[I got this idea of sharing some of my experiences, good and bad, in my job-hunting, so other people don’t have to make the same mistakes as I did. I hope the information will be helpful for you, and you can comment to share your own should you want to.]
After I graduated last year, I got confused between two geographical job-hunting strategies. One, I could relocate to a particular city and search for jobs there directly, or – Two, I could search indirectly without relocating first. Each has its pros and cons. I chose the latter and switched to the first only recently. I asked many people for their opinion, and they almost evenly split in recommending one over the other to me. Since I did both, I knew which one was working and which one was not, at least in my case.
With the second choice, I could save money since I lived in a small city, and there was less pressure on my part because I could stretch my saving for a longer period. Searching indirectly is very much doable by using the Internet. This option is obvious if I don’t have any preference for a particular city. Even though I have a preference (if it’s not apparent to you yet, I’m writing from DC), several reasons prevented me from opting with the first choice from the get-go. Everyone’s situation is unique, and I think they would choose the second option in most cases.
With the first choice, I hardly knew anybody living in the new city at that time, and I was opening my option too wide by considering other places such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle. There would be much pressure on my part since I could only stretch my saving for a much shorter period. Unless you already received a job offer while still in college, the first option is the way to go, in my opinion. Recent grads will be hard-pressed in finding a job with relocation benefits since most positions open for them are entry-level. Plus, relocating will open other previously unavailable channels such as networking, classified ads, and temping.
In hindsight, I should have decided to relocate earlier. I realized that it’d be difficult to determine immediately. Still, I should have given myself a timeframe I had to adhere to (say within three months or otherwise relocate after that period is reached). So, if you just graduated or will be graduating shortly, consider relocation seriously and make necessary preparations so the decision can be made promptly. The shorter you are out of a job, the less psychological (and financial) pressure you will face.