How to make a long-distance job search work
When you're moving for personal reasons and need to find a new job, you feel a great deal of uncertainty. It raises a lot of questions regarding how to approach the search overall. Many people wonder when the right time to start looking is and how much information to share with prospective employers. If you know that you are going to be moving within a certain timeframe, you should start searching. It is never too early to start networking with connections in the place you are heading to, whether it's via email or asking for brief phone chats.
The bottom line is this: The easier you make it for the employer to understand your situation, the better. Be as straightforward as possible about your circumstances, which will make it more likely for them to offer you an interview that can then lead to a job offer. Here are some ways to do just that.
What's your address? Your address is important. If you have an out-of-state address, an employer is unlikely to even consider you for an interview, unless of course you have an extremely unique background or you are a senior executive with key credentials. Do you have family that live in the city you'll be moving to? If so, consider using their city and state on your resume (you don't necessarily need to include the full address). If you can't honestly claim that, you should mention at the top of your resume in your career summary that you're relocating by a certain date. If you don't have a specific date, say that your move is in progress.
Why are you moving? Tell the employer why you are relocating and what you expect from the employer. You can state in your career summary that you are moving. In your cover letter, you should state why you are making a move so they take you seriously. You also need to identify what benefits, if any, you expect to receive if a job offer is made. For example, do you expect moving expenses to be paid? If not, let them know. While talking yourself out of money or benefits is not always the best choice, they may disregard your application if they sense that you expect a big relocation package (for example, if your partner is transferring and you're going no matter what).
How can you increase your chances? There are a number of things you can do in order to encourage an employer to interview you. One is to include in your cover letter that you are able to come ahead of the move to interview for the position. If you're happy covering your own travel expenses for the interview, let them know that. If you are willing to move earlier than planned if you receive a job offer and they need you to start as soon as possible, tell them. These small statements decrease the number of questions they have about you, which will increase the chances you'll be contacted.
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What else should you be doing? Network early and network often. Even before you have a set time frame or date, reach out. Peruse your LinkedIn and Facebook connections. Who lives in the area and who has connections in the area? Check everything from alumni groups on LinkedIn to your school's alumni database for contacts, and email those people. It doesn't matter if they graduated in a different year or work in a different industry. If they live in the place you're moving to, they know more people than you do. They can introduce you to others. Start by asking for a brief chat to talk about their city and recommendations. Mention what field you'll be looking for work in. You never know what can come of a connection.
Once you get to the new place, you should join local networking groups directly related to your professional level or industry. In-person networking is irreplaceable. If you are going ahead of your move to search for housing, take advantage of the opportunity to meet with people you've contacted for coffee, lunch, or dinner, and attend a local networking event.
While it's not a breeze to find a job from afar, there are things you can do to make an employer more willing to contact you for an interview. The best thing you can do is to be transparent about your situation and timing, as well as what you require and don't. Leave as few questions as possible unanswered in your job application, and you'll likely join the locals in the running for the job.
Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report