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How to Move to a Different State Without a Job


Millions of people around the world wish they could live somewhere else but are frozen in a state of inaction. It’s easy to feel stuck when your options are limited. Maybe you live in a small town with few economic opportunities, and dream of living in the big city pursuing your dream career. Perhaps it’s the opposite. A lot of people get sick of the fast pace of city life and long for something more communal and charming, where neighbors know each other’s names and there are weekend fairs.

Moving to a different state always seems so romantic, but so often it gets shrugged off as irresponsible or even impossible. You think you can’t do it yourself even though you seen other people do it. “Ah, they’re just lucky.”, you think to yourself. Either that or you presume they have some sort of hook up that helped them get settled and find a job.

Sure, moving without a job secured can be a bit nerve-wracking. It can feel like you’re going in blind and leaving too much to chance.

That, however, is not the case. There are a lot of things you can do before to make moving go smoothly even if you don’t have a job locked in. Here are some helpful tips on how to move to a different state without a job. Keep in mind that some of these will seem more doable to you based on what stage you’re at in life, so if anything looks unbearable, move on and find what fits.

woman counting dollar bills

1. Establish a Financial Cushion

There’s a good reason you want a job before you move to a different state. You want to be able to pay the bills, pursue your career, and save some money! That’s understandable. However, don’t let not having a job prevent you from chasing a dream.

What you can do now is build a financial cushion to cover yourself for six months. That will be enough to put a deposit down, pay rent, and handle any other expenses while you look for employment. Having a financial plan will give you extra peace of mind to take the leap and move without a job.

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2. Do You Have Any Friends or Relatives There?

Moving to a completely new state where you don’t know anyone can be intimidating, but most people don’t do that. Most of the time, you’re going to move to a state where you already know people or have family members there. You might want to consider moving in with a friend or family member until you get your feet firmly beneath you and start working. Even if you don’t want to move in with someone, knowing they’re there to pick you up and show you the ropes will be a huge comfort before moving.

man with shaggy black hair in striped suit holding magnifying glass in front of face enlarging his blue sunglasses

3. Do Some Demographic Research

So much information is online now that it’s pretty easy for you to know what kind of job market you’re going into. You can research a city or state’s largest employers, what industries are hiring there, unemployment rates, how many college graduates are there, and several other key demographic information. Understanding the employment picture where you’re moving will help you plan for how long you can expect to look for a good job.

Also, be smart about where you’re moving to. If you’re a teacher, don’t move somewhere with a surplus of teachers. Try to find an area that’s hiring teachers and focus your efforts there.

4. Find a Decent Storage Option Back Home

There’s something so freeing about moving to a different state. You can start a whole new life and leave whatever you want behind. It’s daunting to pack up everything you own and move to a new state. However, you don’t have to do it that way. Moving isn’t an all or nothing proposition. It can be done in stages.

Separate your things into what you must have and what you can leave behind. Whatever you don’t need can be left in a quality, affordable storage unit that will be there whenever you need it. Then, you can take the rest with you. Decluttering is a great help because you can find a smaller place to live (that’s cheaper). You’ll have more options when you move and can always bring the rest of your stuff after you find a job.

notebook with pencil open in front of laptop with facebook and blank word processing document coffee mug nearby

5. Start Your Job Application Prep Now

People find jobs across the country all the time now online. Companies even pay to help new employees move to a new state. If that happens to you, great! But it may not. That shouldn’t stop you, though, from putting some effort into your job search before you move. Get started now so you understand the job market.

If you’ve been in the same job for several years, odds are you could use some practice interviewing and your resume could use some brushing up as well. Don’t make your pre-move job search life or death. Treat it like it is practice so you’re ready to get to work after you’re in your new state.

hands on tablet with icons for social media networks displayed

6. Leverage Your Networks

While it’s true that most people find jobs through connections they make, it’s not like jobs are always falling in people’s laps. You still have to go out and ask your friends and colleagues what’s out there.

People love helping other people find work. Often, they get a referral bonus because it helps companies save money on recruiting efforts. People brought into companies by friends and colleagues also tend to stay around longer, so it’s a win-win.

Get on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks and announce that you’re moving to a new state and you’re looking for a job in the “x” industry. Give a summary of your experience without being too wordy and ask for help with any leads. You’ll be surprised by what opportunities come your way just for being bold enough to ask.

7. Ask About a Transfer

This is an easy one that so many people forget to think about. If you’re working for a medium-sized or large business, odds are they have some sort of presence in multiple states across America. Who’s to say they aren’t hiring in the state you’re moving to? Look on your company’s website and ask your managers if there’s a possibility of you transferring internally to your new state. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.

delivery person man on bike with Uber Eats backpack for food delivery service bicycle

8. Join the Gig Economy

You’re not going to get rich driving for Uber, but it will put food on the table. There are so many gig jobs available now that you can work wherever you want, whenever you choose. Whether you’re driving for a ridesharing company, delivering food, collecting and charging scooters, or doing writing or editing online, there are ways to make money in your spare time as you job seek.

If you’ve got experience in any technical skill like programming, mechanical design, or digital marketing, there are websites where you can post a profile and bid on jobs to work for other companies. You negotiate a rate, set your hours, and can build a decent clientele.

The best news is that you can start building a client book before you move to a new state. That way, you’ll have clients and regular work during and after your move. You can do work for them on a project basis that will earn you income while you look for a full-time job.

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