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Location, location, location: how to decide where to work

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When it comes to finding a job after university, you’ll get all kinds of advice. What starting salary should I be looking for? What sort of company should I choose? Do I go for a well-known grad scheme or join a smaller company? However, one thing that is often ignored is arguably the most important – location, location, location!

You’ll have plenty of options to choose from of course – from the financial hub of London to the industry in the north, staying close to home or heading overseas, there’s no shortage of opportunities for graduate employment! Here’s a few things to bear in mind when you’re searching for jobs.
Probably one of the biggest factors for debt-ridden, overdraft-abusing students is how much they’ll have to lay out every month for a roof over their head. The starting salaries may be higher in London, but you’ll be lucky to find a single room to rent for less than £500 a month. In contrast, places further out from the big cities will have lower rents, but you’ll probably have a smaller payslip at the end of the day. Of course there’s always the option of moving back home – your parents may be kind enough to give you reduced rent compared to local landlords (or even a free ride!).
Cost of living
Similar to rent, the cost of living can vary wildly from place to place. You can get a pint in Glasgow for around £2, but the same pint in London could be over a fiver. Living abroad is on a whole new level – a beer can set you back over £7 in Greenland, but you can find plenty of pints for less than £1 in the USA. The pub might not be your thing, but when you consider this variation over your groceries, your bills and your social events, it can be a real deal-breaker (or maker!)
Proximity to home
If you found yourself relishing the freedom of late nights, partying, and cooking anything you wanted at university, you’re probably not going to want to move back in with your parents. If, however, you did find yourself pining for home comforts, a foreign escapade perhaps isn’t for you. Consider whether or not you want to move back to somewhere familiar or if you’re looking for a new adventure – remember though, even if you did a year abroad, an overseas job is likely to be more permanent.
What do you want to do?
Bearing all that in mind, your choice of location can actually restrict your choice of work. If you want to work in finance, living in a small village in the southwest isn’t your best bet, but similarly, someone interested in marine biology shouldn’t move to an inland city. Do a bit of research to find areas that specialise in your chosen profession. The results may surprise you – for example, Stevenage, a town in Hertfordshire, is nicknamed Space City due to the amount of aerospace research in the area!
Location can make a real difference to your prospects, and although us grads are always told to be flexible, not every location will work for every person! Make sure to research well, and find that perfect place for you.
Has this post helped you how to decide where to work? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: halfrain / Flickr
I’m Helena, a 21 year old recent physics graduate from Warwick university. In September I’ll be starting as a project management graduate with Transport for London. I love cooking, video games and writing, and I’m looking forward to taking the first step in my professional career!
Helena MorettiLocation, location, location: how to decide where to work

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