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Want to Relocate Careers? Move First, Job Hunt Second

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Home might be where the heart is, but it's not always where the jobs are.

While research shows that more than half of workers are willing to relocate to a new city for a job, Odysseas Papadimitriou, founder and CEO of the credit card comparison website CardHub, said the key to landing a position out of state is moving before even applying for the job.

"While you might have thought geography to be a thing of the past given the Internet and its real-time communication capabilities, the difference between local and out-of-state job applicants is often getting hired or not," Papadimitriou said. "There is something to be said for face-to-face communication, after all, and wouldn't you expect hiring managers to prefer applicants who they've actually met in person and don't come with the added baggage of relocation costs?" [The Worst Cities for Finding a Job]

Papadimitriou said there are both pros and cons to moving to find employment. Among the positives are increased opportunities. He cited a recent CardHub report that revealed wide disparities among the opportunities available to small business job seekers in the nation's 30 largest metropolitan areas.

The report found that monthly salaries for new hires range from $1,890 in St. Louis to $3,665 in Washington, D.C.; average hours worked per week are anywhere from more than 33 in Sacramento and Las Vegas to almost 38 in Houston; and the number of small businesses per capita ranges from 14.9 per 1,000 people in Riverside to 30.3 in Miami.
Moving to a new city before starting the job search process can also be an adventure, according to Papadimitriou.

"Not everyone has the personality for it, but moving to a new city where you might not know too many people can be a fun and exciting experience," he said. "Think of it as an adventure, and you might happen upon some treasure."

There are negatives of relocating to a new city for a job, however. It can be expensive and scary.

"Some people simply don't like all that goes into moving – finding a new apartment, hefting a bunch of stuff from place to place, settling into a new routine, meeting new people, etc.," Papadimitriou said. "If you're one of them, you might want to take another crack at looking for a local job so you can at least give yourself some time to process the notion of relocation."

There are also no guarantees for job seekers that they'll have any better luck in finding work after they move, Papadimitriou added.

"While moving to a new city may make it easier to land a job, considering the preference hiring managers have for local applicants, it could also leave you in limbo while you look," he said. "Ultimately, the question becomes how to minimize the cons associated with relocating for work and truly put the 'pro' in your new profession."

Papadimitriou offers several tips to those trying to land the right job in a new city, including:

  • Make a plan: Finding a job, not just moving for the sake of moving, is the end game here. Job seekers should therefore do a bit of research into where the best opportunities in their chosen field can be found and set up some interviews before even taking a visit.  It's helpful to focus on cities in which a close friend or relative lives, as this will enable them to crash at their place for a few days as they interview and check out places to live. They can even use their address to make themselves appear to be a local candidate.  Hopefully, this will enable them to land a job before actually making a new city their permanent home.
  • Customize the pitch: When sending a résumé and cover letter to an employer, what those looking for work are really doing is pitching their abilities with the goal of attaining a job.  Unfortunately, many applicants hurt themselves by not customizing their pitch. Since every hiring manager is different, pitches must be different too.  Job seekers must explain –  briefly – why they are right for each position and why they want it.  If there are no good answers to these questions, then they have to ask themselves another:  Why are they even applying?
  • Be a private investigator: Not only should job seekers thoroughly vet a company before accepting a position there, but they should also vet themselves earlier in the process.  Specifically, change the settings on all social media accounts so only friends can see them and prepare thoughtful responses for any negative information that may turn up from a Web search of their name.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.