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Career Relocation, Is It a Good Move?

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You’ve been offered a job that will require you to relocate across the country to manage a division for a new company. Or maybe you’re considering a transfer to a new location with your current employer. Should you accept the job?

In a recent survey conducted by Robert Half International, thirty-three per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) in Canada polled recent said the quality of life in a new city would most influence their decision to relocate for a job opportunity; 27 per cent cited compensation as the foremost consideration.

So before you pack a single box, you’ll want to do a little reconnaissance to evaluate and research the new opportunity to make sure it’s right for you.

Are you looking at the big picture?
Make sure you’re not so enamoured with one particular aspect of the offer — the fact that the position is in the Caribbean, for instance — that you overlook other issues, such as how well the job matches your career goals. This is a good time to reassess your professional objectives and priorities. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help bring your goals into sharper focus:
• How does the move impact your long-term career plans?
• Do you want to use this opportunity to take your career in a new direction?
• What kind of company would you like to work for? (If the job is with a new company and not an internal transfer.)
• How satisfied are you in your current position?
• Would you like a different type of position or a new work schedule?

Do you really want to live there? Contact the chambers of commerce in the areas in which you’re interested in living or check out sites like CityRating.com to find information about local weather, demographics and schools. Better yet, visit the area and talk to residents to get a better idea of whether it suits your lifestyle.

Can you afford to make the move?
Clarify what portion of the relocation expenses, if any, the employer is willing to cover. Companies vary in what they offer, although larger businesses may employ more standardized policies. Compensation can vary by industry, city or position in the company, but some commonly covered expenses include: moving costs, temporary lodging costs, travel costs — if you relocate before your family moves — and assistance in selling your house.

Also check that the compensation offered will allow you to maintain your current standard of living, particularly if the new city is significantly more expensive. There’s bound to be a difference in cost of living between Bakersfield, California and New York City, for instance. You can find salary information in publications such as Robert Half International’s annual Salary Guides (www.rhi.com, “resource center”), which provide data about specialized positions in different parts of the country.

Can your spouse find work?
Check to see if your company offers career counseling and job placement for a trailing spouse. You may want to negotiate this as part of your offer. You’ll also want to track regional hiring trends in your potential new city through sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. These can help you determine prominent industries in the new region, occupations most in demand and sectors where hiring is strongest.

By following the guidelines above before you call the movers, you’ll make a more informed decision about a possible relocation and its impact on your professional growth and advancement.

 

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