Q. For lifestyle reasons, I am moving 500 miles to a new town. I’d be arriving with no employment. What can you tell me about moving without a job?
A. You’re wise to consider options before you pack. Too often I hear from clients *after* they’ve already moved.
(1) Identify a range of possible employers in your new city. Check each company’s website for “positions available.” Also go online and check local want ads.
(2) Find a position that appears to be at a level comparable to yours. Look in the fine print or call HR and say, “I am considering an application for this position. Are you recruiting nationally or locally?”
If they say, “Locally,” she’ll usually follow up with a comment like, “We do not pay relocation.” Go to Step 5.
If they say, “Nationally and we pay expenses,” just say, “Thank you.” Send a strong resume and cover letter. And keep reading.
(4) If your job is too senior or too specialized to be posted, you have to be more careful. Many companies recruit senior executives on a national or even international level. Some recruit all employees nationally and pay relocation expenses.
If your job level and your company fit this pattern, do not show up at the door and do not offer to pay your own moving expenses.
A long time ago, a wise mentor warned me,”If they get you cheap, they treat you cheap.”
Once you’re settled, you may be able to network to find a job with a local company, even if that company engages in national searches. You can certainly respond to posts for jobs. You’re already there so moving expenses won’t be an issue.
(5) Bring funds to cover expenses for up to 6 months – preferably 1 or 2 years.
When I lived in a small town in New Mexico, newcomers with graduate degrees were working as coffee shop baristas, store clerks, and house cleaners. Some (but not all) welcomed the transition to a new lifestyle.
(6) If companies hire for good jobs, but don’t pay relocation:
(a) Plan an advance visit and write to potential employers.
Be confident: “My family will be moving to Green City in September. I would like to meet you when I visit Green City in August, in order to discuss whether opportunities might exist for our mutual benefit. I will call you on July 20 to make an appointment.”
(b) Look for a temporary job. If at all possible, get one set up before you move. In fact, you might prefer a short-term position at first, so you can scout the city on a leisurely basis.
(7) Most important: Do not assume you will find a job because (a) you’re moving to a big city, (b) the economy is booming and/or (c) you’re amazingly talented. Do the research.
If you do find yourself stranded, get help. Some clients hire me *before* moving so they maintain continuity. Others choose to work with a local consultant after they’ve arrived.
The Good News: Nearly every newcomer finds new adventures, surprises and sometimes a whole new life.
More on moving: http://www.RelocationStrategy.com