The first step is to decide which city to move to. Spend time on this, taking into consideration geographical features (oceans, mountains), education (schools, colleges), crime rates, weather, and anything else that might be important to you and, if applicable, your family. Believe it or not, that’s the hard part. Once you’ve found a location, the rest can be rewarding and even fun.
Next, make a list of your priorities. It might look like this: “education, career, location.” Do your research in that order. In this instance, first look for a school that you like in the area, then a job, and finally a place to live. Likewise, if your list was, “location, career,” you would find a place to live with a great location that fits into your budget, and then find a job nearby. If you’re unsure of your priorities and you are worried about finding a good job, search for a job first and then find a place to live nearby.
Much of your job searching can be done online. Post your resume on popular sites like careerbuilder.com and monster.com with a cover letter that explains your situation. You may find that employers are calling and offering you positions right away. When you get offers, write down the information they give you, and then look up their company online. Does it look like the kind of company you would like to work for? If not, wait for the next offer. If so, start negotiating compensation, benefits, and job responsibilities. Be sure not to give any sensitive information (bank account numbers, social security numbers) unless you are certain that your contact is legitimate and trustworthy.
You can also find a place to live online. First, determine whether you are looking to buy a home, rent a home (with or without a roommate), or rent an apartment (with or without a roommate). If you want to live with a roommate, try one of the many roommate matching sites online. Get in contact with as many people as possible. It never hurts to get more information, and you may find that your new contacts can give you information that can’t be found online. If you have a family or plan to live alone, look for apartment complexes and real-estate listings in that area. Again, don’t be afraid to make a lot of inquiries. The more calls you make, the greater the likelihood of finding the perfect new home.
Roommates deserve a paragraph of their own. Living with a person you don’t know, especially if you’ve never lived with anyone outside your family, can be a trying experience, so be prepared. Don’t try so hard to be polite that you don’t ask important questions. If pets really bother you, make sure your roommate doesn’t have a pet. If loud parties all night would bother you, ask about it. They may live alone but have a significant other that regularly spends the night. If that would bother you, ask about it. The same goes for issues after you’ve moved in. If you have a problem, talk about it. Putting it off will most likely end in both of you becoming bitter and resentful. Problems are easiest to deal with when they are addressed right away.
Landlords also deserve special note. If you are moving into somebody else’s property, you are entering into a business relationship with your landlord. Don’t move in unless you’re sure you can trust your landlord to act in your best interest. This will help to avoid situations in which you leave a roommate you like because of a landlord you despise.
The key to all of this is taking time. Research as much as much as possible, and if you are in a rush, never let a landlord or employer know, because they can use it as a bargaining chip. If you must talk timing, give them dates. Instead of saying, “I need to find a place to live right away,” say, “I plan on relocating on August 3rd.” In this will you will appear courteous and organized, instead of desperate.
Once you’ve found a place to live, a good job, and have taken care of other priorities, you will face the formidable task of getting a social life in a completely foreign environment. In a situation like that, hobbies are your best friend. Take up rock climbing, tennis, poker, or any other hobby that will introduce you to new people. If you have to choose a new hobby, pick one that attracts people of your age and interest. It may take a few months, but before long you will have developed solid friendship based on common interests instead of haphazard relationships forged under the influence of alcohol.
Lastly, remember that the devil is in the details. Check all your facts and check them twice. Remember to get a new drivers license if you’re moving out of state, or change your address if you’re moving in-state. Change the billing addresses on your credit cards and bank accounts, and cancel any bills for services you won’t use anymore. Try not to leave any loose ends when you leave.