How to move to another state and get a job?
April 3, 2011 6:45 AM   Subscribe

How to move to another state and get a job?

I feel like this is something I should already know, so I feel kind of dumb asking.

When I went out on my first date with Mr. Ipsum almost 10 years ago, he mentioned his dream to someday move someplace warmer, like California, or possibly the Carolinas. We live in Buffalo, and even though I've lived here my whole life, I've never grown used to the cold weather, so that idea always sounded good to me. I knew that if I had a continuing relationship with him, it would likely mean a move someday, and I was fine with that. (I still am.)

At the time we were dating, a few circumstances prevented his being able to move, but now we are both able to. We have no kids, and no near-future plans to have any. A few months ago, he mentioned that "this summer" we should try to start looking for jobs in California, but just the other day, he said that "next year" we should start looking for jobs. I get the feeling that, like me, he is hesitant to take the plunge because we're both not really sure where to start.

He mentioned a while back that the best thing to do (once a job or jobs are lined up) would be to sell our house and just get an apartment in CA (or wherever we're heading). That takes some pressure off the idea of trying to coordinate selling the old house with buying a new house, and it also gives us time to look around for a permanent place to live, once we are already in the area. That sounds good to me. Although I am a bit concerned by the expensive housing in CA - but he has a very well-paying job and feels confident that we can make it work.

Which brings us to the issue of jobs. How are we supposed to both get jobs in another state, in the same general area, at the same time, without living there? I don't really know what the "standard" is. I am a librarian, which I know is a field without a lot of job openings, particularly in CA. It took me years after getting my MLS to finally have a full-time job. I really like the job I have now, and am nervous that I won't be able to find anything else in another location. And I doubt that, unless I'm applying for director jobs or high-level administrators, that any library would want to pay to fly me out for an interview. (And I don't think I'm at that experience level yet.)

Mr. Ipsum, on the other hand, is in a field that pays very well, where apparently his skill set is in demand. I don't think he'll have much trouble finding a job. So I guess the thing to do is let him find a job, and then hope that I can find something in that same area after we move? Or, since my parents live in Buffalo, I suppose he could move out to CA with his new job, we could sell the house, and I could continue with my current job a bit longer, while living with my parents, as I continued my job search.

I don't really know what I'm asking, other than if someone has any "Finding Jobs Out-of-State for Dummies" kind of tips. I just feel like I don't know where to begin.
posted by LaurenIpsum to Work & Money (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason it has to be California instead of the Carolinas?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:04 AM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: "Is there a reason it has to be California instead of the Carolinas?"

Not really - the only "reason" being that this is what Mr. Ipsum has had his heart set on (even before I knew him), because he's been there a few times to visit friends, and he really loves it. So that's sort of our "first choice" location. But he's the first to admit that, if we aren't able to find jobs, or decide we can't afford the housing costs, then it doesn't have to be CA. So we could end up going to the Carolinas (or some other warm area) instead.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 7:07 AM on April 3, 2011

California's unemployment rate is 12.2%, which is currently the second worst in the country. I'm currently trying to import my boyfriend from the Midwest and although he has a pretty specialized career that's also in demand here, we're still having trouble.

Perhaps you could make this a multi-stage move. Head for a state that's warmer and closer to CA, live there until the economy improves, and then try for here?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:26 AM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry, I didn't mean to make it seem as if California was the focus of the question. Regardless of where we decide to move to, my concern is about us managing to get jobs in another state while living here, and how to coordinate things if we don't end up both getting jobs at the same time. We just don't know what the first step is in getting the ball rolling.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2011

In my experience, it's a lot easier to find a job somewhere when you're already living there. Both finding jobs at the same time in the same place seems like a stretch -- what I would do is move when one of you gets a job.

In case the one has to support the other for a while, it might make sense to move based on when he gets a job, as his career pays better.

Moving before either of you has a job just seems too risky for me.

Agreed with selling your house in Buffalo and renting initially when you get there.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:57 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've done this twice now, once to California from the mid-west, then from California to Philadelphia. I would not move until one of you has a job lined up.

When interviewing, you will be at a disadvantage to local applicants. What I'd try to do is make it clear that you will be moving regardless of whether you get the job or not. Employers don't want to go through the hiring process only to have the applicant flake out at the last minute and decide not to move. If you tell them that you will be moved on August 1st (or whatever) regardless of whether you get this job, it will put some fears to rest.

Sell your house now, and move into an apartment locally, then plan on renting in California for several months while you look for a new house. Life will be much easier for you if you've already sold your house before you leave the area. My last move our sale wasn't quite final before we moved, and faxing paper back and forth was a pain.

Take your time before you buy a new house. You won't really know the area until you've been there for a few months, and don't be surprised if your jobs end up being miles apart. Buying a house that splits the middle can make everyone's life less stressful.

(On preview, what J. Wilson says)
posted by Eddie Mars at 8:16 AM on April 3, 2011

Only answering this because I have moved many, many times in the past – sometimes with a job and without a job (and I was a crazy job hopper in the past, too), so I think that I can offer some suggestions. Also, with a partner, you actually have it a bit easier.

From your description, if your partner has a unique skill set, he probably has several options available to him to make it easier, from working with a recruiter (if his field does this), to the company paying for him to fly out for the interview. So let’s go with that assumption that he will find a job and get there first.

I agree with everyone above and also your description – if this is a job that already has a crowded market, they will not pay to fly you out there. Instead, this s is what I would do:

• (Option 1) Find a list of every possible library in that area. Email them as soon as your husband has a place there. Provide the contact information of your husband, however. Then when you get invited for interviews, you will have to pay to fly out there. I would have a phone interview, first, to make sure it is a good fit There are some employment places that may see an out of state address and not invite you to interview, so the onus may be on you to appear as if you live there (or at least get past an HR person). You may even want to consider getting a google voice number with an area code for that area.

• (Option 2) Just move there and plan that there will be a loss of $ for a while. You can also take any job in the meantime, but plan to leave the instant a job in your field comes along. It may be worthwhile for you to follow this plan (at least the moving out before you have a job) if you are skilled at networking, etc. …you may find jobs that you would never find from job ads, etc.

You can obviously do some combo of the above, obviously, too (move out there, send letters to every possible company, etc.).

Are there any librarian type forums? I've gotten job leads from forums for profession X in the past just by posting questions about job availability/recommendations for good places to work,etc. Not a librarian so I can't point to anything, but forums for a particular job can be helpful for this.
posted by Wolfster at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2011

Unfortunately, I think you also have to look at the question of whether you can sell your current house. In many areas, there are so many foreclosures on the market that it's very difficult to actually sell a house for anything like a reasonable price. Now, I'm in southeast Michigan, where things are especially bad, but you should definitely look at your local real estate market to see what you can realistically expect.
posted by shiny blue object at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some great advice here, and I have been in that position too. But I'm going to be that wet blanket, and vote for putting the brakes on this plan for right now, though.

If I'm reading your question thoroughly, both of you have full-time employment right now? Meaning that you would both have to quit perfectly good (if not dream) jobs in order to make this happen?

Because gosh, that is really just a recipe for disaster. Especially in These Tough Economic Times.

If Mr. Ipsum had just been laid off, my advice would be to send him out as the forward scout, to rent an apartment and find a job. Meanwhile, you stay behind to sell the house and take care of all the moving/packing.

The alternative is for you to go out as the forward scout, find an apartment, and have Mr. Ipsum use the apartment as his contact info for his job hunt. The only benefit here is that I assume your job is bringing in less income than his (pardon the assumption, I don't actually know). Therefore it will be less financially disruptive for your income to be lost first. It also gives you a head start looking for work, since it sounds like your job will take longer to replace.

This second scenario isn't as ideal, because it means he will probably have to fly out several times for interviews. It's also harder to explain than "I was laid off so I moved here, and now I'm looking for work." But at least it establishes both of you as being committed to the move, and not likely to back out at the last minute.

But really, if there is any possible way you can convince him to sit tight for a year or two while you build your savings, network and make job contacts in CA, and generally shore up your financial position, that would be ideal.

I wouldn't pull the trigger on a plan like this unless I had a full year's income - for both of you - in the bank. Worst-case scenario, you both end up stranded and jobless in CA, living in a crappy apartment, paying the mortgage on a faraway home you cannot sell, and watching your savings leak away at a surprising clip. Voluntarily!
posted by ErikaB at 5:51 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband's skills are more marketable from a distance than mine. He got a job in ca first, then sold his house (we weren't married at the time, then I moved out without a job, then I got a job a couple months later, then we bought a house. I feel like we did things in the right order. We had the security of his income and it's impossible to house shop from 3,000 miles away. You can't get enough of a feel for the neighborhoods.
posted by bananafish at 9:41 PM on April 3, 2011

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