In this day and age with jobs scarce and candidates plentiful we often talk about setting yourself apart from the pack. One of the things I am starting to hear more and more from employers is: Are students willing to relocate for a job?
This can be a complex topic as you could be leaving your home town, friends, family, and your comfort zone. You may want that hot internship or job, but how much do you want it? Are you willing to relocate or at least go somewhere else for a period of time? If you are like me and you live in sunny California, are you willing to go somewhere that has vastly different weather? Likewise, if you are from a large or small town, are you willing to go to where the work is? It is in your best interest to evaluate every opportunity that comes your way.
Risk versus reward perspective
I like to look at things from a risk versus reward perspective. For instance, is it worth it for you to take a great opportunity in another state if it could set you up for long-term growth? What are you risking and what do you have to gain?
You may want to do a “Personal SWOT Analysis” similar to how Shannon Reed suggests you do with your personal brand.
View relocation through a lens
I think that the best way to look at relocation is through a combination of factors including:
- The market
- Your life situation
- Your values
- Realizing that all things are temporary
Use these four sections to understand the impact of relocation and if it makes sense for you.
#1 The market
The market is probably the most significant factor when looking at relocating.
If you are not able to find work or you find that the majority of the jobs you are interested in aren’t located near you, there are choices to consider. You can either pursue your dreams in a new area or you can try to find similar work if available near where you live.
Additionally, if you are considering moving to another location you should examine the cost of living for that area. For example, your rent and living expenses will highly differ depending on the location you move to. This can be surprising when you factor in the cost of rent, gas, and other living expenses.
Here are some great resources I found to help you examine costs:
#2 Your life situation
Your life situation can dictate if you are able to make a move.
As a student you may have concerns such as finishing your degree, finding a job/internship, and other stressors. However, after you leave school your concerns may change. You may get married, have children, buy a house, or have other life changing experiences. Wouldn’t it make sense to examine if relocation is something you should do before you encounter these stressors?
This is something you should carefully consider with your significant other, family, trusted friends, and others in your inner circle. Consider making an appointment with a counselor at your school’s career center to process some of these ideas with an objective source.
Values are the core principles that should determine what you do, who you spend your time with, and how you think about the world.
I try to incorporate the exploration of values into my work with students as much as I can. Your knowledge of your values can assist with any job search, but you may want to think about them even more if you are contemplating relocation. When examining a job opportunity, it is important to understand if your system of beliefs and the core values of the organization where you may work are in alignment. If your values conflict with what you will be asked to do, it will present a significant challenge to your satisfaction and possibly your integrity.
If this is something you haven’t thought about, the following are two exercises I use with students to examine their values:
#4 Everything is temporary
In the beginning of your career, it is important to remember that some experiences are temporary stepping stones that can lead to additional opportunities.
It is pretty common knowledge that you will work multiple careers throughout your lifetime. I have seen quotes that state that people will work anywhere from 5 to 9 careers in their lifetime. Therefore, if you relocate for 6 months or two years- in the grand scheme of things how long is that really? This may very well be the stepping stone you need to get your career on track.
While moving away from your home town may be a tough decision, you do not have to make this decision alone. Think about some of the aspects that I have highlighted to get a head start on this subject.
Have you ever considered re-locating for work? Have you ever done it? Please let us know and add your tips to the comments section.
Joe is a career counselor at San Jose State University. His areas of specialization include: experiential education, resume development, interview preparation, job search strategy, and assessment inventories. In his role, he also serves as the community manager for the Career Center’s social media outlets. Connect with Joe on Twitter or follow samplings of his work via the SJSU Career Center Blog and Facebook fan page.