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Life relocation – finding work

For a lot of people, relocating won’t be possible without finding a new job and so naturally it’s the starting point for moving to a new area. It can feel like a real struggle what with there often being less opportunities if you’re moving away from big cities and the fact that you may need to travel for hours just to get to interviews. There were points when we felt like giving up but hopefully these tips will make your job search a little less grim.


Where to start?!

Before cracking on, I should say straight up that if you’re self-employed or have a pretty niche job then this advice probably won’t be overly helpful. If you’re ‘an employee’ and have a relatively normal job, read on.

If, like me, you have no idea where to start with your job search, you’ll first need to narrow things down. This is going to save you a shed load of time so it really is worth doing straight away. I reckon there are only 4 scenarios that you’re likely to find yourself in before searching for a new job and working out which you fall in is the first step.

Scenario 1 | you like the industry you’re currently working in AND enjoy the role = lucky you, search for a job that’s as similar to current one as poss

Scenario 2 | you like the industry you’re working in but not so much your current role = the move is an opportunity to try a new role in your sector so search by industry

Scenario 3 | you like the role you’re in but are not a fan of the industry = you guessed it, look for similar roles in a different industry

Scenario 4 | you dislike both your current role AND the industry you’re in = what a glorious opportunity to find something totally new.

This might seem like a pretty basic way of considering your options and that’s because it is. But I wish that I’d worked this out before I started my search as it would have saved me a shed load of time and frustration.

It’ll often be the case that people fall into one of the first three scenarios but because of limited opportunities in the area they’re moving to, are forced to think more broadly. That was the case for me as I enjoyed my job and the sector, but there were very limited opportunities in the industry near York so by default I was a scenario 3’er – searching for a similar role in a new industry.

The search

With a rough idea of the role & industry you’re hoping to find a job in, you can start searching. There are a load of ways to do this and I tried them all with varied success.

Job sites/apps

Many articles online seem to diss these but it’s how I found my job so I’ve got no complaints. There are dozens of sites/apps and thousands of jobs on them so before using them I’d recommend starting out fairly specific or it could be overwhelming.

Rather than using a scattergun approach and lobbing your CV out to every job site, spending some time working out which sites serve the industry/role types you’re looking for best works better. After some research I found that LinkedIn listed the most product manager jobs (my background) and so made sure my bio was up to date and tailored towards the type of roles I was after.

Setting up alerts is well worth it because it means that A) you’re far less likely to miss great opportunities and B) nobody will apply to the job quicker than you (providing that you’re on it). You can set-up alerts on pretty much all job sites. Just make sure you’re clear about what you’re after or you’ll end up getting very random calls from recruiters that are hiring for a job that is incredibly far from what you’re looking for which is funny to start with but soon gets annoying.

Recruiters

A lot of industries rely heavily on filling roles through recruitment firms. If that’s the case for a sector you’re interested in, then you’ll want to make best pals with a few recruiters. I tried this but it didn’t work out because when I contacted them I was pretty clueless about what I wanted to do. Recruiters do not like vagueness so if you do go down this route, make sure you’re specific about what you want.

Remember that recruiters are on commission and so, understandably, their priority is to get you into a job. Any roles that they do throw your way therefore need to be properly scrutinised before applying to make sure you know what you’re in for. Having said that, you don’t have to pay to use a recruiter so there’s nowt to lose.

Applying direct

I left it way too long before properly researching employers in and around York. This is well worth doing as if you spot a couple that you like the sound of you can keep an eye on their job page and set-up alerts for that employer on job sites. I first came across the firm that I now work for by searching ‘big companies Leeds’ which sounds like what a child would do but it worked. I then set-up alerts for the company on LinkedIn and bingo.

I’ve heard of people getting results from speculative applications where you contact businesses with a CV and cover letter in the hope that they’ll remember you and get in touch when a job comes up. Or, if you are the most employable person of all-time, they could make a role for you… I don’t think this is going to work for many people but I guess there’s no harm in trying.

Friends/family

If you’re lucky enough to have contacts that work for firms that you may be interested in working for, nepotism could be the way forward. I’ve never had the opportunity to be a ‘nepotite’ but have come across A LOT of people who’ve found work through friends and family and why not? I guess the only consideration is that if it turns out you dislike the job/firm, life could get pretty awkward.

Other stuff

As for actually applying to jobs and the fun of interviews, I’ll leave that to you! But there are a few extra things I reckon are worth mentioning.

From deciding to move up to York and actually doing it took us about a year. The main reason it took so long was because I massively struggled to decide what direction to take my career in. I’m SO pleased that I persevered as our relocation is one of the best things I’ve ever done. The annoying thing about moving somewhere new is that you have to put a load of effort in before you actually get to enjoy the benefits of moving. So a bit of advice on this would be to stay determined even if you feel like giving up because the chances are it’ll be well worth it.

A big concern we had about moving north was that we’d take a big hit to our pay. Well, we now have a mortgage on a lovely 3-bed semi in a great area of York for £300 less a month than we paid in rent on our 2 bed north west London flat… And stuff like beer is cheaper too. So remember, if you’re moving north (particularly if away from London/south east/some of south west), it’s all relative. Plus, you may be surprised at how little difference there is between salaries for similar jobs in different areas.

Last thing: I found ‘What Color is your Parachute?’ to be a really helpful book about working out what job/career would suit me best. It’s a bit cheesy, but there’s some really thought-provoking stuff in there.


Truth be told, I’m hoping this post will lead to a surge in people moving up north and thus drive the price our house up. Failing that, if it helps one other human get a job in a new place to start their ‘life relocation’, then I’m happy.

If you fancy reading about how our move north happened, you can have a nosey here.

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Our life relocation: London to York

Most of the posts I’ve written on here about buying a first home assume that you’re already settled in the area that you’re looking to buy in. Of course, that’s not always the case and certainly wasn’t for us. Before getting on the ladder up in York we had to relocate from London which meant a load of change, including new jobs.

It was a fair amount of hassle, but has proven so worth it. It’s allowed us to buy a lovely house in a great neighbourhood with a sensibly-sized mortgage. If we’d stayed in London, it would have been a studio flat in the stabby part of town with a humongous mortgage.

I reckon a lot of people find themselves in our position in their 20s/30s so hopefully our story will help some of you guys with your life moves.


London life

After uni, Haz and I both moved to North London for work. They were no doubt some of the best years of our lives. However, it got to the point that we were spending more time playing Scrabble than going out and making the most of what London has to offer and spent most weekends driving far away to see family and friends. On top of this the rent was a killer, annual flat move a ball ache, and we never really saw ourselves settling there. Cue some adult conversations about what to do with our lives.

Absolute tourists

Where to relocate

Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh – there are loads of areas of the UK where we’d love to live. But York was where the pin landed. I’m from York so have family there and know how lovely it is. Haz is from Ipswich which is a good 4 hour drive away but she’s always been a big fan of York and somehow I persuaded her to make the transition from southerner to northerner.

York is a pretty expensive place to live so it may seem like an odd choice, given that being able to afford a better home was top of our list of wants. Yep, it is certainly expensive for the north, but is nothing compared to London. Trust me, I spent about 2 years constantly on Rightmove.

Work

Neither of us had jobs that could be transferred up north so finding new work was definitely the biggest challenge we had in our life relocation. We couldn’t move without jobs so this was our top priority.

Haz has worked in universities for several years which she really enjoys so it made sense for her to apply for jobs at unis in and around York. I was a bit more awkward as I worked at the head office of a car manufacturer and none of these are based anywhere near York. So I spent several months pondering what to do with myself.

I was going to have to change industry but didn’t want to go back down to the first rung of the career ladder. I half-heartedly applied to a couple of jobs and became frustrated with how few jobs were coming up in and around York that A) appealed and B) I thought I had a chance of getting.

Then, one day, a job alert came up on LinkedIn for a product manager job at a building society. This job really appealed as I was already working as a product manager and am a complete nerd who’s really interested in the housing market. When I got the call to offer me the job I tried to play it cool but as soon as I put the phone down I went mental.

Haz is apparently the most employable person on earth as she’s got pretty much every job she’s ever interviewed for. A few weeks after I was offered my job she got an interview for a role at a university and sure enough, got the job so we cracked open the bubbly. We were really lucky to have got jobs with start dates just 2 weeks apart. Time to start planing the move.

The move

We were living in an unfurnished flat which meant that we had a hell of a lot of gear to take north. After shedding some of our stuff on Gumtree, we hired the biggest van we could and prepared ourselves for one of the least enjoyable days of our lives. We’d considered paying for a removal firm to do the job but assumed it would cost hundreds of pounds given that we were moving 4 hours away. The van hire only cost £50 for 24 hours so we must have saved a shed load by doing it ourselves.

The move took 16 hours and was absolutely knackering. A personal highlight was getting the sofa down the fire escape from our 2nd floor flat… But it all worked out in the end. A few goodbyes with friends and colleagues and that was it, see ya London.

Buying our first place

Having moved up and started our jobs, the final piece of the puzzle was to get on the ladder. Being able to stay with my family whilst we house-hunted was a massive help. If you have the option to do this then I’d definitely recommend it as it gave us flexibility for the move-in date of our place and meant that we could save really hard for a few months before moving in. Having some cash left in the bank when you move into your first home is a huge help

I won’t go into much detail here as I’ve written about our house buying journey already so have a browse if you’re interested in the ups and downs of the 3 months we spent buying our place.


We’ve been up in York for a year now and we bloody love it. The process of getting new jobs, moving up and buying our house was pretty intense but we’re so glad to have done it. We’ve settled into jobs that we enjoy, got ourselves a lovely little house and welcomed a furry fella to the family. It won’t be right for everyone, but if you’re thinking of relocating to settle down then I can’t recommend it enough.