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Relocating for a job: eight tips for making it work

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29/03/2019

Moving for work can be a major challenge, because there are so many minute details involved. Between ironing out all the details of negotiating the job offer and starting date, to finding the right housing, sorting out paperwork and learning the ins and outs of your new city, it’s crucial to plan in advance so you can ease into your new environment.

One of the best things you can do to manage this transition is to start with being as organised as possible. Whether you have three months or three weeks to make the move, here’s a list of considerations that will help make the move as seamless as possible.

1. Consider relocation costs

Depending on the offer, position and company, you may be able to rely on your company to cover the costs of relocating. When you are negotiating aspects of the job offer, this is the time to bring up the possibility of relocation assistance. 

Before going into the negotiation, sit down and think about how much the move may cost you – and if you are willing to make the move no matter what, or if it would be contingent upon relocation being a part of the package. Relocation costs can include airfare, other transportation, freight costs, storage fees and moving logistics, such as hiring movers.

2. Understand the finances

Before accepting the offer, make sure that your salary is competitive and worth the big move. Do your research online and find out what the salaries are like for your industry and area of specialisation in the new city. Remember to take factors like benefits, incentives and bonuses into consideration.

3. Do your research on where to live

Before moving, it is important to check the area that you’ll be moving to and its surroundings. Ask questions like: ‘Is it safe?’, ‘What’s the average cost of living?’, ‘Can you afford it?’, and so on. You might even want to plan a visit to see if you’d be comfortable living there.

Ask your employer to connect you to an existing employee who is already living there, so that you can learn more about their relocation experience and start making notes on things you should look out for.

4. Work out a budget

Moving costs can add up quickly. To help you prepare, it’s always better to have a clear sense of what you’re going to end up spending. The budget will also help you to decide what your essentials are and which purchases can wait. 

Another budget that you’ll need to create is a housing budget – finding a place to live can get stressful if you don’t go in with a plan. With your daily budget and expenses on hand, it’ll become easier to see how much you’re left with to pay the rent. This will make it easier for you to shortlist potential places you’d like to live in.

5. Consolidate

When deciding what to pack and whether you’re going to ship all your furniture with you, think about whether you’ll even need to go through the hassle. For example, your new apartment might come furnished or might be even smaller than the current one you live in. This is a good time for you to purge and de-clutter, so make a list of all your essentials before packing for your move.

6. Your support group

There is much more to a job relocation than the job itself. Consider the personal side of the move – for example, are there family members, relatives or friends in the new city? It is helpful to have a familiar face in the new location that can make you feel welcome. Establish contact with these people in advance, so you have someone who can show you around and support you with the move.

7. Locate the essentials

Before your first day of work, it’s a good idea to get a better sense of the best driving route or figure out the public transportation system. Moving to a completely different city might mean you need to scope out all of life’s daily essentials, like the grocery store, café, doctor’s and laundromat.

Exploring and getting to know your neighbourhood is one of the best ways of familiarising yourself with the new place, and adjusting to life in the new city.

8. Get life admin out of the way

Whether you’ll need to finish up your visa application, open a new bank account, get a new phone number or apply for a tax account, there’s probably many moving related tasks that may require you to be away from your desk in the early weeks of your relocation. Make appointments early so that you can notify your manager in advance. The more heads up you can give, the less stressful the ask will feel. 

If possible, give yourself at least a couple of days, if not longer, before the job starts to get all life admin sorted, so that you can hit the ground running on the first day of the job. It’ll also make a good first impression with your manager because it shows how organised you are.

After all the heavy lifting is over, it’s time to soak in the sights and sounds of your new city! Don’t forget to embrace your new location and all that it has to offer.