It’s May, which means college graduation is right around the corner. Young twenty something’s everywhere are preparing to move home, move out, or move to a new city based on a job. It’s exciting to receive an official job offer, especially if you’re lucky enough to get one before graduation day. But moving for a job is a big deal, so it’s important to understand all of the details before making a commitment to an employer. If you are a soon to be college grad, or you know a soon to be college grad, this post is for you.
It’s no secret that entry-level hires are usually the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to relocation benefits. In fact, it is not uncommon to receive nothing at all to help with the move. So,while the idea of a new job in a new city is exciting, it’s important to ask the right questions and weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.
What IS covered? If you offered a relocation package, either HR at your new company or a third party Relocation Management Company (RMC) will reach out to you to explain the benefits. While the benefits won’t include white glove service, many companies will cover the major stuff like your household goods move and possibly a lease break or temporary housing while you look for a new home. If you aren’t contacted by HR or an RMC, don’t be shy. Reach out to your contact at the company and ask if your offer includes any relocation benefits.
Some questions worth asking include:
Will you be driving or flying to the new location?
Will travel costs and/or shipment of your automobile be covered?
How long do you have to prepare for the move?
Will there be home finding assistance?
It can be difficult to ask these things right off the bat but it’s important that you know exactly what to expect and what your costs will be. After all, the answers may impact your decision.
What do I do with the money? Lump sums relocation policies are growing in popularity for relocating employees at any level and especially at the entry level. Now, a lump sum may come in the form of a “signing bonus” which feels like fun money in your pocket, especially around graduation, but you need to be smart with this money. Number one, consider the taxes that will be taken out of the total because that is the real number you’ll be working with. Number two, while it is probably tempting to use the money for pleasure, make sure you use it for your move. You’ll need to pay for a moving company, travel, hotels, food, and other moving expenses, such as a security deposit or utility set up, in your new apartment or home.
What is the location like? Now we can get into the really fun stuff – your potential new city! At first thought, the idea of moving somewhere totally different is exhilarating. Just be sure to think it through before you make any decisions. How far away will you be from family and friends and are you okay with the answer? What are the demographics like? Check out the cost of living too. Your employer wants you to be happy in your new home just as much as you want to be happy in your new home. If you are uncomfortable, anxious, or homesick, your work performance will show it.
Is the job right for you? Obviously, it is hard to determine whether or not a job is right for you until you spend some time doing it. I’m not saying to make sure this job is your one and only career. But you should consider a few things. For example, are you using the position as a stepping stone for something else or are you hoping to advance within the company? Relocation is stressful for all parties involved and it is very expensive for the employer. If you don’t have any intention of staying with the company for a while, it may be best to decline. An employer will not be pleased if they shell out a large sum of money to move you, only to have you leave less than a year later. In fact, in this case, you may even have to pay the money back. Regardless of your career intentions, it’s never a good idea to burn bridges with an employer.
For a soon to be grad, life is pretty hectic this time of year. Finals are sneaking up, emotions are running high and the job hunt is competitive and stressful. Receiving a job offer that requires a big move is an exciting opportunity, but it’s important to take your time making the decision to accept or decline. Take a beat and consider any additional questions that I haven’t listed here so you get all the answers you may need.