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Relocating Without a Job

By Jennifer Jeffries, Esq.

Finding a brand new job in a great new city definitely sounds exciting, but if you don't have a plan, it can turn out to be the exact opposite. In making the decision to relocate, most job seekers express that they would prefer to have an offer in hand before they start packing. But not every applicant has that luxury. Here are a few tips to consider if you are making a move and you don't have a job lined up:

Get Your Finances in Order

A job search is stressful enough without having to worry about your finances. To help ease the financial pressure of your job search, plan on a minimum of three months without a paycheck.

Do Your Homework

The word clients most often use to describe a job search in an unfamiliar location is "overwhelming." The reason for this common concern is that so much about the applicant's future job market remains unknown. It is helpful to start doing your homework early; the more information you have before you make the move, the more successful your job search will be.

Consider the Culture. If, for instance, you are planning to make a move from a big city to a small town, the environment in which you are accustomed to working may be very fast paced. You will find that things tend to move much more slowly in smaller towns. When selecting a destination, be sure to consider whether you find the culture of your new home town appealing.

Research the Legal Job Market. While your practice area may be flourishing in one city, it may be dwindling in another. Taking a look at posted job listings will help you get a better feel for your new city's legal job market. You should also pay attention to employment trends that the city's legal experts are predicting for your practice area in the future.

Determine the Cost of Living. Attorney's salaries vary quite dramatically from one geographic location to the next, so be sure to determine how the cost of living in your new home town compares with your previous one. If the salaries in your first choice location will not support your lifestyle, it is helpful to know while you still have time to reconsider.

Research your Daily Commute. Maybe you currently drive to work, or maybe you rely on public transportation. Keep in mind that some locations may not be amenable to your favorite form of transportation, and be mindful of the effect that it will have on your overall experience.

Network, Network, Network

By the time you arrive in your new city, you should have already gathered the contact information for at least a handful of people you would like to get in touch with once you are settled in. These contacts should be attorneys that you are interested in meeting with to help you locate job opportunities. Contacts are important in every job search, but they become even more essential when you find yourself in an unfamiliar place. Attorneys who have jobs similar to the one you are looking for will be able to provide you with a wealth of information about the local job market.

Keep an Open Mind

The job market in your new city may not be the same as the one you are used to, so remember to keep an open mind. Sometimes to get the job you really want, you may have to be willing to accept another offer in the interim.

Don't Burn your Bridges

The legal community is a lot smaller than it seems, and if things are not working out in your new home town, you want to have an exit strategy. It will serve you well to keep in contact with your former colleagues, old friends, and former bosses to ensure that you have options should you decide to move back. Relocating without a job may seem like an overwhelming task, but with a little bit of research and planning, you will be on even footing with the locals. Best of luck!!

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