You’d been scouring the job listings for months and finally found the position that appears to be the right fit. You applied, received a call back, and the interview went well — so well, in fact, that they made you an offer.
The only problem is that it’s in a completely new city, which means commuting is not an option. You’ll have to relocate. Should you take the plunge? Before you jump at the opportunity, it’s a good idea to get a grip on what you’d be getting yourself into. Here are five things to look out for before moving to a new city for a job.
1. What are you leaving behind?
It’s important to know your needs and strengths beforehand. Ask yourself some questions: If you move to another city or state, what and who will you leave behind? If your family, friends, and support network are all in your existing city, can you be happy living alone in a strange city? Sure, you’ll meet colleagues and make friends, but it can be difficult for some people to truly make a new city into a home. For others, it’s a piece of cake and an exciting opportunity. It’s important to decide whether you’re willing and able to leave your old life behind to start anew.
2. What is the cost of living?
Cost of living is a biggie. If you’re looking at a massive, expensive city like New York or San Francisco, even some higher salaries are going to barely cover rent and other basic expenses. However, that same salary earned in an affordable city like Kansas City, for instance, could mean you’d be living the high life. If you do thorough research on your new city, intended neighborhood, and workplace ahead of time, it’ll make your decision — and later, your transition — much easier.
3. Does the company offer relocation services and reimbursements?
Many companies offer relocation help and are willing to help cover some — or all — of the costs associated with moving. However, not all relocation packages are created equal. Be sure to fully understand what level of support is available to you. If nothing is offered, it’s acceptable to ask about relocation support; many companies are willing to negotiate on this aspect of an employment package.
4. Do you know how to budget?
If you’ve never carefully tracked your spending or projected your future expenses, now’s the time to start. Moving to a new city is not only big in terms of change, but it also can mean big bucks. Before accepting the position, it’s a smart idea to gain a good sense of how much your move will actually cost. Consider these aspects of a move:
- Will you drive your car, or will it need to be transported?
- Are you hiring a mover, or will you be renting a U-Haul to carry your possessions?
- How much money for rent, security, or a home down payment will you need?
- What kind of cash will you need to get utilities, such as electric and internet, up and running?
- Which things need to be purchased immediately vs. later on? (i.e. furniture, curtains, etc.)
- Will you have hotel, gas, or food costs involved with moving?
Additionally, keep in mind that if you do accept the position, you’ll want to be careful to track any moving expenses that aren’t covered by your employer. In 2018, the federal government disallowed moving expenses as a tax deduction, but some states still allow them. If yours is one of those, be sure to do the calculations. This way, you’ll save yourself some money when you go to file next year’s taxes.
5. Is there a future in your new location?
Before taking the plunge, you’ll want to try to imagine a glimpse of the future. If this job won’t bring you to the place you’re striving to reach in your career, it might not be worth the move. For instance, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions before giving your acceptance for the position, such as:
- Does the company appear to have a bright future? While any company can experience unexpected upheaval, you can usually get a good gauge of its potential by looking at its past performance, along with its vision for the future.
- Is the company culture a good fit, or will you feel like a square peg in a round hole? If you disagree with the company’s core philosophies, the discrepancy could prove problematic for you down the road.
- Are there opportunities for advancement or promotion? If your career path will quickly reach a dead end, is it worth accepting? On the other hand, if it offers a path in the niche you’re seeking, there is a good chance this is the stepping stone you’re looking for.
While being hired for a new job is exciting, it’s a big decision. Ideally, you want to know if this job will be aligned with your professional goals and aspirations. That way, you can settle in and feel comfortable on the job.
Deciding whether or not to accept an offer of employment is a big decision, but considering a move to a new city for the job adds all sorts of other elements to consider. Be sure to do your homework and cover all your proverbial bases before you commit, so you know what you’d be getting into. If all appears to come together in such a way that you could envision it benefiting your career, your family, or your life, then relocating to a new city for a job is probably a great decision for you.
Ann Lloyd is a newly enrolled MBA grad student. She’s getting her degree online and working as a marketing intern on the side. In her spare time, she’s hard at work on the Student Savings Guide, her blog about living a budget-conscious life. The guide caters to students and recent grads, but anyone can use her tips to get by.