Thinking about moving to another state but need to find a job first? Different states offer different opportunities, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses, and it’s a good idea to evaluate these before you move—and before you start building a career.
Choosing the right area to settle in early means you won’t have to uproot later on. It’s also a great way to narrow down your list of employer options; some places only operate locally.
The question is, what location is the best for you and your career.
Factors to Consider
These are some of the most important factors to consider within each state:
- Licensing and testing requirements. First, consider whether there are any licensing or testing requirements that may vary by state. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a certified public accountant, you should know that CPA exam requirements differ by state. Getting your certification in one state may be significantly easier than another state, making it preferable for your chosen career. Of course, not all careers require you to have formal certification, so this will not apply to everyone.
- State taxes. Different states have different tax rates for both individuals and businesses. In some states, you may not pay state-level income taxes at all. This is especially beneficial if you plan on starting a corporation, or if you’re going to work at a high income level.
- Proximity to family. If you have family members you care about, remaining close to them may be a factor in your decision. Even if the career opportunities aren’t quite as good as they are elsewhere, you may be motivated to stick with what’s familiar.
- City options. When considering different states, look to the major cities available. Metropolitan hubs tend to be the best places to look for job opportunities—especially if they have a dense population. Review the major cities in each state, and see which ones stand out to you.
- Average income. Review the average income for the residents of each state. This fluctuates from year to year, but states like California, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Connecticut often near the top of the charts. If you move to one of these states, you may push your earning potential higher.
- Average living expenses. Of course, average income doesn’t tell the full story. You’ll also want to take a look at the average living expenses in each state; you’ll find that many of the states with the highest income also have high living expenses, practically cancelling each other out.
- Quality of life. Quality of life is difficult to measure, but it can be estimated for various states (and cities within those states). In most measurements, researchers take into account things like access to healthcare, life expectancy, access to resources, and even self-reported levels of happiness. A higher quality of life is obviously preferable to a lower one, though the average quality of life may not reflect your personal experience.
- Accessibility. How much access do you have to each state? Are you able to conveniently travel to and from this state? Is it easy to travel within the state? Do you have access to things you love?
How to Evaluate Each State
There are three phases you’ll go through when evaluating each state:
- Phase 1: Research. First, spend some time researching each state. Look at data points like quality of life, average income, and use photos and videos to see what each state is like. You can also talk to people who have lived there for an even more intimate view.
- Phase 2:Visit. Next, visit the state in question. It’s one thing to read about an area and another thing to actually be there. Travel to various cities and see what the state is like overall.
- Phase 3:Live. Before finalizing your career choice, it’s beneficial to live in a state to evaluate it—even if it’s just for a few weeks.
On Working From Home
Currently, 42 percent of the United States workforce is working from home full-time. While those numbers will likely subside once offices return to normal operations, the trend for remote work is likely to continue. If you’re interested in a career where you can work from home, you may have even more flexibility in where you live—and some of the factors listed above are practically negligible. Keep this in mind as you look for your next career; and check here for more information on remote work in marketing.
Choosing a state of residence is one of the earliest and most important decisions you’ll make for your career. Take your time, review your options carefully, and land on the state that feels most appropriate for you and your prospective career.