Your 2024 Guide to Moving Without a Job

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Being prepared can make the process of moving without a job much easier. Let these tips guide you before and after a move to make the transition smoother.

[Featured Image] A man checks his phone in his new home for job openings after moving without a job.

Moving to a new state or city can be exciting. Perhaps you want to live closer to loved ones, seek a lower cost of living, get married, or just need a change of scenery. But moving without a job can make the process a bit more stressful. Fortunately, with some preparation, you can take control of the situation so that it doesn't feel so overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, you can use this guide to help determine what steps you need to take before and after your move and smooth the path forward.

Moving without a job

You may assume that you must have a job lined up before moving to a new city or state. The US Census Bureau even reports that getting a new job or transferring to a new location for employment is one of the top reasons why people move. However, others choose to relocate for different reasons, like changes in marital status, health reasons, family-related issues, and changes in their housing situation, and these reasons don't always leave time for you to line up new employment.

While having a job ready at your new destination is helpful, it's not necessary. Moving without a job is doable. It does, however, take a bit more effort on your part. Before moving, you can prepare your finances and apply for jobs. After your move, you'll want to do everything you can to ensure you have enough money for your expenses, plus continue taking steps towards finding a new job.

What to do before you move without a job

When you move without a job, you'll want to ensure you're as prepared as possible before leaving for your new home. That means getting your finances in order, researching the job market as your new location, and preparing your resume for the job search.

1. Assess your financial situation.

When you move, you'll need some money for expenses, so you'll want to start by calculating your expenses at your new destination. These expenses typically include rent, a mortgage, utility bills, car insurance, food, gas, and any other bills you pay regularly.

Ideally, you'll want enough savings to live for three to six months [1]. Having some extra money on hand for unexpected bills, like a flat tire on your car or a trip to urgent care when you get the flu. You may even find that you must make some lifestyle changes while unemployed. For example, rather than buying a home, you may opt to rent a small apartment at first or lower your budget for items like groceries and entertainment. Without a job, you may need to pre-pay your rent or have a co-signer to secure an apartment. Having good references can be incredibly helpful in your relocation journey.

2. Research the job market at your new location.

Start researching the job market at your new location before you move so you can get an idea of what might be available. Find out who some of the biggest employers and industries are in that town, particularly the ones in your field. If you have friends or relatives there, ask for recommendations. Look at job sites to get an idea of the average salaries in that area. Look at local newspapers and websites to learn which companies are rising and might be hiring.

When you find companies that interest you, do some additional research to determine if they're a good fit. Keep in mind that it can take time to land your dream job. In the interim, you may find something in your field that will pay your bills while you work towards your career goals.

3. Update your resume.

Another way you can prepare for your job search before you move is by ensuring your resume is up-to-date. If possible, change your personal contact information to reflect your new address. Many employers prefer to hire local candidates. Make sure you list your latest job under the work experience section. If you gained any skills or certifications during that job, be sure your resume reflects that information.

If you just graduated from college and want to move to find a job, ensure your education section contains your graduation date. Also, include any accomplishments you achieved during your college career.

4. Start applying for jobs.

You don't have to wait until the moving truck arrives at your new address to send your resume and applications. You can begin during the weeks leading up to your move. Explain your timeline to prospective employers by mentioning it in your cover letter or bringing attention to it when you receive phone calls to line up interviews. If an employer asks why you decided to move, be honest, but keep it as positive as possible.

What to do after you move without a job

You moved to your new location. You've updated your resume and started sending out applications. Your next steps may vary, depending on where you are in your job search and your financial situation. For example, if you are running low on money, you may need to find a way to make some while you continue your search. If your search is unsuccessful, you may need to take steps to expand your resources.

Consider a part-time job or side hustle.

Whether you had minimal savings before your move or are running low on money after you move, one way to stay on top of your expenses is to find a part-time job or side hustle. This way, you have some income while you continue your job search and you may develop some new skills to help you in your professional journey.

You might find a part-time job in your field, but even if you can't, don't be afraid to try something new. Some potential options include the following:

  • Babysitting, house-sitting, or pet-sitting   

  • Becoming a tutor 

  • Cleaning houses or mowing lawns 

  • Delivering groceries or takeout food

  • Working as a barista, server, or host in a restaurant

  • Working in sales or as a cashier in a retail store

  • Selling things you no longer need, in person, online, or via social media markets

  • Selling items you make online or at local markets

Network, volunteer, and get involved.

Word of mouth is a great way to learn about new job opportunities or meet people who can put in a good word for you, so make sure you're getting out and networking. Doing so can be as simple as trying new activities or signing up for social events. Volunteering is another option. It gives you an opportunity to meet people and do good for your community, in addition to having something new to add to your resume.

Have a backup plan.

In an ideal scenario, you'll find a job shortly after you move, but that's not always guaranteed. For this reason, ensuring you have a backup plan is important. Perhaps it's as simple as taking a job outside your ideal industry if you can't find one in your field. It may even involve moving back home or moving in with a friend or relative while you continue your search. It can even be something exciting, like trying out something you've always dreamed of doing, like selling your artwork or attempting to become an influencer in a particular niche.

Use your time to upskill or take courses. 

Maybe this is the perfect time to make the big changes you’ve always dreamed of. By upskilling, taking courses, earning certifications, or even going back to school to earn a degree, you can make yourself a more attractive candidate to potential employers. You may even decide to change careers entirely.

Getting started with Coursera

Online courses are a great way to fill your time and increase your chances of landing a job. Whether you want to experiment with a new field or industry or learn more about how to find a job, you'll find thousands of options on Coursera, like Land Your Next Role offered by Aptly, Coding Interview Preparation offered by Meta, and Career Planning: A Pathway to Employment from the University System of Georgia. 

Article sources

  1. Monster. "Relocating Without a Job," Accessed April 2, 2024.

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