informational Interviews” with decision makers in your industry.
Online research can be a godsend for researching salary and cost of living data in the areas you are considering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides wage data for over 800 occupations in 395 metropolitan areas. Several job search engines, including Glassdoor and Indeed, provide pay information where you can search by company or job title and find salary data. If you are interested in working for the Federal Government, the Office of Personnel Management provides pay tables.
Don’t be afraid to make a career change
Moving to a new city can be an opportunity to pivot in an entirely different career direction. Most people “switch” careers three to four times throughout a 30-year career. Just because you studied marketing, does not mean that you have to work in the marketing field. You have many skills apart from creating Don Draper style advertising campaigns. You can write, sell, manage people, teach, you are tech savvy and can create videos and basic graphic designs. You are talented and can do many things.
Each person is in the center of a spider web where each spindle of the web represents different talents and abilities that can lead down a wide variety of different potential career paths. This creates endless opportunities for you to use your talents without being pigeon holed into a single career. The good news is that no matter what path you choose, you can always change your mind later.
Resign with class
A major consideration before relocating to a new city is resigning from your current position. As a part of your moving plan, you should factor in the amount of time you need to give notice to your current employer. It is especially important not to distract your colleagues or get lazy as you wrap up your job. Work hard through the finish to guard your reputation and leave on a good note. Ask your supervisor for honest feedback on your performance, a letter of recommendation, and to be a professional reference as you apply for new positions. Read our Resignation Etiquette 101 article for an in-depth guide to resigning from your job with class.
Hit the ground running
It is tempting to settle in and nest when you relocate and move into your new home. Resist the temptation to become a hermit crab and unpack boxes for weeks on end while the energy and momentum of your big move is still behind you. Use that energy to your advantage, get out there and start shaking some trees.
Print professional business cards that include your name and contact information. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need “a company” to have professional business cards. Immediately start breaking bread with your local LinkedIn connections for coffee, lunch and dinner and conduct informational interviews without asking them for any favors. Attend all the local conferences, Meet Ups, networking events and industry specific events in your area. Introduce yourself to literally everyone including your new neighbors, parents/teachers at your kid’s schools, people at the dog park, church members, grocery shoppers, anyone and everyone you come across (and hand out your business cards.)
Be patient and give yourself some grace
Moving is always a stressful event. Maintain a positive attitude and use the momentum of moving as a catalyst to make the changes that you want to make in your life. Job searching AND moving simultaneously is double the stress. Know that there will bumps in the road. Give yourself permission to fail and be rejected. Practice self-care and ensure that you maintain vigilance and resilience throughout this transient time in your life.