Five Things Every Job Seeker Should Consider

As of December 2014, the national unemployment rate is 5.6%. That is a decline of 1.1 percentage points from December 2013. This is good news and a sign that things are headed in the right direction. As the unemployed and under employed vow to make 2015 the year of change as it relates to their career or job situation, there is one thing everyone should think about. Relocation Job Seeker Should Consider.

Relocation was not much of an option over the past few years because the picture was bleak all over the US. However, that is changing. Some metro areas are improving significantly in certain job industries. For example, if you are in trade, transportation or utilities, the Atlanta (Sandy Springs-Marietta) area may be a good look for you. The number of jobs added to payroll in this area increase by 2.4% over the last year.

If you are searching for employment in the professional and business sector, you have some options. The following cities led the race for employment growth in this industry: Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Dallas, San Francisco-Oakland and Washington. Educators and health professionals should look to Boston-Cambridge, Houston, New York, Los Angeles or Long Beach.

The prize for overall job growth for 2014 goes to Houston, TX. Houston added more jobs to the US economy between November 2013 and November 2014 than any other city. Other notable mentions are Dallas and the New York/Northern Jersey/ Long Island metropolitan area. Like Houston, both added over 100,000 positions during this period. But before you put out the “for sale” sign or pack up the family headed for greener pastures, there is much more to take into consideration.

Number of Job Opportunities

This is extremely important. While I hope you are not afraid of a little competition, it’s just not wise to jump from the frying pan and into the fire. Check the number of job postings for yourself. In fact, you should watch these numbers for a couple of months before adding a particular city to your list of possible places to relocate. To see just how many opportunities are available in your field, search the top two job boards, Indeed.com and Careerbuilder.com. Narrow the search down as much as you possibly can and then track the number of jobs listed for a couple of months. This will give you an indication of the industry’s strength in that area.

Starting Salaries

If you want to struggle financially, you can stay where you are. So remember, just because a city has jobs available does not mean they pay well. On the flip side, be reasonable when it comes to salary expectations. Unless you have years of experience (at least 10+) and it is evident that you are actively engaged in your field, you shouldn’t expect to walk in the door at the top of the pay range. If the jobs in your target city offers a starting salary around the median, you should probably consider it. You may be able to negotiate for more but keep the big picture in mind. To find out more about how much jobs are paying in a particular area, you can get a free report from Salaries.com or Payscale.com. But if you are a mid-level professional, I would say invest in purchasing the detailed report.

Job Growth

The big picture should include job growth. Starting at the median income level or slightly below is not a bad idea if there is room for you to get in, expand your skills and move up (or around). Once you find an employer of interest, research them thoroughly. Start with the company website. You can find a wealth of information there. Read all about the company history, values, products and services. This will give you a nice glimpse of what it may be like to work for the company. But if you really want to know the real deal, read the annual reports (if listed). Also, search for consumer reviews of the business. Then check out Glassdoor.com to see what previous and current employees have to say about the organization.

Housing Affordability

Another point to study is the housing situation. Based on the average starting salary for your profession (in your target market), will you be able to afford to live there? While San Francisco, New York and DC job markets are attractive (for certain industries), the average rent is anywhere from $2K – $3k+ a month. The average home price hovers around 1 million. If you want to know how far your dollars will or will not go in a new city, take a look at Cnn.money.com. This website has a great calculator which allows you to do a direct comparison between two cities.

At the end of the day, the one thing to remember is that knowledge is key. The more you know, the more informed you will be when making your decisions. Everything that glitters isn’t gold so do your research. And although your work is not your life, it plays a huge role in overall satisfaction. So if your current employment situation is less than ideal, now is the time to act. Consider relocating but take all points into consideration. If you find a sweet spot, go for it.