In your dreams, you’re a successful professional working in an equally exciting city. You see your life in front of you and it’s amazing.
Your reality is that you live in a small town with no hope of real success. You have two options at this point. The first option is to stay where you are and resign yourself to mediocrity.
It’s a safe, low-risk option that also yields low returns. Or you can pick option two and move to the city of your dreams and experience all the excitement and opportunity that comes with it.
Let’s say you pick option two. How do you get there from here?
Step 1: Prepare yourself to move
The first step is to commit to moving. Tell your friends and family of your plan and iron out the interpersonal wrinkles that keep you in place. If you are leasing, you’ll want to begin this process at least six months out.
If you own your home, you might need more or less time depending on your local market as you’ll want to sell before you move if at all possible. Qualified and efficient real estate agents, go a long way.
Some have a website that make it easier to take the next steps. Don’t go DIY on selling your home.
Once you notify the appropriate parties that you’re deciding to move, you’ll need to start the decluttering process as soon as possible. The farther you’re moving the more you’ll need to purge.
Step 2: Make Your current connections work for you
The conversation where you speak to your current professional connections about your move is also the one where you request referrals and recommendations.
You never know who might know someone in the city you’re moving to and who can provide a warm introduction to smooth your transition. Recommendations are also essential.
The ideal recommendation will vouch for your character, your work ethic, your professional capabilities, and your potential. You’ll need to gather several names who can be called, several letters you can attach to applications, and several recommendations on LinkedIn.
Step 3: Connect with recruiters and companies
No one wants to work with recruiters, but here it’s essential. You can’t rely on a vast professional network to help you find a job, so you’ll need to rely on the network of the recruiters.
Recruiters are financially incentivized to help so they tend to be more reliable than asking a friend to vouch for you. Connect with multiple recruiters on LinkedIn and actively check up on them if they don’t seem to move as quickly as needed.
This is the time to provide your most up-to-date resume. Be ready to interview on the fly and practice your skills. If this doesn’t work, make a list of companies that are hiring and contact them directly.
Step 4: Connect socially
Social media is your friend. If you don’t have social media accounts on at least Twitter and LinkedIn, now is the time to set them up. LinkedIn is a social media site for working professionals and is used exclusively for this purpose.
Recruiters regularly scan LinkedIn for individuals like yourself, so get your resume up and ready. To set yourself up for success, post a professional-looking profile picture and completely fill out every section.
Look for others in your field to see what skills work best. For Twitter, use it to follow industry leaders and professional organizations. Some groups are extremely active on Twitter. For example, the Microsoft technical communities are active and willing to connect with other professionals.
The same applies for Twitter as for LinkedIn: create a professional handle, use a professional profile picture, and write a description that depicts who you are as a professional and where you want to move.
Solicit “retweets” on Twitter by posting a simple message stating what you’re looking for. If you’ve connected successfully you’ll find kind souls willing to spread the word.
Step 5: Move
The combination of these steps should at the very least enable you to physically relocate to another city. The best case scenario is that you have a job offer in hand by the time you move.
If not, you should have the connections that garner you interviews. This is where purging and packing beforehand will come in handy.
Moving is expensive and you don’t need a hefty moving bill when you’re close to running out of funds. Pack only what you need and what you can’t purchase when you move.
If you can store items with family in your current city, do so with the promise that you’ll be back to pick them up. Sell what you can to make some extra cash for your travels.
And above all, don’t forget to have fun. This is the next chapter to your new life and it’s a time to celebrate, not stress.
If you followed all of these steps you’ll have turned your dream of a new life a reality. From small town to big city, or maybe from the big city to the farm, whatever you chose is perfect for where you’re going.
Once you’re settled, be sure to profusely thank everyone who helped you get there. Return the favor with recommendations and referrals. Send thank you cards notifying everyone of your new address.
To further cement your career in your new location, connect with any professional groups in the area. Attend meetups when possible; start one if you have to. And then relax. You made it.
Isabel Parkes works as a recruitment consultant and likes to take the opportunity to offer her insights and suggestions for career strategies online. She writes for a variety of websites on a regular basis.