Moving can be stressful. Job searching can be stressful. Moving and job searching at the same time? Crazy! Sometimes, relocating for a job or internship is necessary. Maybe the area you're from has a high unemployment rate or lacks opportunities in your field; or maybe you've always dreamed of working in technology in San Francisco or in government in Washington, D.C.
[See our list of the 50 Best Careers.]
Whatever your reason for relocating, here are some tips to job search in an unfamiliar area:
1. Check local job sites. There are often multiple job sites specific to any given city, and you can use Google to find them. A quick search of "find jobs in Chicago," for example, brings you to JobsinChicago.com and ChicagoJobs.com, among others. Use these sites to find jobs in a specific area.
Another great local resource is the jobs section of that area's paper—almost any city paper has this section, and most come with great job-search advice, too.
2. Network. Networking is the "holy grail" of any job search, especially one in a different city. Take advantage of any connections you have in your desired location—maybe they're in your industry or know people in your industry who can lend a helping hand. And when the time comes, make sure to return the favor.
3. Get informed. Informational interviews are invaluable—they give you an instant connection to someone in your desired field or at your desired company, they give you an opportunity to get important questions answered, and most importantly, they help you stand out as a potential candidate. Contact companies in your prospective new city and ask for an informational interview; if you can, make a trip to the city for the interview, or ask if you can do it over the phone or Skype. Prepare a list of questions, and make sure to thank the person for their time.
4. Fill in the gaps. If you're jobless while searching for employment in your city of choice, try to avoid having a big gap on your resume by filling that time with relevant activities. Take a class or volunteer your services to an organization—anything that can show a prospective employer that your skills in an industry are up-to-date while you're looking for a new job in a new city.
5. Save up. Moving is not only stressful, it's expensive. Make sure to estimate your relocation costs as much as possible; if you've already secured a job in another city, ask for relocation assistance. Some employers might foot the bill, or at least part of it.
Are you thinking of relocating for a job? Where would you like to work?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle.