Are you thinking about starting a job search in an area where you don’t currently live? Long distance job searching isn’t always easy, but it's possible to look for a job when you want to relocate to a new city or state.
Many employers will not consider interviewing out-of-state candidates or covering relocation costs unless they’re searching on a national basis for a top-level or hard-to-fill position. It isn't just the expense of relocation that makes employers wary. It’s also the logistics of arranging interviews when the candidate isn't nearby. That being said, there are ways to have a successful job search from afar.
Job Search Relocation Tips
- Get Local: Use local job sites as well as national job databases to find job listings in the area where you want to live and work. Look into the chamber of commerce in the city where you want to move for job searching resources and read the local newspaper for job advertisements.
- Get More Local: Do you have a relative, friend or acquaintance in or near the new location who will let you stay with him or her during the interview process? If so, consider using that address on your resume and your cover letters. Alternatively, limit some or all of your physical address on your resume.
- Pack up and Move: This one is not always possible, but it’s certainly easier to find a job when you're in the city or town where you want to work. It's a bold leap to move to a new community without a job, but if you can get temporary work while looking for a full-time job, it may be feasible.
Your job search correspondence is more likely to get a second glance if you're in town instead of hundreds of miles away. If that won't work, mention in your cover letter that you are planning to relocate and will be available to interview at the employer's convenience. Also, be prepared to handle an out of town, or state, interview.
- Use Your Network: Are you a college graduate? Check to see if your college or university has a career network of alumni you can contact. Alumni can help with more than just your job search – they may also be able to give you advice on housing, transportation, entertainment and everything else you will need to know about your new community.
If you belong to a professional association, contact the local chapter and network with the members. You can also reach out to LinkedIn contacts who live in the area. The more people you can meet in the new area, the better it is.
- Research, Research, Research: Use tools like salary calculators and cost of living calculators to determine whether your new salary will pay the bills in the local area where you want to live and work:
- Salary calculators will give you the average pay for a specific position in a specific location.
- Cost of living calculators will tell you how far your current salary will go in a new city and/or will compare the cost of living between two different cities.
- Avoid Great Expectations: Don't expect an employer (unless it's for that hard-to-fill or high-level executive position) to pay your moving and other relocation expenses. You should also not expect a company to pay for you to fly somewhere for an interview. The travel expense is on you.
Unless you’re much more qualified than local candidates, and they feel the absolute need to have you, don’t anticipate any of these fees to be covered by the new company. That being said, if you do get the job, you can try to negotiate relocation benefits into your new salary.
- Check Benefits: Unemployment benefits may be available if you’re relocating because your spouse has a new job in a new city. Check with the unemployment offices in both your current state and your new state to determine what, if any, benefits you’re eligible to receive and where you should file your claim. Also look into what job search expenses, if any, might be tax deductible.
- Be Flexible: When you want to move sooner rather than later, be open-minded and flexible about the jobs you are willing to take. Again, it's easier to find a local job when you’re there, so you may want to broaden your options to make a move. Be careful how you discuss the situation with your interviewer – most companies won’t be interested in hiring someone who isn’t planning to stay long.