5 Tips for Surviving Relocation

Commuters holding train handrail

There are a lot of reasons to move to a new area. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes you need to. Sometimes you just want to. Regardless of why you’ve packed your bags, one thing’s for sure: when you get there, you’ll need a job.

Finding a new job in a new town can be tricky. Aside from all the other adjustments you’ll need to make to your new surroundings, relocating can put added strain on the job search process.

We asked Aerotek recruiters for advice on how to survive and thrive when you’re new in town.

Know before you go

There’s a lot about your new area that you can’t know until you arrive. What are the best rush-hour shortcuts? What kind of music does your next-door neighbor like? What’s the best pizza place in town? Some things just take time. But before you arrive, there are things you can and should learn about your new area.

Before you settle on a new living space, take a look at a map of your new location, and do a series of searches: places to work, places of interest to you, different housing options. Aerotek’s Matt Wiehe says, “A new town can have different traffic patterns and modes of transport, so picking a centralized location and knowing where things are located before committing to a company can be very helpful.”

Aerotek Senior Professional Recruiter Jackie Ross recommends, “Understand the market to the extent you can by educating yourself on cost of living in comparison to where you’re coming from.”

Set a budget

Everybody knows moving costs money, and if you’re considering relocation, you’re probably no stranger to your own personal balance sheet. But setting a budget is about more than money. It’s also about time.

Matt Wiehe suggests taking time into account while you calculate your budget for living expenses. He says, “By knowing what you need to pay your bills, you can calculate how long or short a time before you need to find a job.” Knowing this information can make a big difference in how you plan out your job search.

Jackie Ross agrees, and gives another reason why it’s important to gauge the cost of living in your new town, adding “You should know how cost of living impacts your required expenses, and use that figure to get an idea of what you should be asking for from a salary perspective.”

Manage expectations, within reason

In an ideal world, you’d have a lucrative position all lined up and waiting for you, with a great company that’s willing to help you pay for moving expenses. Very few of us live in that world. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a job that offers a little less than you’d hoped as a foot in the door in your new location’s job market.

Keep in mind that your career is a journey, and it can take time to develop. Ross admits, “Sometimes when a candidate is new to town, they might not have a realistic expectation of what they’re looking for.”

But Matt Wiehe cautions against a first-job-best-job approach, adding, “Too many people ‘just need a job’ and tend to take the first thing they find without really understanding that they may be setting themselves up to recreate the whole process of finding a new job again very soon. Doing research and knowing the type of places where you want to work first can make the whole process much more streamlined and better in the long run.”

Go local

If you can, lean on the connections you have in your new area. As Jackie Ross says, “If you aren’t knowledgeable enough, then engage someone who is.”

Matt Wiehe notes that there are ways to go local before you even arrive. He says, “Look online or reach out to the local chamber of commerce to find out what companies are in the area and do research on them before moving. If there are not a lot of companies in your chosen field in that area, then you may need to expand your search or even consider a career shift.”

Get help

If you’re looking to relocate soon and need help getting settled in, remember that you have options. While it can be especially tough to crack into a new job market in a town you’re unfamiliar with, there are plenty of resources available to ease the transition. Seasonal, temporary or contract work is a great way to get started if you’re in need of income.

One benefit of pursuing this kind of work is you’ll be able to work with a veteran recruiter who knows the job market in your new town better than anybody else. For example, expert Aerotek recruiters like Jackie Ross and Matt Wiehe have decades of experience helping recently relocated job seekers just like you.

And if you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. You can create a free career account today to customize your search.