How to Conduct a Long-Distance Job Search

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Conducting a long-distance job search and attracting the attention of employers outside your home area can be a challenging task. Many employers view local candidates as safer prospects than those who would need to relocate. In addition, working with long distance candidates involves more scheduling and can complicate the hiring process for the company. Employers also save on relocation costs and interview travel costs by hiring from their local area.

Tips for Conducting a Long-Distance Job Search That Works

What can you do to improve your chances when competing for out of town jobs? The key is to indicate that you are planning to relocate to that area and that you're flexible - both for interviewing and for starting work if you are hired. 

Focus Your Job Search

Finding jobs to apply for in the new location is the easiest part of long-distance job searching. You can specify a location in the advanced search options of all the leading job boards and job search engines.

You can also utilize local resources like the Chamber of Commerce, and the help wanted ads in the local newspaper. Both typically have online job postings for available local positions. If you need more help, here's how to find local job listings, and how to find a job in a new city.

If there are employers in the new location you’d love to work for, check job listings and apply for open positions directly on the company’s website.

Explain in Your Cover Letters

You can make it clear in your cover letters that you’re planning to relocate to the city where the job is located. Mentioning a reason for moving to the area, such as wanting to be nearer to elderly parents or to join a partner, can be an effective strategy.

In order to alleviate employer concerns about travel costs, you can state in your cover letters that you’ll be visiting the area to investigate housing options, and you’d be interested in meeting at that time, or during another such trip in the near future. Here's more information on how to mention relocation in your cover letter.

Designate a Specific Location in Your Resume

Your resume is another vehicle for conveying your plans to live in the area where a job is being offered. Some job databases allow registrants to designate a desired location.

A more powerful strategy is to list the desired location adjacent to your current address on your resume. For example, you might state "Moving to Tampa, Florida in June" or "Desired work location – Portland, Oregon."

In some cases, you may be able to use a local address, such as a family member or friend's house. Keep in mind that the employer may expect you to be available on short notice for an interview.

Be Prepared to Interview

You’ll need to have a plan in place when you're contacted to interview. Figure out how you're going to be able to get to the interview location in a timely manner. That might mean an expensive plane ticket unless you can find a last-minute bargain. In addition, you’ll need to figure out how to take time off from your current job. Depending on the level of the job, the company may or may not offer to pay some or all of your travel expenses.

Use Your Personal Network

If you’re networking your way into an organization, you might enlist the support of your internal contacts to convey to decision makers the message that you’re relocating to the area. In addition, your personal network is also a good source of advice on making the move when it actually happens. You'll be able to find out about housing, schools, and other factors involved in relocating.

Consider Making the Move in Advance

Another option is to move to the area where you’d like to work before you have an actual job lined up. That may seem a little scary, but it’s possible with some forethought. For exampling, finding temporary work or taking on some gigs to pay the bills while you're seeking a permanent position is a way to generate income. But, you need to keep in mind all the various expenses involved with a big move before you pack your bags.

Be Sure to Consider All Your Expenses

It's a good idea to calculate your expenses prior to making your move. In addition to travel expenses for interviews, you’ll also have all the expenses involved with relocating, and there’s the possibility of some down time if you’re not moving from one job immediately into the next. Use these free calculators to check out salaries and the cost-of-living in the location where you are interested in relocating.