To move or not to move?  This is one of the questions that job seekers often ask themselves when they find themselves unexpectedly out of work or even just desiring a new and different opportunity.  Many folks tend to panic a bit too quickly and start searching ads nationally for opportunities that match up to their current skills, especially when they don’t see something immediate that fits in their current locale.  But relocating is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Here are three things to keep in mind if you’re considering moving for a new position.

  1. Consider your motivations.  Have you and your family been seriously discussing the idea of moving prior to the job loss?  If not, I would caution being too hasty about looking in other areas right away. Networking with others is the best way to find new opportunities.  I would strongly encourage prioritizing your local contacts first and avoiding becoming distracted with looking for jobs out of the area.  You can always broaden your search later if need be, but only very few circumstances I’ve seen over the years ever necessitated it in order to find suitable work.
  1. Most companies prefer to hire locally.  While some firms may cast a large net for applicants, they still usually tend to hire someone that lives closer.  Companies worry about a “boomerang effect” with workers from outside the area.  They don’t want to hire someone who is only taking the job as a stop-gap until they can eventually find themselves something back in their home area.  Many firms have been burned in the past by people doing this, so it isn’t a smart long-term strategy.  If however you are considering relocation to move closer to family, then this would be important to mention in the application and interview process to help alleviate the potential fears of the employer and to help increase your chances of landing a position.
  1. If you move, it should be for more than just a job.  In today’s economy there are no guarantees that your next employer will be your last, so moving just to take a job shouldn’t be done as a knee-jerk reaction.  In fact, I’ve known many people who moved to take a job in a different place only to end up losing it a lot sooner than they had ever imagined.  It is important to make sure you truly like the area you’re moving to and that there are good prospects for employment beyond the one you moving for.  Just because you relocated for the job doesn’t mean the employer will treat you more favorably when cuts need to happen.  In fact, it could work just the opposite because you have fewer ties to the area and may not have the same depth of relationships inside the company as others.

Relocating can be a huge blessing for some, while representing a fresh and exciting start for others.  But it could also become a huge nightmare, too.  I encourage anyone who might be considering this option to really take their time, be discerning, and not to rush this type of decision.

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