Are you thinking about relocating for a job? It isn't always easy, and you might assume you'll have to pay for your own relocation expenses. In fact, many companies will assist new employees with relocation packages. If you're flexible and do your research, it's possible to tap into job markets outside of your area.
Atlas Van Lines' 45th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey provides useful data that job seekers should consider regarding relocation. For example:
Are you thinking you may want to jump on the bandwagon (or the moving van)? What should you consider when planning to relocate for a job? EDC Moving Systems Relocation Consultant and Atlas Van Lines Affiliate Andrew Bridges suggests you do your research ahead of time, especially since many companies expect a quick reply when asking you to relocate. "New job seekers or transferees should research specific cities and areas on their own regarding schools, housing prices, and other factors that would influence their decision to move," he notes. "Many cities have websites that provide information to those considering relocation. This will help determine if you and your family will be happy in the new location."
How can you identify a company's relocation policies ahead of time? Bridges explains: "Typically, any official corporate relocation policies will be discussed in the interview process. Each company and the benefits they offer vary, so policies may not be obtainable online." With that in mind, it's a good idea to try to find information about relocation via networking. Ask people in your industry and in the company where you want to work. It may depend on how in demand your skills sets are for the company, but you can usually uncover useful information when you ask the right questions.
Always be prepared to negotiate a move. "Everything is negotiable," Bridges says, while also noting that most corporate policies allow for exceptions. For example, "One of the biggest exceptions and items being negotiated is temporary housing. Candidates should be sure to mention if they need that up front. Typically, as you move up the corporate ladder in the company, exceptions are more likely."
What is usually covered? "Most corporate relocation policies cover anything in a standard home, such as personal belongings and contents of the home," Bridges explains. What should you think about when it comes to your relocation? "In addition to detailing how the moving expenses will be covered by the company, corporate relocation policies will provide information on other factors, such as relocation bonuses, repayment provisions should the employee decide to leave the company within a certain time frame, and if the company will pay for a pre-assignment site visit," he says.
Bottom line: Don't assume anything when it comes to relocating for work. If you're a strong candidate, you may be eligible for benefits that would make it easier for you to consider an out-of-town job.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.
Corrected on 6/13/2012: An previous version of this story incorrectly identified Andrew Bridges as an affiliate of Allied Van Lines. He’s an Atlas Van Lines affiliate.