With graduation approaching in May for many seniors, you’re probably starting to think about what lies ahead for the summer. Some of you may move home temporarily, others might be planning to stay more permanently. If your home town is experiencing slow job growth or has a very competitive entry level market, you may want to consider looking at other cities or different parts of the country.
- Cities experiencing the fastest-growing wages: A list like this may even allow you to determine which industries are growing, and in what cities.
- Cities with opportunities for college grads: Lists abound, including these from Forbes Magazine, Monster.com and Yahoo Real Estate.
- State-by-state employment data: Once you select a city, you might want to check out the employment trends in that state.
You can also search for top cities for jobs based on your career or specialty. For example, when you do a Google search for “top cities for tech jobs,” results include lists compiled by Forbes Magazine and US News and World Report. A quick search for accounting jobs returned a site called LedgerLink which provides a list of the top 25 cities for accounting positions.
And, don’t forget about how you’ll be spending your time after work. Consider the Great Cities for Young Adults list that can help you find a location that appeals to your interests, perhaps with great museums or art galleries, a great nightlife or outdoor activities.
A move is a major undertaking and should not be taken lightly. After all, depending on the job, you may be forced to pay for some of the move out of your own pocket–so research is critical. Beyond finding the perfect match in a location, you also need to factor in several other factors, like salaries and true cost of living comparisons.
- Salary.com – This site offers a number of tools, including their salary calculators that provide insight into average salaries for virtually any career.
- PayCheckCity.com Calculators – That salary you’ve been offered sounds great, but do you know how much you’ll lose in taxes? Find out your true take-home salary.
- Cost of Living Calculator – If you make $15/hour in St. Louis, MO, how much do you need to earn in Chicago to maintain your lifestyle? What can you expect for the cost of housing, utilities and food?
- Housing Costs – Many students will be looking for their first apartment after graduation. Check out ApartmentFinder.com or Apartments.com to see average rental rates in your destination city and gain other valuable information about moving and setting up your first place.
- America’s Least Expensive Cities – When you consider an area with a lower cost of living, your starting salary may be able to stretch a lot further.
Use your networks
Beyond the resources above, ask people you know if they have ever visited the area or, better yet, try to visit the area yourself. Former classmates, school alumni, fraternity/sorority contacts, family friends and relatives are all great resources to help in your research. Who knows, maybe someone can offer a temporary place to live, or suggestions on where to live or help in finding a job in your career field.
And, don’t forget to connect with other professionals in your career – contact members of professional associations in your destination town/city and share your future plans, ask for advice and try to schedule a time to meet on one of your visits. Building a new network is key to your success. And once you have narrowed it down to a few cities you may be interested in, do your job search. Some companies, like Sodexo, even offer geographic searches on their Careers sites to help in your hunt.
Relocating to a new city can be exciting. Don’t be afraid if you find a great city that is nothing like the one you grew up in. A change of pace and different surroundings can be a wonderful life experience!
Michele is a Senior Recruiter for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a former assistant director at the University of Maryland University College’s Career and Cooperative Education Center, she’s no stranger to students trying to plan their careers. During that time, she worked with non-traditional college students to gain school credit for on the job work experience. Michele also taught seminars on job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, and partnered with local employers to help students gain employment. At Sodexo, she has continued her interest in shaping student careers by serving as a mentor to an intern in the company’s Future Leaders Program. Michele began her recruitment career in 1999, joining Sodexo in 2008 where she recruits for a range of food, facilities and environmental services positions. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park (go Terps), is a charter member of a Baltimore area Toastmasters chapter, and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) and Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). When not giggling with her two girls, Michele enjoys writing … and watching the Yankees win, much to the dismay of her husband. Join her on LinkedIn or just Network with Us at Sodexo.