A Guide for Finding a Job in a New City

A professionally dressed young adult standing outside a large office building and celebrating while holding a job offer

Finding a new job in a new city can be an exciting but stressful proposition. Following through could conjure new methods of career advancement and countless other opportunities, but moving can be an expensive and challenging process. This second point is particularly true if you’ll be moving to a big city in an unfamiliar area or need to make accommodations for any pets you’ll be bringing with you.

Preparation is key when it comes to successfully moving and finding a job in a new city. Being financially prepared, knowing when and where to look, and making smart decisions in regard to your current job are all essential components of successfully pulling this off. This guide will provide advice to help you maximize your chances of finding and securing a job in a new city without experiencing financial troubles.

Prepare Financially for a Career Change

There are many expenses to keep in mind when planning for your move and a new job. In addition to setting aside money for moving expenses, you’ll need to consider the cost of living changes at your new home and building an emergency fund. To illustrate how these concerns might play out, consider a hypothetical scenario:

  • You’re going to move from a city in Kentucky to one in Delaware, and you anticipate that the total moving costs will equal approximately $1,400.
  • The cost of living — including utilities, groceries, and all other basic needs — is approximately 20% higher in your new state. This means that, if you pay $2,000 for basic expenses in Kentucky, they will be closer to $2,400 in Delaware.
  • In case your new job doesn’t work out, you’ll want an emergency fund of at least three months of basic expenses.

How much money would you need to manage this transition?

  • $1,400 for moving expenses;
  • $2,400 per month for basic expenses, multiplied by three for an emergency fund = $7,200.

In this hypothetical example, you would need $8,600 to be financially prepared for this transition. This is just under the amount that the average American household has in savings. But what if you have no savings? Assuming that, by cutting excess spending, you can save $200 per month, it would take just over three and a half years to get the savings needed to move without accruing debt.

As you can see, the process of getting financially prepared for a job in a new city can take many months. However, there are also some strategies you can employ to reach your savings goal:

  • Create a budget: As demonstrated above, a budget is necessary to help you get financially prepared for a job in a new city. This will help you determine whether you can afford day-to-day “extras,” such as trips to the local coffee shop and restaurant outings.
  • Look for a job with a relocation package: If you are able to secure a job prior to your move with an employer who offers relocation packages, you may be able to offset some of the costs of moving. Additionally, moving expenses may be able to be written off on your income taxes, which can be a nifty benefit when it comes time to get your tax refund.
  • Consider getting a furnished apartment: If you’re aiming to streamline the process of getting settled in at your new home, getting an apartment that is already furnished can reduce the amount of money you will need at the outset. This can help you get started at a new job sooner.
  • Take advantage of apartment relocation benefits: Certain apartment real estate companies offer perks to households who continue to rent from one of their properties after moving. Avalon Communities is an example of a real estate company that does this. Their Relocation Advantage offers free time and storage to individuals who are moving from one of their properties to another.

What Is the Best Time to Look for a Job?

In general, it’s a good idea to get started with your search a few months prior to your move. Some employers will not be interested in job seekers who require several months of lead time before getting started in their new role. On the other hand, waiting too late can cause you to be stuck without a job or prevent you from discovering viable positions. In most industries, waiting until two to three months prior to your move can help you strike a good balance.

This is only a rule of thumb, however; a variety of factors can determine the best time for you to begin your job search. Depending on the type of job you’re looking for and the area you’ll be looking in, a job search can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. For senior-level positions, this search generally takes longer. Your flexibility in terms of your start date will also impact your employment opportunities.

Look for Local Jobs in the New Area

To maximize your chances of finding employment that meets your specific needs, it is important to locally target your search. While it may be tempting to keep your options as wide as possible by being generous with your search radius, doing this often results in poor job satisfaction and performance. You can target your search by using job boards and using your local address when appropriate.

Sign Up with Job Boards

To find local jobs in a new city, you can either use local job boards or use popular job boards and search by location. While the first of these may be self-explanatory, the latter may require a little guidance.

In fact, major job boards often have features such as the ability to browse jobs by location. By searching for jobs in your intended area (or in nearby areas that will be accessible to you), you can be sure that you’re applying for opportunities that meet your transportation preferences.

Use a Local Address

While some websites will claim that you don’t need to include your home address on your resume at all, some employers will not consider a resume that lacks an address. However, some employers will also not consider resumes from out-of-state applicants. To maximize your chances of getting fair consideration for a position, it’s prudent to use a local address to the employer.

While this can be difficult to do for individuals who have not yet found a new home, it’s advisable to include this if possible. Remember that you can discuss the specifics of your move with potential employers further down the hiring process — after they’ve given your experience and skills some serious thought.

How to Network to Find a Job in a New City

If you have any friends or colleagues at the city you’ll be moving to, they can be a valuable resource when it comes to searching for work. You can also aim to connect with as many other people as you can, which will help you expand your professional network.

If you need ideas for avenues to expand your professional network, consider the following strategies:

  • Keeping in touch with local friends and family;
  • Forming connections with professionals in your niche on LinkedIn, as well as other social media platforms;
  • Using any alumni networks you may have access to;
  • Attending industry-specific conventions or speaking engagements;
  • Reaching out to job recruiters in your field or in the local area.

Following through with these strategies can help you extend your influence in your field of interest and unearth new job opportunities that you might not find with a simple search on job boards.

How to Prepare for an Interview

In the months before your move, be prepared to interview at any time. You may need to be able to travel on short notice to participate in an interview, so be sure to have some paid time off available. At this stage, it can also help to explain your situation with your current employer, as this may help you get some increased flexibility.

Given the potential distance involved with job interviews at a new location, potential employers may be willing to interview you over the internet in a video interview. If this is the case for you, be sure to keep your interview clothes easily accessible. Be sure to maintain a professional demeanor during video interviews, and keep your background as uncluttered and clean as possible. Doing this will project a positive image of yourself for potential employers.

Further, be sure to do some “test interviews” with friends or family to assess your performance and troubleshoot any technical hiccups prior to a real interview. It can help to familiarize yourself with the most popular video interview software so that you can anticipate any potential issues.

Maintain Your Current Employment

If you enjoy your current job and see opportunities for career advancement, you might not need to seek out a new job just because you are moving. Depending on the nature of your work and your employer’s remote work policies, you may be able to continue doing your job after moving. If remote work is an option for you, be sure to follow these best practices:

  • Invest in the Right Tools: Your employer may be able to provide some of the hardware and software you’ll need to work remotely, but you’ll probably need to make some investments to make this option viable. Not only will you need an adequate computer to complete your work, but you may also need to shell out extra cash for a faster internet connection to complete work-related tasks efficiently. Speak with your employer for suggestions on what you will need to maximize your chances of success in this transition.
  • Be Communicative: It’s important to be attentive and responsive to questions from supervisors and peers. You should also be willing to ask questions when you need clarification on a task or are experiencing difficulties. Making a habit of going silent is a sure way to lose your employer’s trust and, potentially, your job.
  • Designate an Area of Your Home as Your Workspace: One of the worst things you can do is start working from your bed or from in front of your TV. These areas might be tempting, but they can be devastating when it comes to productivity. Instead, create an office space where you can focus on work with as few distractions as possible.

If remote work is not an option for you, you may be able to maintain your current employment by requesting a job transfer. Do some research to determine if your employer also operates in the new area you’ll be moving to. If they do, start a conversation with your employer about potentially transferring. This can be a great way to transition to a new city while reducing the uncertainty and stress associated with searching for work.

Consider In-Between Jobs

If your job search is not proving to be fruitful, consider expanding your search to include seasonal or temporary positions until you can find a permanent one. While these positions may not have the long-term job security you’d like, they can be a great way of learning new skills, forging new professional connections, and earning money to help you remain financially stable while you find your next job.