I have been thinking a lot recently about location.  Maybe it’s because I just moved to a new city, maybe it’s because I’ve been through four airports in three days, or maybe it’s the conversations that I keep having with students on campus.  For whatever reason, location is on the mind of this recruiter.  
Like many companies, Protiviti interviews hundreds of candidates a year for positions across the U.S.  Inevitably during these interviews, the following type of exchange takes place.
Interviewer:  “I understand that you applied to our position in Location X, but I see that you are from Location Y.  Do you want to live in Location X?”
Student:  “I am open to location.”
Interviewer:  “We do have open jobs in our Location Y office, if you prefer to live closer to home.”
Student:  “I would probably prefer Location Y, but really I am flexible.”
(If Location X is Chicago, my next question is always “Have you ever visited Chicago in winter?”)
For various reasons, students feel that employers prefer flexibility on location.  They may feel that their chances of being hired are better in one office versus another.  They may see the entry level job as an opportunity to live somewhere totally different from anywhere they have ever been.  They may be focusing on a location closest to their school, or a location where many of their friends plan to live… For all kinds of reasons, students tend to shy away from taking a hard line on their preferred location, and I understand all of this. I truly get it, I do – but if I have any advice to impart, it is this:
If you do not live in a place where you feel at home, you will not feel fulfilled as you start your career.
There are many things to consider as you choose your first job – it is a unique and exciting time in your life!  Do yourself a favor and reflect on this important item.  Only you can know the decision that is best, taking into account an array of factors, including proximity to family and friends, ability to pursue hobbies and interests, geography, local culture, and yes, even climate.  By thinking it through and identifying your ideal location, you will better position yourself for success both personally and professionally.

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