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Where do I want to live and work? Why do I want to live there?

Student Career Placement Consultant

Your 1st Gig profile asks you to list where you currently live, but you can also specify a particular city where you would like to live. That may be easy for some of you, but there are several questions that you should ask yourself before you set your geographic goal.

  • Are there organizations in that city that are likely to have openings in the field you want? Some jobs, such as nurse or school teacher, exist just about everywhere, but others are more prevalent in geographical clusters. You can use online search tools to help you identify which parts of the country will provide you with the most opportunities, but you can also use professional associations and information interviews to guide your choice. To learn more about information interviews, see “Conduct information interviews” in the Resources section of this website.
  • Do you know what it will cost to live there? If I could live anywhere in the country, I would live in San Francisco, but a one-bedroom apartment there is going to cost somewhere around $4000 a month, and it’s unlikely that I would ever be able to afford that! There are plenty of online tools that can help you determine the cost of living in any city in the U.S.
  • Do you know people who live there? If you’re moving to a new location, it’s helpful to know a few people who can help you think about where to live, where to shop, how to find a doctor and a dentist, and even where to get your hair cut! I’m not saying you shouldn’t move to a city where you don’t know anyone (I’ve done it, and I survived), but it’s a lot easier if you have some support.
  • Have you lived in a city that size before? If you’re accustomed to the variety of services and entertainment options in a big city, you may find life in a small town dull. But if you’ve always lived in small towns, the big city may be overwhelming. Again, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it--I once moved from a town of 22,000 people to New York City. And I loved it!
  • How do you feel about commuting? Living in a densely populated geographical location may mean you have more transportation options, but it is also likely to mean that you’ll spend a bigger part of your day just getting to and from work. 
  • Do you have cultural, political, or religious views that are going to fit more comfortably in certain parts of the country? Is fitting in important to you?
  • Why do you want to live there? There are lots of good reasons to choose a particular city: career opportunities, friends or family nearby, low crime rates, good educational systems, climate, culture, size, affordable quality health care, and many more. The problem is, it’s unlikely that any one place is going to have everything you want, so spend some time prioritizing your goals and then do the research to determine the best fit.

Share your thoughts!