Will Moving to Another City Help You Finally Land a Job?

A high unemployment rate has left many job seekers competing over the same positions, even as the economy improves.

Michael Hitoshi | Digital Vision | Getty Images

For some, a move to a different city that seems to have a better job market might be tempting.

"They’ve been out of the job market for a while and things are not materializing," said David Lewis, president of OperationsInc, a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm. "They're looking at all their options. Options that six months ago people wouldn’t have considered.”

The economic situation might look brighter in another city, but career experts advise unemployed job seekers to first exhaust all options in your current town or city before considering a move.

“Try to make a change locally first,” said Paul Sorbera, president of Alliance Consulting, a Wall Street executive search firm in New York City. “When people get frustrated with that, they can start to look somewhere else.”

Even job seekers in the most distressed cities, like Detroit, still have hope.

“Look at other industries in the city you’re in,” says Brendan Cruickshank, vice president of, a job search Web site.

He says that cities like Detroit might still have job openings in sectors that have been fairing better in the recession, like health care, education, government and information technology.

Another bright spot in many troubled cities is temporary jobs. Employers have been increasing the number of temporary employees they hireover the past couple of months. Job seekers should consider a temporary job before a move because it could eventually turn into a permanent position, says Cruickshank.

But if conditions in your area are not improving, a job search in another city might be your only option. Here are some tips from career experts on making a move:

1. Search first, then move.

Moving to a city without a job could be risky, especially since most people are moving to a city where they have little to no contacts.

Experts agree that jobs seekers should stay in the city they currently reside and do the job search from there. Move only when you know you have a job waiting for you.

2. Where to look.

Researchers at used unemployment figures from the government to rank cities based on how difficult it is to find a job in metro areas around the country.

The easiest city to find a job is Washington, D.C., according to the report, followed by San Jose, Calif., Baltimore, Boston and New York. (See the top ten here.)

The hardest place to find a job is no surprise: Detroit, which also has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. (See the top ten here.)

But deciding to relocate based on statistics is not advisable. Instead, career experts say you should do major research on whether a different city has a large amount of jobs in your specific area of expertise.

3. Research the area.

A good start for figuring out if another city has jobs in the industry you’re qualified for is through national job Web sites like, or, says Lewis.

He also suggests seeking out smaller, regional Web sites that might list jobs that are not posted on national job boards.

Every city or town should have a business development center or chamber of commerce that can give provide a list of employers who have offices or headquarters in the area, said De Back.

4. Be up front about relocating.

Be clear in your cover letter that you are relocating to that city, said Alan De Back, a career counselor and author of “Get Hired In A Tough Market.”

“It’s not the time to be mysterious or deceptive,” he said.

In your cover letter you should make it clear that you’re moving, but don’t make it sound like you’re in the planning stages or only considering a move.

“Say something like ‘I am moving to your city,’ don’t say you’re ‘thinking about it,’” said De Back.

And to those thinking about leaving your address out of your resume: It will only raise the suspicions of an employer who might pass you up for the job, career experts say.