Moving Without a Job? Try These 5 Strategies
When looking for a position in a new location, job seekers typically look for work sooner rather than later. By the time you pack up to move, you want to know your salary, your new boss and even the date you'll be returning.
But not everyone is compelled to have a job lined up when moving to another part of the country. For some, especially for workers without established careers or who are merely eager to move, a just-do-it philosophy takes hold. Caution is thrown to the wind, career goals are put on hold and the overriding desire for a new experience motivates the job seeker to find some sort of work in a new home.
"There is no time like the present," says Mary Mader, who moved for her job. "If anyone has had ideas about doing something like this, I really encourage them to just go for it."
Here are five tips for anyone planning to take the bold step of moving without a job lined up:
Research Your Destination
Embracing an action-oriented philosophy doesn't mean packing your bags without knowing where you're going. If anything, moving without a job lined up requires additional planning, as your knowledge of your new home will likely play a role in your success there. In particular, scout out the options available there. Find the relevant contacts before you leave, rather than while you're trying to navigate a new city.
Network in Advance
By the time you depart, your Palm Pilot should have the names of five people, at the very least, to contact once you arrive. These need not be professional contacts -- just individuals with whom you can meet in a cafe, learn the names of other contacts and start meeting people to help you locate job opportunities. Contacts matter in any job search, but they're essential when you're in a strange place.
Know How Long Your Money Will Last
Unless you're certain you've got in-demand skills, plan on a minimum of three months without a paycheck. You would be wise to plan for six months. Unless you can embark on the trip feeling your funds will be well-spent no matter what comes of it, don't do it.
Be Ready for Anything
In order to get the job you really want, depending on the market, you may have to be willing to accept all different sorts of assignments in the interim -- child care, dog-walking, bartending. That's part of the reason relocating without a job is typically more attractive to people in their 20s. You may not have to walk dogs for months, but opportunities tend to multiply, and if you begin to accept one or two jobs -- however far from the ideal -- you're likely to find others in the future.
Have an Exit Strategy
Things not working out in your new home? You need to have an exit strategy. More than anything, that means keeping channels open with friends, colleagues and former bosses. With email and the Internet, that's easier than ever. Store your resume somewhere online, like on Monster, for easy reference, and have it ready to go when you decide to return. You'll even be able to apply for jobs before you get back.