Should you consider relocating for a job?
Relocating for a job is a big risk that can bring great rewards. Before making this life-changing decision, consider these six factors.
There are lots of reasons that people move, but job offers are one of the biggest. In fact, about half of all people move for just that reason. Coupled with a job change, a move across town or across the country can feel even more complicated. Here are some ways to start sorting through all the reasons to consider relocating for a job.
1. Evaluate the job for its current "fit"
Whether you're moving to a new company or just transferring to a new location with your existing employer, do your research. Are you comfortable with the compensation, job duties, hours, commute time and office environment? An in-person visit can help you begin to gauge the company, as can contacts you can make through sites such as LinkedIn.
2. Consider long-term growth and goals
Think about the job opportunity within the larger context of your long-term career goals. Does it offer a boost in title and salary? Will you gain important experience or skills? Does it provide inroads to a new industry or bigger region? It's also helpful to think about the next job after this one: Are there opportunities in the area, or with the company, that can lead you to more challenge and growth?
3. Review the cost of living
When it comes to salary, location is everything. What could buy a mansion in a less populous Midwest city may not cover rent on a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. There are plenty of cost of living calculators that allow you to compare your current and proposed locations.
4. Engage with quality-of-life factors
Moving to a city that doesn't fit the interests and passions you have can quickly lead to regret. The list of your quality-of-life factors may be very different from someone else's, of course. For example, if you have children, you should check out the new area to make sure it meets your needs for schools and activities relevant to growing kids. If you enjoy museums, couldn't live without the snow and want to commute via public transportation, these factors are all things to look for in a new home. If you can, visit a few times and try to meet with people who already live there.
5. Discuss the effects on your family
Relocating for a job is more complicated when you're not single. You must have candid conversations with your partner about how the move will affect their personal and professional lives. Will they be able to find work or will they have to put their career on hold? Will your family have a social support network to help, especially if you have young children? How will you help your children adjust to the changes?
6. Negotiate moving costs
Selling a home, house-hunting trips, relocation costs and temporary housing can eat away any salary increase, and relocation expenses can no longer be deducted from your federal income taxes for most people. Find out what your employer covers, and check the fine print. You may have to reimburse relocation assistance if you leave the job before a certain date.