When job searching, I’ve noticed that most people focus on the job title, description, and company name. But, there are many more elements to the job search which should be taken into consideration when applying to and accepting jobs. Here are some hidden components that are largely overlooked.
Where in the nation or world is this company located? The cultures of small towns are different than big cities, and even each state has its own cultural descriptors. How people behave and treat each other, the language and accents are different, and people will know you’re not a native. Do your research on the city or state’s chamber of commerce websites, and if it has a website for travel and tourism that would be a good source to help understand the culture. If you’re moving out of the country, then you should do even more research on that country’s culture and start practicing your foreign language skills.
What is the climate and environment like? Climate and environment should be considered especially if you’re moving somewhere different than where you are now. Knowing how your body will respond to these new climate changes can impact your decision. For example, if you’re looking at a job in Colorado or any mountainous region, and you’ve only known flatlands then your body may need to take time to adjust to the thinner air (this could be especially serious for people with asthma). If you’re used to a warm and dry climate, and move to another climate that’s warm and humid then your body will have to adjust to a tropical environment. The environmental changes are numerous, so if you have any chronic conditions make sure you consult your doctor about any problems you might encounter with the move.
Cost of Living
In association with the geographic location job seekers should also be aware of a city’s cost of living. Fort Wayne, IN is one of the most inexpensive cities in which to live, while San Francisco, CA is one of the more expensive. A salary in San Francisco needs to be at least 40% more than a salary in Fort Wayne to gain the same level of living. Check out how your city compares, and what level of salary you need to make in another city, at Co$tofLiving.net. You can also check out how salaries per job vary by state at Career One Stop.
It is very expensive to move and not every company will pay for your moving expenses. You should calculate in how much it will cost to move when determining your budget. Costs that could be included with moving are rental trucks or trailers, labor, packaging materials, storage, insurance, down payments on a house or apartment, and mileage. To move just 100 miles, you could be paying $2500 for a one bedroom apartment or up to $7000 for a 3-bedroom house. Go to Relocation.com or Moving.com for help with estimating your costs when moving.
This component to consider is closely related to the first one discussed, Geographic Location, but this section considers what your interests are. Do you like concerts, museums, sports, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, horses, theatre, or something else? Does this new job location allow access to your favorite activities? My best advice that I can give to anyone interested in moving is take a vacation there first. When you spend a week in a city then you can usually get a good snapshot of what it has to offer. Check out the local restaurants, attractions, the visitor’s bureau, and even some of the other local companies and organizations in the area to gain a full aspect on what makes the city “tick.”
This hidden component is something that should be considered during the interview process as well. Remember that you are interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. Note the interactions of the co-workers, any comments, behaviors, and non-verbals from people that you meet. Combine that with the research you do online about the company’s mission and services, and you should have a fairly accurate picture of the company culture. It’s just as important to like the place you’re working in and the people you’re working for, as it is the actual job you’ll be doing.
One last thought… If you’re close to your family and want to have the option to visit them, then you’ll want to consider the ease of visitation for both sides. Determine the availability for you to return home for visits and for them to visit you, and also take into consideration the cost to them, for that vacation/visit to your new city.
Karen is a Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At IPFW she assists students in finding internships, coordinates and assists with campus-wide events, teaches a Career Planning course, and meets with students individually to assist them with all aspects of career development. Connect with Karen via LinkedIn or Twitter.