Relocating To End Unemployment: Ten Things To Consider

The following guest post was submitted by Tim Johnson. Tim is the managing editor at, the leading Internet resource for people who are considering a move or planning a move. He blogs about relocation issues at the blog.

In the 1800s, job-seekers were exhorted to ‘Go West, Young Man.’

In these recessionary times, it’s become ‘Go Anywhere, Young Man.’

As the unemployment rate climbs and it takes longer to find a job, more people are being forced to consider relocation to a new town for better job opportunities.

In fact, if you’ve been job-hunting for a while, you’ve likely expanded your search to cities far enough away that you’d have to make a move.

However, this long-distance job search can only go so far – travel expenses for interviews can add up, and you miss out on crucial face-to-face networking opportunities.

Plus, employers don’t want to pay relocation costs, so they’re less willing to talk to someone from out of town. Also, an out-to-town hire can take a while to start work, and there’s always the possibility the candidate will get cold feet and back out.

That said, moving to a new city without a job can be downright terrifying: you don’t have a regular income stream, and you won’t have as many friends or family nearby.

Still, a job’s a job.

If you want to move to a new town to help your job search, here are some ways to maximize your chances for success, while leaving some wiggle room in case it doesn’t work out — it’s not about taking a risk, it’s taking a calculated risk.

1. A cushion

Budget at least 8 months’ worth of expenses, including deposits for an apartment and rent.

The need for savings is obvious, but don’t forget the confidence factor: Getting a job is a lot about confidence, and having a nice financial cushion will help you come across as more confident (and less desperate) to a prospective employer.

It will also let you job-hunt without having to pick up a part-time job – you can throw yourself 100% into looking for a job in your field.

2. Using that couch?

If you have any friends or relatives in the town you’re looking to move to, ask if you can crash at their place for awhile. You might be surprised about how willing people are to help, particularly in this economy.

Not only will this allow you to save money, it will also give you more time to look for your own place eventually – don’t rely on the kindness of friends and family for too long.

3. Account-ability

One of the first things you should do when you get to a new place is open a bank account. You don’t want to fritter away your precious savings on ATM fees, and it’s much easier dealing with a local bank should you have issues with your account. You also might be able to find deals for people opening a new account.

And if you’re looking for rental housing, having a local bank will put a landlord more at ease.

4. Plant light roots

You’re more likely to rent than buy at your new place, so make sure you understand any ramifications from breaking a lease, just in case things don’t work out.

Also, consider keeping a storage space in your old town. This will lessen your need for a big apartment, while also helping you save on your moving costs.

This is also a good time to do an inventory of the possessions in your life, and whether you really need them – will you ever wear that high school letterman jacket again?

5. Plan B

Think about money-making opportunities if you don’t find a job right away. Consider part-time work in retail or any other field that you have experience in. If you frequent any retail shops regularly, get friendly with the staff in case you ever need to ask about work.

However, don’t plan out TOO far in advance. Life has many twists and turns that you can’t anticipate, so be careful of over-planning.

6. Network

Now that you’re on the ground, go go go – meet as many people as you can, join networking groups, industry groups, and attend any social media meet-ups you can find for the area.

When you meet people, be clear about why you moved, and what kind of job you’re looking for.

Remember: Finding a job is now your job, and networking is the best way to do that.

7. Get to Know the Town

Your time there shouldn’t be all work. Get involved socially – play recreational sports, find some hobbyist groups, join a church or synagogue.

Hopefully you’ve chosen a town that you’ve always wanted to live in. Get out and enjoy it – feeling more optimistic about your new home will make you more optimistic and confident in your job-search.

8. Start a Blog

Start writing about your adventures in your new town, and writing about issues in your field. You can impress potential employers with your attitude, your knowledge of the field, and your gumption at starting a whole new life in a brand new city.

And remember to keep it local. Blogging about local events and Tweeting with the locals will introduce you to people who can help you with the job search.

9. Talk to Those Who’ve Been in Your Shoes

You’re not the first person who’s made this kind of leap. Look for other people who’ve made similar moves, and talk to them about their experience.

Just knowing that someone else did this before – and succeeded at it – will make you feel better.

10. Taxing time

Don’t forget that some job-hunting expenses are deductible, as are moving costs in certain situations. Find out what you might be eligible for come tax-time, and make sure you save receipts for documentation.

If you’ve had some taxable income in the year, getting a fat rebate will be a welcome influx of cash.


  1. You gotta have a Plan B for anything.

    Networking: definitely. In times like these, I just try to be friendly with anyone I can. You’ll never know; the next person you talk to might be your path to financial growth. Besides, it never hurts to be amicable.

    Everybody has a laptop or a computer nowadays so having money isn’t an excuse. The knowledge of the world is at your fingertips and it has to amount for something. Even if online jobs don’t pay as much,having a bit of cash is better than not having any at all.

  2. My husband and I are currently in the middle of moving for a job. After 11 years at the same job, he suffered his second job loss in a year this past July. Thankfully this time he was able to find a job quickly but it is requiring us to move from Kentucky to Florida. He has been in Florida training for the new job since mid-August and officially finishes up his training this week. Thankfully the company paid for a place for him to live while training. We are just now facing the reality of paying rent and a mortgage at the same time. My daughters and I will be joining my husband in December during the holiday break since we felt this would be a better time for them to make the transition. Our biggest challenge at this point is selling our house which has been on the market for just over 2 months. We are trying to live as frugally as possible to make what is left of our emergency savings (which has taken a hit this last year)stretch as far as possible. We believe that in the end this temporary financial pain will be well worth the sacrifice. My husband loves his new job. We’ll be living in an area we’ve always wanted to live and we’ll be able to make smarter financial decisions based on what we’ve learned through this process. We view this as a new beginning of sorts.

    And, thanks for the reminder about the tax deductions. The company will not be paying for our move although they do offer their employees discounts through certain compainies.

  3. Relocating is an excellent idea, if you can sell your house. But relocating for another bad job is not a long term solution.

    You’re better off starting a new business based on the new needs that the recession has created. If you build your own customer base, then no one can let you go.

  4. A few years ago, for a new job, I set up a second apartment in another city (four hours away by car)–I didn’t move outright for a number of reasons, including the fact that I had no idea if the job would work out and because I would NEVER make that new city a permanent home even if the job did work out. The company also would not even pay for minimal moving expenses (though it paid huge amounts to keep its principals, two people who lived out of the U.S., housed in the U.S. and for many, many trips back and forth.)Nor would it issue an employment contract and the first three months were a “trial” for all employees.

    It was an expensive investment on my part with hope for the best…but still considering the Plan B of needing to be back in my primary residence.

    Four months into the job it became clear that it wasn’t working. They said I could then work from my primary residence. What they didn’t say was that they would cut my workload by 50% and also my income.

    It cost me a huge amount of money upfront to get a second apartment and set it up (even though it was somewhat furnished).

    It cost me money to move up my stuff and to go back and forth and also the complete costs of keeping my primary residence (in a major NYC where it would have been impossible to find another apartment I could afford if I were to give it up). I spent more than I earned when you consider taxes, but I was committed (unlike the company) to the job.

    For anyone who even considers taking a job in another area that requires moving, I say, get some upfront guarantees (an employment contract, an arrangement for them to pay for some costs/fees involved, etc.). If they won’t, be prepared to lose not only a job, but money you invest in moving. And consider that you may then be stuck in a place you never wanted to be in.

    If you are willing to risk all that for a new job, as I did, definitely do not sign any long-term leases and definitely rent. Keep your main place and rent it out if you have to, but don’t give it up if the only reason you are moving is because of a job.

    It’s one thing to move somewhere else because you want to live there. BUt moving in the hopes of getting a job? That’s even more foolish than moving for a job where nobody pays for your move and nobody will commit to YOU, while asking YOU to commit to them.

    Yea, I get that companies are fearful of losing money on people who don’t work out, but if a company can’t show any form of investment in a new employee, how much do they really give a hoot about you? Pay close attention to how people negotiate a job offer if you have to move. It will tell you plenty about the company and its real interest in its employees–if they even have any.

    Given that no job is safe today, let alone a company or industry (rare exceptions), moving with the hope of a job is very risky.

    And seriously, if you already can’t get a job where you are (depending on what you do and the local economy), you need to be very sure there are even prospects where you want to move–and then hope you can outsell yourself against the competition. Moving, job hunting. A lot of work with no guarantees. Understand what you’re doing and ideally, have a job before you go. Unless you’re young enough to be able to pick up and move again.

  5. Judging from many of the comments here, I would guess that many if not all of you are employed. I agree with Kandace that point number one made no sense at all.

    When I was employed, I oversimplified everyone else’s unemployment too. I never though that that a talented couple of highly educated folks would be unemployed for quite so long as me and my husband have been(hubby still is). It is not as simple as doing some work online or networking.

  6. Shanna Small
    Perhaps you are projecting your behavior onto others. I don’t think anyone with a brain believes getting a job is easy today–or talented, experienced folks aren’t on the chopping block daily.

    And you should not assume that everyone who responded is currently employed,cause some of us are not.

    It is absolutely tough to get work today, no matter who you are. Anyone who says differently does not know.

    Given the way things are, some people are at a clear disadvantage (age, location, industry, etc.) than others and have to work harder to find opportunities, as limited as they are. It’s a selling game and some folks are great at their work, but not so good in selling themselves to some of the totally unqualified people who are doing the hiring.

    You can do research online but it always comes down to people…who can open doors, let you know about openings, pass along a resume, make a recommendation, etc. You have to do the work to present yourself in the best possible light and to showcase what you’ve got (work unto itself!).

    Even then, there are no guarantees.

    The country is filled with talented, unemployed people. That’s the reality. Point number one makes sense, IF you had a large enough salary to save in the first place.

    But plenty of people had more than a year’s worth of a backup and still ended up on the financial edge because they could not find work.

    Nobody is saying it’s simple.

  7. I’ve had to relocate a couple of times in order to find a job. It is not an easy thing to do. Whether to do so will vary for each of us. But, sometimes it’s the best solution. Being out of work is hard any time. It’s a lot harder when things are tough like they are now.

    Putting down shallow roots at first is a good idea. The second time I had to relocate, I had only been there six months when we were shut down. It was easier to cancel a lease on the apartment that to try to sell a houes.

  8. Well, this economy is definitely changing our cherished ideal of putting down roots. At this point, you have to find work in your profession wherever it is–the complicating factor is kids. Very tough.

  9. I ve had experience of relocating abroad to find a job,and i ve found it quiet difficult cause the economic situation we are in.Anyway i tried many times cause i think today the people has to consider that is better to relocate than to say unemployed in their hometown.But here in Italy still they didnt get it… why the country is full of unempolyed people who may find a job if they think to move…