Should You Relocate For A Career Opportunity

Considering a career change? What if a recruiter came knocking and presented an opportunity that required relocation? Do you know how weigh the merit of the role to decide if  a move is right for you?

Unless the primary reason you're job searching is to accommodate a relocation to a new city based off a personal desire to move there, then deciding if you should relocate for a career opportunity isn't easy. And, with so many moving pieces to consider, a relocation for a new job isn't a fit for everyone.

Moving is stressful. A new job is stressful. Combine the two and you have a pile of stress to manage! When you add in the fact you’ll be leaving friends and family behind, sometimes a relocation is just too much to handle for some people. But, before you check the no thanks box on your next opportunity to relocate, weigh all your options and ask yourself these questions.

Are You Adventurous

My husband and I have moved to new cities and states several times in our career. We even moved once for a lifestyle choice, so we probably fall into the adventurous category. If you enjoy a change of scenery, love exploring new cities and are eager to broaden your professional and cultural boundaries, relocation is most likely something you will not only enjoy, but will thrive in the experience of.

Moving to a new city is exciting, especially when you're pursuing a career opportunity that supports your professional passion. While it is hard to leave friends and family behind, you're always a flight away. On the upside, your circle of friends will expand as you meet new people and you will broaden your cultural and life experiences.

However, if you find you're more comfortable with a daily pattern or predictable interactions with friends or family, a relocation will be hard. If you rely on a local support system to watch your kids, socialize or are simply comfortable with your life as it is, you may find a move to a new city extremely difficult to adjust to.

Take an inventory of your personal life before you pursue opportunities to move to gain clear understanding if you should relocate for a career opportunity. Will you be able to easily adapt to changes in a new city or will you find it all too much to handle? Be honest with yourself as you weigh your options.

Are You Financially Set To Relocate For a Career Opportunity

Some companies provide great relocation assistance, some don't. Depending on your job offer, and your ability to negotiate relocation assistance, a move could cost you some cash.

Selling a home, buying out a lease, packing and moving household goods add up quickly. If you're not able to negotiate a decent relocation package, or you're not prepared to outlay a large amount of cash to pay for your move, you'll definitely want to reconsider a relocation.

To determine the financial strain of a relocation, start by analyzing all possible costs for your move, including any cost of living adjustments up or down. If your new compensation and relocation package sets you back versus stepping up, a relocation simply isn't a wise move.

The only time you may want to consider a monetary loss to relocate for a career opportunity is if the career move is something that easily allows you to take a large step up in responsibility; thereby allowing you greater long-term career advancement. A short term set back to cover moving expenses is very much worth a larger long-term gain. Evaluate all angles before deciding.

Is Your Spouse or Partner On Board

If you're in a relationship and are not considering the other party, you're missing a major piece of the puzzle! As you go through each stage of relocation evaluation, constantly ask yourself how your spouse or partner will respond. Will they be supportive or will they fight the processes. If your spouse or partner is employed, how will a move affect their career? Is a relocation positive for both of you or is it one sided?

Ultimately you need to decide as a couple if you should relocate for a career opportunity. Will you both be made whole professionally and personally in the new city? If you're not on the same page and you decide to move anyway, I can assure you'll regret it.

Keep Your Mind Open, Only If It Makes Sense

For those of you reading this who have worked with me as your career coach, I'm certain my next statement won’t shock you:

“Don’t make a rash decision regarding relocation. If you're unsure, explore roles in other cities and make a decision once you clearly understand the career opportunity. Who knows, you may be walking towards the best move of your life, but you won’t know if you don’t look. However, if you know in your heart you don’t want to move and you’ll cry yourself to sleep every night in a new town, don’t waste your time or anyone else’s exploring roles that require a move. Be true to yourself .”

I believe in this statement wholeheartedly. Over the last 16 years of my career,  I've coached thousands of professionals on relocation and relocation analysis. It's been a pleasure watching careers change for the better after a move and painful to watch someone relocate who really should have stayed put. In the end, trust your gut and do what you feel is best. Friends, family and employers will all weigh in with what they want you to do, but ultimately if you follow your heart and passion, you’ll end up exactly where you should be!

Need Help Negotiating or Analyzing Relocation

Relocation is something you'll likely only do a few times in your career. Your lack of experience in this space puts you at a large disadvantage when it comes to understanding what you should anticipate an employer to pay for, or if relocating will truly provide you great career advancement. Understanding the short-term impact and long-term opportunity of a relocation is important. An Industry Certified Career Coach with professional experience in your field will easily help you weigh the pros and cons of relocation, while helping you develop a plan to negotiate your relocation and salary package. If you’re considering a relocation, consult with a professional before you quit your job, pack your bags and load the car! Start Now!

About The Author

Recognized nationally as an industry leader in resume writing and career coaching, Jeanna McGinnis, CPRW is a Founding Board Member at ReResumeMe and AVP, Career Strategy at A Players Executive Search Group Inc. Leveraging more than 15 years of experience directing hiring practices for multiple Fortune 100 companies, Jeanna and her team are refreshing how busy professionals brand, market and drive their careers. Please connect with Jeanna on LinkedIn or the ReResumeMe team on Twitter to simplify your career with updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!