WSJ: Should you Relocate Before you have a Job?

I am featured in The Wall Street Journal in an article entitled The Next Best Career Move:  Actually Moving.  Writer Liz Garone did an outstanding job illustrating the premise with success stories of people who have put the cart before the horse, i.e., moving before they have a job.

It takes targeting, strategy, research — and guts.  But if you are in a geography that is lackluster in career opportunities — with a glut of talent competing for few slots – it makes all the sense in the world to reposition and catapult yourself into a more robust, career-enhancing economy.

Look at the cumulative boost in earnings that could accrue throughout your career.  More is better than less in terms of what you will need to fund retirement.  And opportunity breeds opportunity.

Some excerpts from the WSJ piece:

So far the trend is visible at either end of the job spectrum: from senior-level job seekers who have a financial cushion to weather the costs of the move and the following transition period to more junior-level job seekers, who have fewer fixed expenses and can move easily.

Nancy Keene, a director in the Dallas office of executive search firm Stanton Chase, calls it the “act local/be local” phenomenon, in which job hunters are doing whatever they can to appear to be—or become—part of a community. It’s a career move that—if executed right—can be a good investment. “People are looking to reposition for the next phase of their career,” she says. “If you’re going somewhere with a robust and diversified economy, it’s a pretty safe bet.”

Some who can’t afford to make the move are giving the illusion of being local by renting a mailbox, getting a local cellphone number, and staying with friends and family nearby to attend networking and industry events, Ms. Keene says.

I speak from personal experience.  Moving to Texas at a time when the Rust Belt was struggling was a smart and strategic move that dramatically changed life for the better.  Both of my sisters followed me to Dallas where they also launched successful careers.  Here is a link that describes my own relocation in D Magazine’s Why We Love Dallas cover story.

Here are some tips to forge your own path-to-prosperity:

  1. Thoroughly research companies in your sector.
  2. Monitor corporate news in the local media and business publications of your target location.
  3. Get your resume into the databases of executive search firms as a form of ”passive marketing.”
  4. Reach out to your networks of college alumni and former work colleagues for insider perspectives, referrals and introductions.
  5. Make the most of in-market visits.  Stay with family or friends.  Have a full schedule of meetings, interviews and networking activities.
  6. Be sure that your social media listings (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) are consistent with how you are presenting yourself, location-wise.
  7. Select a realtor who is well-rooted in the market for information on transitional, rental and even housesitting possibilities.

Other excellent resources:

I am a big fan of the brilliant author and thought leader Marshall Goldsmith.  In his new book Mojo, he dedicates an entire chapter to the topic That Job is Gone! Many people are hoping to wait out the return of the market, but many of the jobs and industries are gone for good.

If you are weighing the possibilities of undertaking a relocation on your own, Marshall offers inspirational tools and metrics, balanced with the splash of cold water reality that can help in your decisionmaking process.

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One Comment

  1. Unfortunately, due to outsourcing, many jobs are permanently gone. As consumers, we demand increasingly cheap goods and even food. Those price points require salaries that simply cannot be met here so those jobs go to places where it *is* acceptable to pay someone 12 cents an hour. Next time you're at Wal-Mart and looking at 2 similar products, see where they're made. Let that become a deciding factor, not just a few cents on the price.

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene