A few months ago, a global pandemic simply seemed like a passing thunderstorm. We all sheltered in place waiting for the clouds to lift and life as usual to resume before we could even consider whether or not to relocate for a job. But here we are in July, and COVID-19 is impacting our summer plans, our kids’ school plans in September, and maybe even our own career plans.

COVID-19 Impact on Career Goals

For the risk and change adverse individual, this pandemic life can lead to a desire to shore up what we have and hunker down until it’s all over. It’s an understandable response. However, it’s important to keep overall career goals in place. A good enough employer may not be a good enough reason to stay with them instead of pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Many indicators seem to point to the fact that COVID-19 will not go quietly into the night, shifting how we operate in the workplace. Overnight, it became clear that work needed to be done within the defense industry to get employees set to work remotely, and employers and agencies quickly rose to the occasion. Impacts to contract schedules were felt in a few places, but defense work took the hit, adjusted, and marched on despite the setback. Bottom line: contracts are still being awarded, and recruiters are still seeking qualified cleared candidates all over the country.

Steps to take when Looking to Relocate

It’s not always an easy decision to uproot and relocate somewhere else, but going through the steps to consider a relocation can help confirm your preference to stay or give the desire flight some wings.

  1. Check out your career goals. Is your reason for staying put move you closer to your goals?
  2. Think through what you have liked about a virtual work environment and what fits with your personality. Start to nail down whether your current organization will only operate with increased flexibility during a pandemic or if this is a permanent change.
  3. Make a list of the agencies and organizations that align with your goals and interests, and do a little research to see if they align with your goals and personality.
  4. Lastly, calculate your current salary compared to your worth, and then compare that to your current cost of living versus the cost of living in the other locations. Maximize the return on your investment. An area with more upward movement for your career might translate better for your long term career AND financial goals.

Take Advantage of COVID-19 Life When You Relocate

The nice thing about relocating now is that it is possible to onboard virtually anywhere, which could buy you a little more in the moving process. Some companies are even offering generous sign-on bonuses for those willing to take the leap. If physically moving to the new location is required immediately, you have many options to feel out whether or not the location is a good fit for you. Create a location 411 list for yourself that details things like weather, cost of living, other employers or agencies in the area. Ask to talk to some of the local colleagues at the new organization, and if you have friends in your proposed new location, check with them on their thoughts. With less time commuting, you can also use the time to brush up on any necessary learning, so you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Consider the Relocation Advantages for your Career

When the world finally opens back up with either a new normal and pace or resumes life as usual, it might not be a great idea to still be sitting where you were when we all went home. One candidate surveyed by ClearanceJobs commented, “After updating my location my connections skyrocketed. I’ve had multiple job offers and now found work with a reputable corporation.” So, consider your current location and how advantageous it could be for you to move. Perhaps it’s time to update your location preference in your online profile too.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.
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