Your Guide to Moving for a Job


These days more of the successful job seekers are the ones who are the most flexible. That flexibility can include being willing to move in order to get hired.

Blue-collar and white-collar workers, new hires and seasoned professionals, are all having a hard time finding work in the current environment. More than 11 million people were unemployed as of December 2008. More are expected to join the unemployment rolls as the recession continues.

“Essentially, you have to go where the job is,” says Margaret Laird, a medical testing specialist. Laird took a position in suburban Philadelphia when the D.C.-based pharmaceutical company where she worked was sold.  “I miss D.C., but I just didn’t have a choice.”

More Workers on the Move
According to data compiled by Worldwide ERC, an Arlington, Va.-based group that tracks employee mobility, 381,000 people relocated for work in 2008. Of that number, 127,000 were new employees. Additionally, research from a Chicago human resources consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows that the number of relocation among clients increased from 11% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 12.6% a year later.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot more people moving because of the economy, but it’s not like they’re going to the Sun Belt,” says Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger. “They’re going to smaller towns or places where they’ve worked in the past, places where they have a network where they can find work."

Are You Moving?
If moving for work is in your future, here are three things to consider before you pack up:

1. The company.
“There was a time when you could move somewhere and work for one company until you retired,” says Challenger. These days, however, you never know how long the company will last. Do your homework before you leave town. If the company you’re working for folds or is sold, you could end up jobless in a strange town.

2. Your family’s reaction. Even the best move will make someone in your family unhappy. Take some time to talk to them about your decision. Depending on the issues raised, it may make more sense for you to leave and commute from afar than it would uproot your entire family.

3. Relocation expenses. Relocating can be expensive whether you do it individually or with your family. Unfortunately, cash-strapped businesses aren’t exactly offering big payouts for movers. This is where your negotiating skills come in: If they’re interested in hiring you, chances are you can use that as leverage to get some money for your big move.

But no matter who pays for the move, here are just a few moving costs to take into account:

Moving your stuff:
The average cost of shipping household goods was more than $11,000 in 2007, according to Worldwide ERC.

Renting an apartment: Though the price differs depending on where you live, the Census bureau puts the average cost of renting an apartment at $633 per month. If you want to relocate just yourself, and you’ve already got a $1,200 a month mortgage, an extra $633 could put some real stress on your wallet.

A new commute: Chances are, if you move to a smaller town, you may have to drive to work. According to AAA, the average driver pays 17 cents per mile for gas, maintenance and tires. Seventeen cents may not seem like much, but it can add up to as much as $884 a year.

Good luck!

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