As the sun sets on the Great Recession and the dust begins to settle, small but noticeable changes are becoming evident: Many Americans are saving more. They tend to be thriftier. And, they are relying less on credit. A large number have suffered through job losses, unemployment, and under-employment.
As jobs have become more scarce and more people are competing for jobs (as many as four to one, as opposed to one to one before the recession), many more job-seekers are open to finding work out of state. It’s no secret that certain cities have much healthier job markets than others. Some came through the recession not only unscathed, but robust. Fargo, North Dakota, for example, has an unemployment rate of just 3.1 percent – far below the national unemployment rate.
Before looking for a job out of state, first determine which cities would work for you and your family. Research the area and learn about schools, housing, crime rate, traffic, neighborhoods, and quality of life. You want a city you’ll be able to enjoy, so nearby restaurants, shopping, parks, museums, and entertainment venues are important. Easy access to public transportation and a pedestrian-friendly environment are also big advantages.
Before starting an out-of-state job search, check over your resume and be sure all of the information is current. Don’t include your address on your resume – many employers won’t look past the out-of-state address and may pass you up for an in-state candidate. Use job boards, the local chamber of commerce, LinkedIn, company websites, and possibly a recruiter to find opportunities. Try to line up several interviews back-to-back to cut down on travel expenses. While you are in the area, make a few cold calls to companies you are interested in. Explain that you are moving to the area and are very interested in their company. They may at least request your resume, if not set up an interview.
The final decision is probably the most crucial: where will you live? Take some time to explore the areas – talk to locals and ask about shopping, nightlife, and schools. Decide if you would prefer to rent for a while until you are sure this is a location you plan to stay in long-term, or if you'd rather buy right away.
Investigate the neighborhoods you are interested in thoroughly at different times of the day. How's the traffic around rush hour? Where's the bus stop? Are the neighbors out in the evening, walking dogs, pushing strollers, and stopping to chat, or is the neighborhood buttoned up tight? Which do you prefer? Is there an accessible shopping area, and how far are you from downtown? Be sure to check out parks, entertainment venues, and opportunities to enjoy any hobbies you may have (if you enjoy surfing, how far are you from the beach? If you love to golf, where's the nearest course? If you enjoy art, is there a studio/art supply store in the neighborhood?)
Relocating can be an exciting adventure or an event riddled with stress. Finding the right place to live, starting a new job, perhaps dealing with children switching schools – try to approach the move with a positive attitude – it is a fun adventure, filled with possibilities.