As an IT consultant, chances are you’ve been seeing an uptick in calls from recruiters these days. The technology job market is hotter than ever and with a 3% unemployment rate (Dice.com), consultants have the upper hand in the selection process. If you have a dream job or a dream company you’d like to work for, there is a high probability that you will see more of these opportunities presented to you in the near future. However, what if your decision process includes the consideration of a great opportunity that requires relocation?
Relocating is not an easy decision, but many career minded individuals are given life changing opportunities by uprooting and making the move. If this is something you are considering, there are a few factors and variables that you should think about before making up your mind.
Personal Reasons: This is the most important reason people do or don’t take a relocation offer. Most people are settled into their lives and have their family, friends and extracurricular activities in full swing. The possibility of relocating disrupts life and forces people to start all over again. If you currently live close to family, consider travel costs to be able to stay in touch with them or child care costs that might be incurred if family members are no longer around to watch little ones. Another very important aspect is if your spouse is also employed. Does the new location provide enough opportunities for a spouse to find a job? Doing a little research on the market or hitting the job boards to see what positions are open should give you a better idea of what you might encounter should you make the move.
Cost of Living: Before accepting a position that requires you to relocate, there’s plenty of research that you’ll need to perform. Use tools like Bankrate.com’s Cost of Living Calculator to compare your current area to your possible new location. If the cost of living in your new location is higher, does your change in income (or potential) fill the gap in cost differential? If you’re looking to buy a house, consider the state of the housing market (although, it might be smart to rent for a while until you get to know the area).
Job Market: One of the last things you might think to do when considering relocating for a new role is to look for jobs. You have an offer on the table, why would this be an important consideration? Most likely, you won’t be in the new role forever. Hopefully you love the job and stay there for years but sometimes things come up that might have you leaving the role faster than you thought. In case that happens, you need to verify that there are plenty more opportunities in your field that you can turn to. Do some research on your new location’s job market to see how easy or hard it would be to find employment. Also, specifically look for jobs in your wheelhouse on job boards or LinkedIn. If you feel like there are a good amount of open positions you could fall into if need be, you can cross this one off the list.
Professional Network: We discussed in “Personal Reasons” why you might miss having friends and family around. However, you also need to think about the professional network you’d be leaving behind by moving to a new location. Depending on how long you’ve lived in your current location, you might have a pretty solid network of professionals that you’re connected to. These are the people you can turn to when you are looking for some help or assistance on a project, referring connections to other professionals for jobs, and reaching out to them to help you when you’re looking for a new role. Having a solid network can sometimes be more important than the skills and experience you carry. When moving to a new location, you’re starting a new network from scratch; which can not only be a challenge, it can be detrimental if your new role doesn’t work out.
The Job Itself: The job you’ve been offered is the reason you’re even considering relocating! It goes without saying that this role should either be with a company you’ve been dying to work for, a huge step forward in your career, or financially beneficial. You should also consider how long you see yourself in this role or at this company. Does it make sense to uproot yourself for a job you might only be in for a year? Are there opportunities for you to grow within the company if you are prepared to move up? Communicate with the recruiter or hiring manager you are working with to ease your mind of any questions you have about the job specifically.
You should also ask the recruiter or hiring manager you’re working with if any relocation assistance is offered with your new role. Sometimes, companies might be willing to help you out. Other times, you’ll be on your own. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
The decision to relocate is never an easy one. However, if you successfully do your research and cover all the important aspects of a possible move, you can rest assured that you’ll come upon the right answer.
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