Whether you crave the palm trees of Silicon Valley’s San Jose, or the earthy richness of the Midwest’s Oklahoma City, you can take the steps to transition your career, and your life to a new city. Recently, Glassdoor published an Employment Satisfaction Report Card by City, and the list is a fascinating cross-section of the United States.
For recent graduates or more mature careerists looking to make a bold move to a new city, Glassdoor’s list offers insights into geographic areas where employers receive kudos from satisfied employees. As well, the number of employers hiring, business outlook expectations and more were factored in when surveying the 50 largest U.S. metros.
Switching cities is no easy task for most careerists and job seekers, however. Employers (generally speaking) prefer the easy button when it comes to hiring geography. Not only will you face relocation expense conversations, but also before you get that far, communications around interview logistics arise.
So, to make your case more compelling and tempt hiring decision makers to employ this extra effort, you may want to take some, or many, of these steps.
1. Look at the Big Picture. You want to move in three months? It will probably require six months, a year or more. Face that reality and then just get to work. Plan to labor a bit harder than you expected and employ a more creative plan to sell your value. You may even have to sacrifice something along the way (salary level, relocation expenses, job security and such), just to get your foot in the new city’s door.
2. Articulate Your Value. First and foremost, you must cultivate a good story – not one that is all about you, but one that positions you strikingly as a valuable asset to the target company. Don’t short-change this vital step.
3. Be Courageous. If, after you sent off your enticing resume story to several target companies and they still haven’t responded, then get out of your comfort zone and do a bit of sleuthing, researching and interacting. This can mean communicating with people in a specific company or interacting in some other way with folks who are industry and geographically related to your goal.
4. Take Action. Action creates traction. You never know where one connection will transition. Join an industry group on LinkedIn and begin contributing value. Respond to inquiries and conversations. Launch an exchange and provide insights and perspectives that are thoughtful, helping comrades stretch and grow while also displaying your expertise and achievements. Don’t go into sell mode; instead, let your value sell itself.
5. Keep Focused. Hold your specific intentions to relocate to your new city in front of you. Be clear on three to four key areas of value you offer your target employers, and weave those into conversations. Demonstrate how you can help them solve problems before you ask for the job interview.
6. Research, Continually. All the while, continually research and understand your target companies’ needs, so you can point by point express how you can be the one to help stamp out market share decline and build revenue back up to competitive levels (or whatever your solutions are).
7. Join Local Associations. If you haven’t already, become a member of your industry association. Ask to be assigned to a chapter that is local to your “target” city. Start reaching out to board members and committee members, and network. In fact, join or volunteer to take the lead on a committee. Be forthcoming that you are living in ABC city but wish to move to their city. As you are a paying association member, you are more likely to receive meaningful responses to your inquiries (versus just contacting someone in your industry out of the blue). If possible, make a trip to your target city and attend a local industry meeting.
8. Just Move. This may sound scary, but if your desire to relocate sooner than later is greater than your need for job security, consider saving enough money for several months’ rent and simply moving. Being in the city of choice while you job hunt has its advantages. You may also find a bridge job at your target city while you seek out your longer-term career role.
The bottom line is, there is no easy answer regarding how to transition to a new city and job. You will have to be patient, be determined and take action (then, rinse and repeat!). However, people regularly chase and capture their dreams, and if you really want this change to happen, it will!