So, you’ve been away from Louisiana for a while, but have found yourself constantly humming “Home” by Phillip Phillips, dreaming of that next crawfish boil or attending a festival anytime you want because yes, there is a festival every single weekend in Louisiana. You could also be realizing the last time you visited home most of our bigger cities now have the arts, culture, restaurants and entertainment you get in places like Dallas, Atlanta or Nashville (albeit on a smaller scale), but we combine that with 20-minute commutes and 4BR houses that sell for half of the $400K-$800K you pay in the big city.
If you are considering joining the many other “boomerangs” who have returned to a land that is now as comfortable with avocado toast as it is with boudin, we’ve got some tips on how to look for a job and how to make your move stress free when you find one.
According to Dr. Timothy Magner, president of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, using an organized strategy and some planning will help make your job search easier, whether you’re looking for a job in advanced manufacturing or in the trades
First, narrowing down where you want to live is key. Do you want to be in the same town as your relatives, or is a few hours away even better? Do you want to live in a larger city, or are you seeking to trade in the sound of automobiles for the summertime drone of cicadas?
While you’re figuring out where to live, it’s time to get your resume and cover letter in shape. Magner suggests making sure that you do a good job of communicating your skills, but even more so, explaining your experience. In today’s job market, there are many companies hungry for those second-tier emerging leaders and it’s important to make sure you set yourself apart from the competition.
Once you’ve narrowed down your location, it’s time to start your search. “Go beyond the national job sites and drill down to local sites here within Louisiana,” said Magner. “Almost all of the state’s major chambers of commerce have sites with local employment opportunities. Plus, always feel free to call your local chamber. I know in Shreveport we’ve personally helped people find jobs through our connections within the community.” Don’t forget another area where there is often significant need for work: municipalities like cities and parishes.
Most job seekers research a company before they submit an application, but if you get an interview, go a step beyond and tell them what you can offer and how you plan to make a difference in their company and the community. “Relocating to a community is not just moving to a place on the map,” says Magner. “Share your story and vision of why you want to be back in Louisiana and how you want to see the next chapter written here.”
So, congrats! You’ve got the job! Now comes the really stressful part…the move itself. First, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for a major hurdle in the life of both you and your family. The best way to relieve some of the stress is to be prepared and stay on top of your “to do” list. “Remember, if you have children, the move can affect them, too,” said Miles Higgins, owner of The Relocation Center, a Louisiana-based company that assists with domestic and international move management. “Kids can be sad and less than excited about being uprooted from familiar surroundings. Try to keep them involved by taking them on trips to the new city, or show them pictures of the new home and location to get them excited and relieve any trepidation about the move.”
One of the first things to do is to make sure you calculate all of your expenses and create a budget. Some expenses are obvious such as household goods moving and real estate, but others are often overlooked. Will you be taking house hunting trips? Will you need temporary housing, pet boarding, goods storage for 30 to 60 days and any other miscellaneous expenses? If your new company is reimbursing you for the move, they may just throw out an allowance figure. Making sure you consider all expenses ensures you won’t come up short. Take a look at The Relocation Center’s Cost Estimator for a way to track expenses and create a budget.
Higgins warns clients to beware of the tax change for reimbursements. Prior to 2018, many of the relocation benefits from employers did not affect the new hire’s taxes. Today, an employer payment for household goods moving and most other services creates a taxable event. “In other words, if an employer reimburses you for $10,000, you will get taxed on that amount just like it was income,” said Higgins. “There are ways to structure certain relocation benefits for the tax advantages, but talk with your employer, CPA or other tax professional for advice prior to reimbursement.”
Before accepting your new job, you most likely undertook a little research on the new city or town. Now, it’s time to dive deeper and perform some reconnaissance delving into schools for kids, shopping—grocery and leisure–locations close to your hobbies and interest, etc. Doing this ahead of time ensures that you choose the best place to live and means less stress in the future.
Whether your employer assists you with your move depends on the company and the demand for your expertise. If your employer is helping out, check to see if the firm utilizes a relocation service or coordinator. Relocation companies feature specialists who can help with all aspects of the move and have relationships with realtors, temporary housing providers, moving companies and more. While most of these companies work solely with employers, some, like the Relocation Center, also take on individual clients. Having a single point of contact to guide you through the moving process is something to look into if your company provides it or if it works within your budget.
Louisiana loves to welcome back its former residents, so if you’re longing for home, start planning your move today!
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