In a world where good jobs are hard to come by, more and more job seekers are looking outside of their current cities to find work. According to Worldwide ERC, a workforce mobility association, their member companies spent $10 billion in 2011 on corporate relocation in the U.S. That breaks down to more than 216,000 domestic transfers.
Of those transfers, one-third dealt with relocating new hires, indicating that employers are willing to relocate the right people for the right job. In many cases, relocation can mean new opportunities for not only you, but for your spouse and family as well. And while there may be challenges along the way, the payoff might outweigh the risks.
"I had just resigned from my stable full-time job representing a professional athlete that was preparing for retirement at the end of the year, and I knew I had to make a change before that happened to continue moving forward in my career," says Klint Bradley, owner of promotional marketing supplier Branded.
"I grew up on a large working grain and livestock farm in central Illinois, and when I moved to Indianapolis for college ... it was a big step from the country lifestyle I was used to, but home was never far away," Bradley says. "Moving all the way to Florida meant that I wasn't only taking a big risk professionally, having just started my own business, but also personally by leaving behind close friends and family."
Bradley says he found that relocation helped him stay focused on his industry and making connections. Personally, he became more diligent about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As he's met individuals from across the nation, he's been able to learn a lot of valuable business acumen from their experiences.
"The drive and success I see in these people give me even more drive to go after my dreams with the fervor and confidence my parents encouraged in me," Bradley says. "I think sometimes being in the Midwest, you sink into the mentality of going to work and paying your bills and never getting ahead or moving up the hierarchy. For me, seeing people living a different lifestyle meant they have found balance in their life, and I can find that same balance if I work hard enough."
Bradley suggests that when considering relocation, it's best to focus on the big picture. Determine where your career is going and where your significant other is in her career and figure out what cities you'd consider moving to.
"If you are moving for the position, definitely working with the organization on relocation expenses or having your salary inflated to compensate for the additional expense of relocating is best," Bradley says.
Here, other job seekers share their experiences relocating for their careers:
"When my husband's opportunity for a stint in Silicon Valley became a real option, my own entrepreneurial ventures as a yoga teacher were just getting some traction, and I was at a high point at my 'day job,' still doing the other thing that I love -- paramedicine -- part time and sitting on a managerial project part time as well. Things were really good for me, and he had this amazing opportunity to temporarily relocate with his corporation with 100 percent support, have the Silicon Valley startup experience he'd been eyeing, and still retain our home in Albuquerque, where we know our heart is.
"My take on the relocation: Hold out for a supportive arrangement, and when that's on the table, leap -- even if it seems like everything is as good as it can be where you are, even if you're just then experiencing returns on years of hard work and investment. Create a transition plan. You're going to throw it out the window, but having it will give you a structure at the beginning and a feeling of having a [safety] net during, and the thought you put into it will matter after you throw it out, so make it as if your life depended on it. And then go all in." -- Christine Stump, Alignment Yoga
"I moved to California from New York City because my ex-wife ... came out here with our kids, forcing me to follow her. I've been able to make a huge impact on the place where I work, which is already up 50 percent over last year's revenue and was just named Agency of the Year by a prestigious trade publication. The East Coast/West Coast transition has had some challenges, but that's interesting, too." -- Tom Siebart, vice president of communications, Digitaria
"In 1998, I relocated as a trailing spouse from Florida to Michigan. I found an exceptional job in a short period of time, partly due to the fact that I set a goal for myself of being upbeat and positive and meeting three new people every day. We had two young sons, so our social circle expanded fairly quickly. Some of the best friends I have were met there.
In 2007 -- in the midst of a divorce -- I relocated from Michigan to Virginia. I devoted every waking moment to my job until my sons, then 17 and 19, relocated three months later. I found it very hard to meet people outside of work and with my interests.
"Since the job I moved here to take no longer exists, I am now considering relocation again. Bottom line: It's not easy, but a lot of it is attitude." -- Susan Milhoan, chief operations officer, J. Taylor Associates
"I relocated from Honolulu to Los Angeles for my job; I went from freelance to full time when I moved here. As a single mom, it was a tough yet no-brainer decision, because it was such a huge move. It's the best decision I've made for our two-person family, and we're doing very well in Los Angeles." -- Ally Sperber, account executive, Marketing Maven Public Relations, Inc.
Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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