College grads aren’t in the position to be particularly picky when it comes to accepting their first job in the current labor market, and some students might be finding themselves moving to start their career.
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A 2012 study from CareerRelocate.com and CareerBuilder shows that 44% of workers surveyed said they would be willing to relocate for a career opportunity and 32% of employers reported they would be willing to pay to relocate new employees.
Moving to a new city, town or another part of the country can be an exciting prospect, but grads should consider how the position and location aligns with their long-term career goals, says Scott Traylor, campus director for Online Education at Bryant & Stratton College.
“Honestly assessing your commitment to a company, the economic growth potential in the city you might relocate to and your personal ambitions are all important factors,” he says.
Visiting the potential new hometown will help students get a feel for the environment and lifestyle, says Chris Hall, senior vice president of Digital for moving resources company My Move.
“Find out what people do on the weekends, [if there are] other people like you there that have the same interests and hobbies,” he says. “Moving is one of the most stressful things that you can do and starting a job is a stressful thing, so make sure that you have that network of people that you can lean on.”
Here’s what experts say grads should know before packing up and moving to a new hometown.
Estimate Moving Costs, Cost of Living Adjustment
“It's best to lay out a budget that includes everything you'll spend money on, research your move and know how much it's realistically going to cost,” says Kelly Eidson, co-founder and head of product at moving technology company Moveline.
Eidson recommends grads account for a variety of costs: leaving their current home (breaking a lease), transporting their belongings (hiring a moving company, mileage, storage), moving into a new place (down payments, security deposits), and what they will need to set up their new home (furniture, utility activation fees).
It’s critical that grads research the cost of living adjustment for a new town or city, especially if they’re expected to take on the costs on themselves. Calculators and sites like Payscale and Indeed can give them a better idea of what their budget should look like compared to their expected salary.
Know Employer Relocation Package
Some employers may offer a relocation package for new employees after making an official offer to join the company, and it’s important for grads to read the fine print about what is actually covered.
“[Ask about] travel expenses like your flights and hotel stays, any temporary housing, how long it is, how much they’ll provide per month, any moving expenses, whether there’s household good shipments,” says Hall. “The company hopefully has specific coverage for each of those items and sometimes they just provide a lump sum of what they feel is reasonable and then ask the graduate to allocate their expenses themselves.”
Recent hires may be expected to incur the expenses upfront and be repaid in their first paycheck, warns Eidson.
“If you can, try to negotiate to receive the relocation allowance upfront,” she says. “You're in a stronger position to negotiate when you say, ‘here's what my move is going to cost, I'm wondering whether the company can help with some of these expenses so I can focus on the job--how much support can you offer?’”
Grads should understand that having relocation costs covered is not a free ticket to a new city and there may be clauses that require them to work for the company for a certain amount of time or pay back the costs that were covered during relocation, explains Traylor.
“Be savvy--examine your contract in detail and understand the full scope of an offer before accepting.”
Get Familiar With New Setting
After an initial visit and tour of the area, grads can use reputable sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com and check out the local paper to quickly find a range of available housing within their budget, says Hall.
“There’s a neat service called Walk Score that tells you the walkability around that place so that if you’re moving into a city, you can see what grocery stores and restaurants are around you,” he says.
Although moving to a new city is a big step, grads may find that taking the risk to relocate ends up in their favor as they continue to build valuable networking contacts and relevant work experience.
“It's not often in life that you have the opportunity to start fresh with a blank slate, and have the freedom and opportunity to reach your goals,” says Eidson. “It's not for everyone, but you'll learn a lot about yourself and what you're really made of when you move.”