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How to Get Approval for a Job Relocation
When you have dreams of moving to another city but don't want to leave your current employer, one option is to ask to relocate to another office in a different town. To ensure your request is successful, you must plan properly and sell your boss on the idea that the move can be beneficial to the company.
Find information about your company's processes and policies for relocation. About 86 percent of companies have a formal relocation policy, according to Atlas Van Lines' Corporate Relocation Survey. The larger the firm is, the more likely it has such a policy for domestic and international relocation. These policies might include a maximum amount the company will spend on relocation, whether it offers pre-relocation counseling, and how benefits are structured after relocation. Read the employee handbook for information and also talk to your company's human resources staff.
Find out if there are any openings in other offices for your position. While there's always the chance your company might create a position for you elsewhere, you will have a better chance of getting approved if there's actually an open position. Keep tabs on the company's job openings on its website. Also, keep your ears open about people who might be close to retirement, and whether anyone in a position similar to yours has left or been fired recently. Any of these events might signal a need for a replacement. If there is an opening, take the time to research the skills and experience needed. Make sure they align with your own to help fortify your case for making the transfer. Finally, find out whether there is a company policy regarding how internal employees should apply for open positions. You might have to go through certain channels, such as notifying your immediate supervisor about your interest in the job, before submitting a formal application.
Relocating can be expensive, so you should ensure the cost is manageable before trying to get approved for the transfer. In some cases, companies might not be willing to foot the bill if the transfer request is your idea instead of management's. Even if your employer does agree to pay for some of your moving expenses, don't expect to get any more than what is laid out in the company handbook. To be on the safe side, calculate the full costs of moving, getting a new place to live and wrapping up your commitments in the old location. Use online resources such as Craigslist or the local newspaper in the target area to get an idea of the cost of living there. Once you make your relocation request, you are committing yourself to the move in the eyes of your employer, so you need to know ahead of time how much it will cost you.
Make Your Case
Once you have a clear picture of the job possibilities and the expenses involved, it's time to present your case to management. Write a formal letter to your immediate supervisor. Start off by thanking her for the opportunity to work with the company, and then state your desire to continue the relationship long-term. Next, state directly what you want, including the job title you are requesting and the proposed location. Tell the employer why you are a good match for the job. Back up your points with key skills and experience you have that align with the position. It is important to demonstrate that approving your relocation will benefit the employer as well as you. For example, if you are interested in a sales position, write down how you have improved sales at the current office, and make the case that you can do the same at the new office.
If you have any personal circumstances that necessitate the move – such as a spouse who wants to continue her education elsewhere – briefly mention them in your letter, then shift the focus back to the benefits to the company. Don't mention the costs of relocation just yet. Instead, state that you'd like to discuss relocation expenses, and then bring the figures you gathered to any follow-up meeting you have with the boss. Show that you've considered all aspects of the move and have a plan for a smooth transition into the new office and position. Drop the letter off to your boss and give her time to read it at her convenience. She will likely contact you shortly afterward to discuss the matter further. Be prepared to reiterate your case during a one-on-one meeting with her and other managers.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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