In the recruiting industry, I often come across candidates who ask me questions regarding how to choose where to live rather how to find a career they will love. While it’s important to enjoy the area in which you reside, you can miss out on exceptional career opportunities by limiting yourself to specific geographic areas. Throughout my time in executive recruiting, I’ve found that making a career choice over location choice is better in the long term for candidates both professionally and personally.

While living in a dream location or closer to home may be desired of a position, make sure your focus is on your career timeline. As a recruiter, it’s harder to find ideal opportunities for candidates who pigeon-hole themselves into a specific geographic area. For instance, some candidates want to live close to family and others have a dream city in which they want to live. With an open mind and a broader focus on where to live, I’m able to present more opportunities to candidates that can be better for their career over time. For instance, San Francisco may be your ideal location in which to live; however, it’s not ideal for your career in manufacturing. Many factors should play into whether or not you accept a job offer; however, opportunity should be the biggest factor when choosing a new career—not location.

Recently, I worked with a candidate who was adamant about living in the St. Louis area. However, the manufacturing industry isn’t ideal in the Gateway to the West. With some guidance and encouragement, I convinced this individual to extend her search in neighboring Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois where three companies were interested in speaking to her. In these areas, her skills were more marketable, and she could gain higher-level experience with these positions than she would in positions in St. Louis. She’s now an operations manager in Ohio with a Fortune 500 corporation and is thankful she chose a career path over living in a specific city. While she hopes to one day make it to St. Louis, she’s happy in her current position and realizes the impact this position will have on her long-term professional success.

Throughout my career in recruiting, I’ve worked with both military and manufacturing candidates. In nearly all cases, the happiest, most successful placements are those individuals who were open to exciting new opportunities, no matter where they were located. Although these professionals may not immediately be in the ideal city in which they would like to live, they are building their resumes and skill sets so that they can eventually make it to the area in which they would like to be.


Have you accepted a position in an area that you did not initially wish to be in but found yourself in a better position for your career? Or have you put location above an opportunity? Share your experiences with us.