Relocating for a Job: Is it Worth It? [7 Questions to Ask]

A young man in blue suit surrounded by boxes. He's on his phone and his laptop sits opened nearby.

Have you been considering whether you should relocate and search for a new job? Have you been offered an opportunity thousands of miles away that’s just too good to pass up? 

Before you make the jump across the country (literally), there’s a lot to consider. And I mean a lot.

Can your partner find a job? Can you afford the area you’d need to relocate to? Are there good opportunities in the area for you and your family? That’s before you even consider whether the job is a good fit and aligns with your career goals. 

Fewer people are relocating for work nowadays due to remote offerings, hybrid positions and high housing prices. In fact, job seeker relocations are at an all-time low. However, that doesn’t mean relocating for a job isn’t the right move for you. 

I’ve both relocated for the company I was currently working at and for a job at a brand-new company. Each time I’ve relocated, it’s been a great move for my career. 

It can be a good decision for you, too, as long as you do the work beforehand to ensure the location and position align with you personally and professionally. Failing to do so can leave you in a bad position. 

In this article, I’ll review the seven questions you need to ask before you relocate for work. 

Should I Relocate for a Job? 7 Questions to Ask

As exciting as it may sound to pack up and move somewhere new, there’s some research you need to do first to increase your chances of success in a new location. 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. What are you leaving behind? 
  2. Does the job provide good benefits and growth opportunities?
  3. What is the cost to move?
  4. What is the cost of living in the new location? 
  5. Do you like what the area has to offer? 
  6. Can your partner find a job? 
  7. Can you negotiate the location? 

Go through this list of questions and make a list of pros and cons. See how they balance out before you make a final decision. 

1. What are you leaving behind? 

Before you start looking for jobs outside of your current location, or consider a job offer in a new area, think about what you’re leaving behind and if you’re comfortable with that. Your family, your friends, the weather, the city, the recreation — can you leave all that behind? 

This may or may not be a problem for you, depending on whether you’ve relocated before or if you don’t have any ties to the area you currently reside in. 

The first time I moved, I was young and didn’t have a family of my own yet. I desired the adventure of moving and the company I worked for paid for me to relocate. I took advantage of that. However, now that I’m back in the Midwest — where I’m near my family and I like the location — it would be tough to leave again.

Job interview concept. Two people sit at a desk talking with their hands. Resumes are in front of them.

2. Does the job provide good benefits and growth opportunities?

Each time I relocated for a job — and I did it several times — I did so to advance my career. 

In a lot of organizations, the best way to move up is by relocating. Instead of waiting for the position to open up in your current office, you can take the same position in a different office location — as long as you’re willing to move. 

Think twice before relocating for any old job. I’ve known plenty of people who packed up and moved to a new city because they wanted a change, even though they had a great, stable job. In their new city, they took a random job that didn’t make them happy and they ended up moving back. 

The moral of the story: It’s not always a great idea to leave a great job just because you feel like moving. It’s a risky decision that may or may not turn out favorably.

If you’re going to move for a job, make sure it’s the right one. It should provide some sort of benefit or gain — whether that’s career growth or monetary benefits. Relocate for the right reasons — not just because you think a new location will be fun.

Also, consider there’s a bigger risk when relocating to work for a different company entirely than relocating to take a different position within your current company. I’ve known plenty of people that didn’t like the location they moved to so they moved back. You can’t do that if you switch companies entirely. 

3. What is the cost to move?

If you don’t have to, you should never move for free. There are plenty of companies out there that offer relocation packages. In my case, I’ve moved seven times and I’ve never had to pay for all my moving expenses out of pocket. 

Does that mean you’ll always be offered compensation to move? Not necessarily. If you’re fresh out of college or moving into an entry-level position, you’ll more likely than not pay your own way to relocate. If you’re transitioning into a leadership or management position, you’re more likely to be offered a relocation package.

If you aren’t sure if a company will pay to relocate you, ask. Plenty of times companies have a relocation package but unless a new employee asks for it, they won’t get it. 

Every company — those that have one— pays out its relocation package differently.

Companies may pay the new employee using a mileage calculation based on the distance of the move. The more miles you move, the more money you get. They could also reimburse you up to a certain amount. 

However, some companies do full-service relocation packages. They’ll book and pay for everything so they can control the amount spent. They may also do a full-service moving package and pay for everything. 

The higher up you are in a company, the more they’re typically willing to cover and the more accommodating they are. 

If a relocation package isn’t offered, you’ll be paying for the move yourself, and how much you spend is based on your situation. This should be factored into your decision. Can you afford to relocate? How much will you need to spend to do so?

Make a list of all the expenses you’ll incur — everything from moving boxes to a moving van to fuel — and see if it’s within your budget.  

Two movers packing up a moving van.

4. What is the cost of living?

There are plenty of online resources that allow you to compare the cost of living in several areas. Use as many of these comparison websites as you can find, because the numbers are usually slightly different depending on when the data was put together. 

Look at real estate websites, homes for sale and apartment listings. Is the area affordable and within your budget? Consider where you want to live and where you can afford to live. Do the two line up?

You may have been offered an awesome opportunity in Chicago, but if you aren’t offered a salary to comfortably cover the cost of living, relocating is probably not the best decision. If you can’t afford to do anything because the cost of living is too high, it can turn into a nightmare situation pretty quickly. 

This could be the most important step you take when considering job relocation. Use the information you find to understand what you need to earn to be happy and comfortable.

5. Do you like what the area has to offer? 

While I don’t recommend you follow a place for a job — the job should always come first, before location — you shouldn’t relocate somewhere you won’t like at all. You should have an idea of where you absolutely will not move. 

Don’t blindly move until you know what the area has to offer. For instance, if you love nature, moving to the heart of a concrete city most likely won’t make you happy in the long term. If you need to be near a thriving food scene, moving to a small town probably won’t be fulfilling.

If you have a family, look at crime statistics. Is it safe for you and your family to live there? What school district will you be in? Are there hospitals and good doctors nearby? Are there recreational opportunities for your family? Considering schools is especially important because it can mean the difference between public school and private school. If you have to pay for private school, you can try to negotiate a higher salary to cover that expense.

Some companies will fly you to their city for an interview and give you time to look around to see if the new area is a good fit. Some places will even pay to fly your family with you. If this isn’t offered to you, take it upon yourself to travel to that area on your own. Explore and see if the city has what you’re looking for.

If you’re relocating for a job, every little thing matters. 

6. Can your partner find a job? 

This is one of the toughest considerations on the list. Again, you have to do a lot of research to figure out what the job market looks like and if there are openings in your partner’s field. If your partner works in a niche field, it may be difficult for them to find a job. 

In a perfect world, your partner is willing to move and they find a great job right after you move. Of course, that’s the ideal situation and one that doesn’t always happen. 

For example, friends of mine moved to Denver and it took seven months for one of them to find a job. They were prepared for this, but despite their preparation, it was very hard on them. 

If you decide to move and your partner doesn’t have anything lined up, be prepared for both financial and emotional struggles. Consider what you can face together. Do you have money put aside to cover a few months’ worth of expenses? Can you survive and thrive on one income? Will the mental toll be worth it?

7. Can you negotiate the location? 

If you’ve decided you aren’t willing to relocate but you’re sold on the job, talk to the hiring manager or recruiter about opportunities for hybrid work or relocating to a different location. Perhaps you could still take the job but only visit the office once per month. Maybe you could move to a different location the company has offices in — one closer to home or in a better area.

There are no guarantees, but it’s always worth it to have the conversation. 

The same goes for negotiating salaries and benefits. You’re potentially giving up a lot to relocate and it can be expensive. Make sure your salary will cover the new expenses and cost of living. You want the move to be worth it.

Man in blue suit jacket and button-down shirt as he holds a packed box of office possessions.

Relocate for a Career You Love

Moving always costs something — whether it’s money, losing access to a favorite restaurant or having to move away from family. 

I understand the desire to pack up and move on a whim. I’ve moved seven times for a job and enjoyed my time doing so. I’ve also seen friends relocate and have it both turn out wonderfully and terribly. So, if you plan to relocate simply because you love the city, consider that it’s a little riskier.

Weigh the pros and cons of relocating by asking yourself these seven questions and discussing them with a loved one: 

  1. What are you leaving behind? 
  2. Does the job provide good benefits and growth opportunities?
  3. What is the cost to move?
  4. What is the cost of living? 
  5. Do you like what the area has to offer? 
  6. Can your partner find a job? 
  7. Can you negotiate the location? 

Don’t jump into a new position without taking time to weigh the benefits and the risks. 

Have you ever thought about a career in the transportation industry? Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) isn’t just hiring drivers — we’re hiring transportation professionals across the country that specialize in logistics, sales, accounting, quality assurance and more.  

ATS is headquartered in Central Minnesota, but we have locations open across the country. Check out our career opportunities and take our job match quiz to see where you’d fit in. 

Transportation Industry Job Match Quiz

Tags: Career Resources

Lars Offerdahl

Written by Lars Offerdahl

Lars has been in the trucking industry his whole working life. He started working in the shop when he was just 16 years old. After attending Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and earning his marketing degree, he started working in operations. Lars spent about 10 years in operations before moving to driver recruiting. He spent five years in recruiting before joining the ATS team as the vice president of driver recruiting. He loves the challenge driver recruiting presents; no day is ever the same. Changing a driver’s life by offering them a great opportunity is what keeps him going.

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