Top-5 Things to Consider before Relocating for a Job in Student Affairs

As graduate school was coming to an end and I began job searching, I was quick to rush into the first job that came my way (because everyone warns you that for your first job you have to compromise)… Well, I’m 6-months into the job I picked, & want to share some advice for those of you looking for that first career placement…

  1. DO NOT COMPROMISE. Do not settle for the first job offer you receive unless you’re 110% sure that it’s the perfect fit. It’s nerve wracking to not have something lined up but trust me- you cannot wait on divine intervention for this one. Trust your gut and if it’s not right, just say NO! 
  2. Location, Location, Location! Search geographically where is right for YOU. Not your boyfriend, not your family, just you. You are responsible for your own happiness, and compromising the geographical span of your job search for anyone or anything other than yourself is a trap. The institution is important, but the city/town is just as important. 
  3. Regarding location, find an area that will meet all of your personal needs! If you need a United Methodist church, a CrossFit gym, a Junior League to get involved with, and a Community Market, make sure that you’re looking in an area with those things! Again, we are trained that we need to compromise for our first job- that is a lie! You will be unhappy if you’re not both personally and professionally fulfilled. 
  4. You need to like your colleagues. If you’re in an interview and could not see yourself potentially liking the employees, it’s not for you. Even if work is your #1 priority, you need to make sure you’re surrounded with people who you can rely on (and vent to when necessary!). In interviews, ask if there’s a strong network of young-professionals. 
  5. Don’t be shocked- no place is perfect! Even the organizations who appear put together have their structural flaws. You need to make sure that you’ve considered every controllable aspect of a relocation before you do it, because undoubtedly something in the workplace will end up different than you expected.

In my relocation, I got very lucky in many of these areas. I also wish I had of done some things different to be both professionally and personally fulfilled. Job searching in Student Affairs can be a national process and as an upcoming professional, you likely have multiple mentors telling you different advice and directives. At the end of the day, you have to make every decision for yourself. As I said, you are responsible for your own happiness. Relocating is a big leap- make sure you’ve created a safe place to land for yourself.

Have you ever relocated for Student Affairs? Am I missing something on this list? Let me know in the comments!


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