According to a study conducted by fitness firm Strava, this past weekend marked the date you most likely gave up on your New Year’s resolution. Looks like 2020 just isn’t the year that you’re going to get fit or learn French. C’est la vie. But wait—are you going to surrender so easily? So the last one didn’t stick. It happens! Why not use this opportunity to make a new New Years resolution—a better, job-related resolution.
If you want to really improve your life, the best thing you can do is find a job that you love, in a city that you love. Here at ClearanceJobs, we’ve helped you previously with job changes in the same general area—the move to the company down the road with the bigger cubes and the better health plan. We’ve told you what you need to do to get that job: polish thy resume, network, and search our database of over 50,000 listings.
But what about the sort of job move that isn’t down the street? Sometimes the best job for you is clear across the U.S.A. It’s a big step to pack your life into a U-Haul and not stop until the sun has set and risen again. And if you want to get a job out there, it’s going to take more than a good resume. Once again, we are here to help. Here is how to make this the year you get a job on the other side of the country.
But First: Research
Though we live in a globally connected, digital economy, getting a job is still an intimate affair governed by personal connections. This is why making a major, cross country move is so challenging. You cannot simply count on a good cover letter to get a faraway job offer. You’re going to need some serious face time in the city you wish to call home.
“Doing a remote job search is really hard,” says Marc Miller, an author and the founder of Career Pivot, a firm that prepares workers for major career changes. In order to properly network and understand the local job landscape, he recommends flying out at least every other month to the new city where you would like to be hired.
If you are eyeing a major metropolitan area, he recommends that when visiting, job seekers should find a copy of the local business journal and look up its “book of lists.”
“Every business journal—because they’re all owned by the same people—every week they put out a list, and every December they put out a book of lists,” he says. These lists might include the top 100 companies in the area, or a list of every engineering firm or nonprofit or publicly traded corporation. There might be a list of the major local decision makers and their contact information. These are unbelievably detailed guides detailing who’s who and what’s what. According to Miller, “That is a really good place for understanding who the heck is in that geography.”
(If you have never encountered a book of lists, google that phrase, “business journal” and whichever city you wish to work. You might be stunned by the results, and this will let you get familiar with what a book of list is, generally, and how to read it.)
Find WORKERS LIKE YOU, DOING THE JOB YOU WANT
The books of lists can help you plan your networking strategy: who to email and set up coffee or drinks; where to look for work; what’s available and how competitive is the environment. Miller suggests also that prospective employees go online and take a look at the faces of your future colleagues. “Look for people who look, taste, and smell like you,” he says. “Look for people who are doing the job you want.”
The thing is—and this is not necessarily a great thing—companies and industries definitely have their own types. “Companies pay to find out who are their best employees, and therefore want people who look like them.” This, says Miller, is particularly bad in the tech sector. “If they are all young white males, their hiring process will be skewed toward that. This is a problem.”
Which is one reason why finding workers who look like you gives you some assurance that certain companies are worth your time. (You might also find someone worth networking with.)
For example: one member of Miller’s website community attended a software developer boot camp and learned to write software in Unreal, the 3D development engine used in everything from video games to the special effects in The Mandalorian. She moved to the D.C. area and wanted to know who hired junior coders who are older in age. Her research revealed that most such older faces in junior software developer positions could be found in the U.S. government and at defense contractors.
“That tells her who she can target,” says Miller. The industries constrained, she was able to save an extraordinary amount of time otherwise spent pitching companies who would only hire twenty-year-olds for such a position.
THE TAXMAN HELPETH
A job consultant who specializes in geographic relocations can give you good, practical advice on what to do. But U.S. tax policy can also be a big help: workers who wish to relocate more than seventy miles from where they currently live can expect generous tax breaks. According to Relocation.com, an online worker-relocation resource, among the moving-related expenses that can be deducted from your taxes are: the cost of packing and relocating your goods (whether you do it yourself or hire professional movers); travel and hotel costs incurred along the way; insurance costs; storage fees; changing utility companies; and even relocating your car.
“Although you may incur significant costs associated with your relocation,” says the service website, “the moving expense deduction can help take some of the sting out come tax time. As always, you should consult with your tax professional to make the best decisions related to your individual situation.”
Moving for work is a major investment beyond the hard work that went into getting the job, and the IRS knows it. But if it is within your means, and if you have the burning desire for a truly new you in the new year, here is your chance to make a meaningful change in your life. You only live once. Do you want to spend that life working a job you don’t like? Here’s a good place to start the search for a happier you.