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Relocating for work? Dos and don’ts for the big move

Date: 03 May 2018

The thought of relocating for work can make even the most seasoned professional feel a little apprehensive. How do you decide if the opportunities on offer are worth committing to the move?

Here at EPM Scientific, we have had years of experience helping candidates relocate within the US and beyond and can advise you on the best way to minimize disruption so you can just concentrate on building an exciting new life and career.

If you’re relocating, do…

1. Be clear about the cost of living

A higher salary doesn’t necessarily translate into a higher standard of living. Housing costs, local taxes, transportation costs and other factors can all bite into your disposable income, so take the time to research the local cost of living.

2. Ask about employer assistance

Many employers offer help for new staff moving across country. This is usually in the form of financial assistance with removal expenses and other costs of setting up a new life, but some companies go a step further and help with arrangements like finding work for your spouse, school places for the kids or registration with a local doctor. Calculate your moving costs and see if you can negotiate a stipend from your new employer. If they are reluctant, a signing bonus can often be negotiated to offset some of the cost.

3. Check if moving expenses are tax deductible

Even if your new employer does not offer any assistance with moving costs, these are often eligible for partial reimbursement from the IRS. Of course, rules and restrictions apply; generally, only costs incurred as a direct result of the new role can be deducted, and you have to move at least 50 miles from your old home and office. There is also usually a requirement to work full time for at least 39 weeks in the 52 weeks following the move to qualify.

4. Get to grips with the commute

A long and stressful commute will really reduce your experience of the new role, so choose your new home carefully, perhaps carrying out a trial run of the drive or ride on the subway before signing a lease. There’s also nothing worse than being late for your first day in a new role due to unexpected problems with transportation, so plan your journey carefully. It’s also a good idea to get a feel for the local area including places to buy lunch, spend your breaks or pick up essentials.

5. Build a new support network

Starting a new life in a new city can be lonely, but the trick is to be proactive in getting out and meeting people. Look up old friends in the area, or even friends of friends on social media. Joining a club or taking up a new hobby is also a great way to find new friends. You might also find interests in common with new colleagues. The faster you can build connections, the sooner you will feel at home.

And don’t…

1. Be disheartened if it takes time to adjust

Moving across country is certainly a challenge and it takes time to build a new life, so don’t be hard on yourself if it takes a year or more to feel comfortable and supported in your new life. Speaking to friends and family back home can be a real lifeline, and don’t forget that by facing the challenge of making a new life, you are building lots of invaluable life skills.

2. Jump into long-term commitments

It’s impossible to know everything about your new city before you move, so avoid any long-term commitments like buying a house before you really know what you are doing. Renting a home for a short period of time will give you space to choose where you want to live, and some companies even offer short-term accommodation for this purpose.

3. Make the move if it’s not really what you want

Deciding to move takes some soul-searching, and it’s up to you to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons. If there are genuine reasons why the move might not work for you – for example, it doesn’t make financial sense, or you have caring responsibilities for family members back home – then deciding not to move right now might be the right decision.

4. Ignore the other decision makers in your life

If relocation is a serious possibility, then we would suggest that you have that discussion with the other decision makers in your life as early as possible, ideally at the start of an interview process. That could be your partner, spouse, parents or children, anyone else who might be affected by this move. That way, you’ll all be on the same page from the outset and you won’t have to have any tricky conversations at the point of accepting an offer – a time when you should be celebrating your next step!

Relocation can be the perfect way to advance your career and enrich your life as a whole, so don’t let fear hold you back. With the support and guidance of an experienced, professional recruiter like EPM, it’s sure to be a smooth and exciting process.

This checklist is just a starting point. To find out more about relocation and how EPM can help you, email William.Kirchhoff@epmscientific.com.