Dear New Shrink,

After many years in Los Angeles, I have finally decided that it is time to move closer to family. While I have established a successful career here I dread coming back after trips to see my family and hearing about friends who have been able to purchase a home with a mortgage far less than what I pay in rent. Although I have decided that it is time to move, I am now realizing all the complications that come with changing jobs and cities. I am writing to you to see if you have any helpful tips for finding a job while living in another city.

Signed,

Leaving Los Angeles

Dear Leaving,

Making the decision to relocate is a difficult one. Congratulations on listening to your heart and determining what is truly important to you. While the coming weeks and months may be difficult as you look for new career opportunities, plan for transition and physically pack up your belongings, focus on your goal and allow your family and friends to support you throughout this change.

To get started, it is important that you narrow down and decide on a time frame for this change.  Having an open-ended move date may make it more difficult to take the necessary steps to make your move a reality. There are several viewpoints on job search and relocation. Some believe that it is easier to find a job if you are already in the immediate area and others state that it is too risky to move without a secure plan. You are the only one to decide what is truly fitting for you and your situation. However, it is important to recognize that if you are committed to relocating within a specific time frame, you may need to make a transition before all of the pieces fall neatly into place.

As you begin to explore career opportunities, make sure that everyone in your network is aware of your career goals and relocation plans. Now is the time to reconnect with past mentors, colleagues and classmates. Develop a strong pitch to highlight your professional background and current career goals and make sure that others know what you are looking for. The power of personal connections makes a huge difference in securing a new job opportunity. You will also need to consider if you will inform your current supervisor about your plans.

Searching for job opportunities in a new city also requires that you are familiar with the hiring organizations in the area. For a number of major U.S. cities the local business journal will publish an annual “Book of Lists” which ranks the top performing companies within that city or region. This list may be available at your public library or available for purchase online through the Business Journals Digital Network. The Book of Lists can be a great way to identify key players within your field as well as up-and-coming organizations. Once you identify those that fit your key criterion, you can visit the corporate website to examine potential job opportunities within that firm. Job search websites can help in identifying new openings in a particular area, but keep in mind that if it is easy for you to find, it is easy for other job seekers to find also. To increase your odds of success, search your LinkedIn network or university alumni database to explore possible connections with the company.

As you craft your application materials, make sure that your plans to relocate appear on your resume or cover letter. If you plan to visit the area at a specific time, include those dates on your documents to show an employer that you’ll be available to interview in person. Many employers will ask for your salary requirements as part of the application process. Keep in mind that the cost of living varies across different geographic areas so your salary offer may reflect these differences. If this is your first time working in your home state, it is important that you review any professional licensure requirements that may exist for your field. You will want to take steps to ensure that you meet these standards as you plan for your move.

It is important that you break your search down into actionable steps; set smaller goals and attach a time frame to each target to make your job search manageable.

KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M. is a Santa Monica based professional career counselor who holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia Universities. Visit her online at www.kdcareer.com.  Send your questions to newshrink@gmail.com. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!