With fall semester coming to a close, high time for #SAgrads and other job-seekers is just around the corner. This is an exciting time that comes with some challenges. One challenge is determining where in the world to search. For some, that may be determined by dual-searching with a partner, moving to be with a partner, personal preference or proximity to loved ones. No matter the reason, conducting a location-based search brings on considerations those without limits may not face. Here are some tips and tricks for your location-based search:
- Why this location?
Do you desire a specific zip code? Is a partner or family member waiting for your move? Are you hoping to stay in that region long-term? No matter what it is, take time to carefully consider the reason you are set on a certain area before fully committing. Be sure you are making this choice for YOU. Hopefully, this part of the search is easy.
- How large is your target area?
So you chose a location. Now how far are you willing to commute? If you are moving to be with a partner or loved ones you may have a very specific area where you would like to live. Sometimes this means signing up for a sizable commute. This is especially important to consider if you are applying for positions that require you to be on campus outside of 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday. If you are interested in student activities or Greek life, for example, you may head to campus more than once per day and/or on weekends. Keep this in mind before settling on a target area. If you are looking in a geographic region rather than a certain city, you will have more flexibility regarding a commute. Also, metro areas tend to have a larger number and variety of institutions. Even if you aren’t big city folk, being near a city may help increase the number of open positions as well as a range of housing options to fit your budget.
- What is the cost of living in your desired location?
Generally speaking, the cost of living (rent, groceries, taxes) are significantly higher in cities than in suburbs or rural areas. Check out a cost of living calculator to see approximately how much you need to make to live within your desired lifestyle. Many times, salaries will be scaled to accommodate a satisfactory lifestyle in your area, but you should still do the math yourself. Be sure to include pets, medical needs, a travel budget and other spending habits.
- How will your lifestyle change with a move?
Are you going from a bustling city to a small town? Vice versa? One big city to another? You’ll want to account for things like transportation, type of housing, local entertainment and your overall wellness before committing to a big move. Do you need to buy or sell a car? Downsize from a single-family home to an apartment? Find or ditch roommates? Give up a yard for a short walk to the subway? If you enjoy local restaurants and events, consider the culture of your desired area. It is important to think about your overall quality of life when moving, in addition to the job.
- Do you have an established network in that area?
Before sending out job applications, peruse your social and personal networks for folks you may know in the area. Even if you don’t know anyone directly, ask your colleagues if they can introduce you to someone. Use your hashtags and social networks to let folks know you are searching in a specific location. More times than not, a friendly #SApro will connect with you to answer questions and put in a good word. Don’t be afraid to post on the Student Affairs Professionals Facebook page or tweet at folks who live and work within your desired location. They may know about potential openings that haven’t posted yet. Ask all of the appropriate career questions, but remember to also ask about living in your new city.
Many #SApros decide to make significant moves for several reasons; sometimes to advance your career you have to leave your institution. Even when conducting a location-based search, never forget to consider your values, institutional, and lifestyle fit before accepting a position and packing those boxes! Best wishes to all you searchers out there, and make sure to connect with @The_SA_Blog followers to build your network!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Danny Malave on New Professional Retrospective on the Job Search