If you’re planning to relocate without the promise of a job waiting on the other end, you’re probably well aware that it’s a tricky and scary move. That doesn’t, however, mean it’s a bad one! Consider the following points to maximize success, and minimize disaster.
Research the job market, especially for your field
As in, don’t move to San Francisco thinking you’ll work for Fox News. Don’t move to a mining town with an advanced degree in environmental protection (actually, do, but don’t be surprised if the opportunities are sparse). The job market is a bit depressing in most places, but going to Silicon Valley with a resume sporting computer engineering experience is a hell of a lot safer than going there without one.
Budget for where you’re headed
New York City will break the bank a lot faster than Missoula. Look up average rents and cost of living, and know before you go how long your savings will last without an income.
Generally, it’s much simpler to job hunt when you don’t have to fly across the country for an interview; it can make perfect sense to move somewhere in order to find a job on the ground. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should go in blind. If possible, make some professional contacts before showing up, ones that can point you in a good direction or who can keep you in mind if a position opens. You can also network non-professionally. Asking people—whether ones you know personally or ones you meet in chat rooms—about what it’s like to live and job hunt in your new city can vastly increase your comfort when you first arrive, and might shorten the time it takes to find work.
Plan an exit strategy
Having an exit strategy doesn’t mean planning for failure, it means planning to never be sleeping under a stained tarp on the street. If you’re wildly unhappy or wildly unemployable in your new place, even after giving it your best shot, things will go much smoother if you have an easy way out of the situation. Before you move, figure out what you’ll do if it all goes to hell. Maybe you’ll move back with your parents (hey, we’re all doing it these days), maybe you should sublet your current apartment until you’re sure you won’t return. Whatever it is, you’ll be more comfortable knowing you have an out.
Have you ever moved before you had a job waiting for you? Tell us about your experience here or on Facebook!