In order to successfully relocate for a graduate job, you need to carefully consider the area you move to – in terms of atmosphere, affordability and its distance from work and from home. This article explores some key points to consider and advises on how to make your relocation as smooth, stress-free and successful as possible.
How relocating for work is different from relocating to go to uni
The main difference between relocating for a graduate job and moving to go to uni is in finding accommodation. At university it’s relatively simple for most people: you sign up for accommodation before your first year and when you come to look for a house for second year you’re searching with your friends and are based in the area you’re searching in. As a graduate, you’ll have to find a room straight off, and as you’re not based in the area you may have to rent with people you don’t know.
Other differences to consider include the fact that you’ll probably have to make a longer commute than the short walk to uni lectures – and on top of a full working day too. Even making friends at work is different to uni, as in the workplace you’re surrounded by people who have been there for different lengths of time, while at uni everybody was in the same boat and actively looking to make friends.
Should I relocate?
There are certainly advantages to relocating for a graduate job, but many people find that staying at home is the right option for them. If you’re unsure about moving away from home, check out our article on whether you should relocate for a graduate job to find out what would suit you best.
Popular destinations for graduate jobs
The most obvious destination for graduates starting out on the career ladder is London, but if life in the capital isn’t for you there are still plenty of other employment hubs around the country. Check out our guides to living in London and other graduate hotspots for more information.
What to consider before moving to a new area
There are several factors to consider when thinking about choosing an area to live in for your new job.
- Where you could realistically commute from every day and the length of this journey. A couple of hours a day may not seem like much, but you have to be willing to do it five days a week. It’s also easy to underestimate the length of a commute – so, if you’re planning to drive, ask your employer about traffic bottlenecks and check journey times for the time of day you would be driving and how long it will take to drive through town and city centres. If you’re planning on using public transport, check walking times between stops and the workplace, and factor in time for delays and missed connections.
- The affordability of the area you want to move to. You should bear in mind your starting salary, the cost of living in the area and your travel costs when budgeting.
- The distance of your new location to home and your friends – and whether you’d be OK with this, as you may feel a bit left out when life at home carries on as normal. If you want to be able to go home a lot, you should think about the costs of getting there and how long it takes.
- The type of area you want to live in and whether it suits your interests and lifestyle. You may want the nightlife and entertainment of living in a city or prefer the quiet of the countryside. A good starting point is to see whether there is a club for your favourite hobby and to visit the area so you can get a feel for its character.
- The climate of the location and whether it differs from home. For example, if you’re moving from the south west to the north east you can expect it to be colder and darker in winter, and if you move from east to west there may be more rain.
How your employer/ graduate scheme will affect your experience of relocating
Your experience of relocating may be affected by your employer or the size of your graduate scheme. If you’re about to begin a large graduate scheme, your employer may advise you on relocating or put you in touch with other new starters, so you’ll have opportunities to make new friends from the outset.
However, if you’re going to be employed by a smaller organisation, you’ll most likely need to look for accommodation by yourself. It’s unlikely that there will be a pool of fresh graduates, so you’ll be more reliant on making friends in the local area.
Tips for your first weeks in your new location
- Even though it’s tempting, try not to head home too much, especially at first. Persevering and spending time in your new location will make it easier for you to settle in.
- Make use of weekends to get to know the area so that you can start to feel at home. You could look out for interesting exhibitions at nearby museums or use a map to plan walks and bike rides. Also make sure to go further afield to explore nearby cities and the region more generally.
- Try to say yes to social events that come up at work so that you can get to know your new co-workers. However, it’s also good to have a balance. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to immediately try to make a new set of friends; you’ll exhaust yourself if you try to do too much in addition to taking on a new job and living arrangements.
- Once you’ve settled in, sign up for something that you’ll enjoy outside of work, such as a local club or society. This will give you the chance to meet people outside of work and will help you to begin to feel at home. The company itself may offer clubs, which can also help to combat the initial isolation that comes with relocating.
- See if the town you’re moving to has a Facebook page, or look for a local paper or news blog. This will help you to find out more about the area and any clubs it may have going on, as well as a sense of its atmosphere.