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What to Do When You Want to Relocate for a Job

Craig Zelizer

March 10, 2022

Job relocation is a reality. Whether you’re a recent college graduate still looking for that first job or an experienced professional ready for a career change, there are countless reasons why someone might want to change your address for your job. If you are in the middle of a relocation yourself or are contemplating a big move, you can help ensure a smooth shift with the following tips.

Do Your Research on your Target City

Before you up and move, make sure that you've done good research on not only your new city, but also on the city's state, region, and/or country.


Even if you are moving to a comparable urban area, it is still worth investigating the cost-of-living rate in your target city or region to see how much more (or less) you can expect to spend on housing, utilities, groceries, and other living expenses in your new city.

Your "New" Market Value

Just because you have a good sense of your professional value in your current role and city doesn't mean that the same metrics will translate in your new place of residence. While some industries may pay a certain rate no matter where you are geographically, most salaries will coincide with the cost of living in the region. Salaries in expensive, urban areas (such as New York City or Washington, D.C.) will almost always be a bit above the national market average just because it is more expensive to live in those cities. By comparison, cities in more rural or less expensive cities may afford lower salaries (i.e., $60,000 in San Francisco, CA may be comparable to $40,000 in Little Rock, Arkansas). Know your "new" market value and the salary ranges you should be looking for and expecting for a new position.

Culture and Lifestyle "Fit"

While this probably goes without saying, first impressions of a place (whether positive or negative) are often deceiving. If you visited a city and fell in love with it, chances are that building a life and routine in your new city is going to be vastly different from what you would see on a two or three day vacation. If possible, it is always a good idea to physically visit your target city and explore the neighborhoods beyond the main tourist areas, especially those neighborhoods that have housing options in your price range where you are most likely to live. While the "culture" of a city may be more or less important for different people, the worst possible scenario is that you uproot your current life and routine to move to a city that you ultimately end up hating, so do your best to ensure that you could actually see yourself living in your new city before you make the big move.

Broadcast Your Desire to Move

Once you’ve decided to move, it’s a good idea to alert people to your plans, as you never know what kinds of connections your friends, family members, or colleagues may have in your target city. Your network may then be able to help connect you to job opportunities in your target city or to new individuals who can help you get settled or become part of your support network.

On LinkedIn

There are two spots on LinkedIn where you might want to advertise your desire or intention to relocate. The first is in your profile headline and introductory paragraph, although this may not be a feasible option if you are currently employed and looking to keep your job search hidden from a current boss or current colleagues. The second place is under your "Career Interests" section (https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/career-interests), where you can not only open up your profile to recruiters, but you can also specify specific cities or areas where you are seeking employment. Once you turn your profile "on" to recruiters, LinkedIn will also give you space to briefly describe what you are looking for in a new role, and you can reiterate that you are actively seeking employment in a particular place in this paragraph. Do remember that while LinkedIn takes measures to ensure that your current employer cannot see that you are open to recruiters, it cannot guarantee complete privacy.

To Your Current Employer

If you believe the organization might be willing to relocate you to your target city or region, it is worth considering a discussion with your current employer about your desire to move. You never know what opportunities exist until unless you ask about them! Alternatively, if you've already decided to leave your current job and are on good terms with your boss, he or she may have some network connections that he or she might be willing to connect you with in your new city.

On Your Application Materials

If you are applying for jobs before you move to an area, it is essential that you highlight your desire and/or intention to move on both your résumé and cover letters. While an out-of-state address is not necessarily a "dealbreaker," hiring managers will likely consider local applicants first, since they can be easily brought in for in-person interviews, are likely going to be able to start a new position sooner, and almost certainly will not ask for relocation compensation. Given this, you should take every opportunity you can to indicate to a new employer that you will be an easy applicant to work with even with the distance between you.


  • If you have moved prior to landing a new job, or if you are about to move, update your physical address (or at the very least, your city and state) to reflect that you are a local or soon-to-be local.
  • If you are moving back and forth between your current city and your soon-to-be city as you job hunt (and are staying with a friend or family member), consider listing your Permanent Address in your current city as well as your Local Address in your new city at the top of your document.
  • If you are waiting for a job offer before moving and are unable to travel to your target city beforehand, you might consider adding a line at the top of your document header indicating that you are actively looking to relocate to your target city/region.

Cover Letters:

  • As with any job application, your cover letter should mostly speak to how you are the best fit for the role and company to which you are applying. However, if you are applying as a non-local, you might consider mentioning that you are actively looking to relocate to the city/region where the position is located in either your opening or closing paragraph.
  • If you are planning a move to the area by a specific date regardless of your employment status, be sure to highlight exactly when you will be in the employer's area so the the hiring manager will know when it would be feasible to easily interview and/or hire you (i.e., "by the end of Fall 2017" or "at the beginning of January 2018").

To Your Friends, Family, and Professional Network

Again, you never know who your friends, family members, and other professional contacts might know in your new city. Even if your own connections are unable to connect you with anyone else, it never hurts to have a support network in place when making a big life change!

Practice Phone and Video Interviewing (And Answers to Relocation-Focused Questions)

If you are proactively applying for jobs before you relocate or you need a job first before making a big move, be prepared for many rounds of phone and video interviews. While some employers may be willing to fly you out for an in-person interview or request that you find a way to show-up for a last-round, in-person meeting, the reality is that most if not all of your interviews will be taking place remotely or virtually. Also be prepared to answer questions related to your relocation plans.

  • Run mock phone interviews with a friend or family member to get used to talking with prospective employers without being able to read body language or facial expressions from your interviewers.
  • Practice your "stage presence" for Skype or video interviews and record yourself answering potential questions before a big interview to see how you perform. Remember that eye contact reads differently over video and that you need to look at your camera (not your interviewers or your own video reflection) to maintain that eye contact. Prepare your interviewing space in advance and make sure that you have a neutral backdrop in a space free of distractions.
  • Consider how much time you would realistically need to relocate between a job offer and a start date. Employers are often looking to hire as quickly as they can (but are often willing to work with the "right" candidate), so expect to be asked about your timeline early on in the process.
  • Clarify whether you will be seeking relocation costs before you go into the interview, just in case a prospective employer asks. Relocation costs can sometimes be a "dealbreaker" for employers, but a lack of relocation support may also be a "dealbreaker" for you.
  • Based on your market research, have a realistic salary range ready to go in case you are asked (remember, you can’t necessarily ask for a new company for a huge raise if you’re moving from, say, Washington, D.C. to Salt Lake City, Utah because the cost of living will be much lower in Utah, and salaries will be greatly depreciated compared to D.C.).

Confirm the Details

Determine a realistic moving plan based on your finances and a realistic moving timeline based on your current life situation. Make sure that you consider the following questions and pieces of advice before you make any big plans or changes.

  • Are you moving "no matter what" by a specific time, or do you absolutely need a new job first? If you are quitting your current job or moving first, how long can you support yourself financially before you need to take some kind of work in the interim? If you're waiting to get that job offer first, how much time do you realistically need between a job offer and your first day to relocate, and what will you do if the organization needs you to start sooner?
  • How much stuff are you planning on bringing with you? Will you rent a moving truck and drive yourself and your possessions to your new home, or will you sell everything you own and travel lightly by plane? How much will each option cost in time and money? If you're going to sell everything, make sure that you leave yourself enough time to divest yourself of your possessions via Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace before moving day.
  • "When" you move is just as important as "how" you move. For example, in the United States, summer tends to be prime time for moving, so moving companies will book up months in advance and will often charge higher prices than they would in the middle of fall or spring. The housing market in your destination may also fluctuate depending on the time of year, so depending on what month or season you land in your new city, you may have more or fewer housing options.
  • Again, alert your friends, family members, and professional connections to your plans once you finalize a moving date so that you can find some support as you move and when you land. Relocating for a new job can be extremely exciting, but it can also be incredibly costly and stressful. Set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork for a support system before you even get to your new home.

Good luck with the move!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on September 24, 2017

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