Tips for the Long Distance Job Seeker

January 25th, 2013

Even if you’ve read every bit of advice you can find about how to search for a job, the rules all change when you’re looking for a job in a different state.

If you’re trying to win an out-of-state job, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. And depending on what type of job you’re applying for, you may be right. But like all challenges, there are ways to overcome them, if you just know how.

First, there is one big obstacle to get past: the fact that you don’t live where the job is. Fewer companies are offering relocation assistance, so you need to address that issue up front:

  • State in your cover letter that you are planning to move to the company’s location (if you can mention a specific ETA, that’s even better) and don’t need relocation assistance.
  • Make it clear in your cover letter that you would be happy to get yourself to the employer’s location for an interview.
  • On your resume, list your contact info like this:

Joe Smith

Relocating in [month, year] to [target company’s city]

  • Borrow a local address: if you know someone in or near where you want to work, ask if you can use their address on your resume. This will help you avoid being eliminated from consideration just for not being local.

Other obstacles that job seekers might encounter when searching for a job in a different state include:

  • Traveling for multiple interviews
  • Fewer (or no) opportunities to attend networking events
  • Lack of contacts
  • Difficulty obtaining current and accurate information on the local job market

Taking on these challenges will take a bit of planning and some creative effort:

Take a Trip to Your Destination City. Many employers are unwilling to fly candidates in for job interviews—so solve this problem for them. If you can’t use a local address, be up-front in your cover letter and say that you’ll be in town on certain days and would like to meet for an interview. Try to arrange phone interviews before you go, so you can maximize your results by holding second- and third-round interviews in person.

Avoid the Competition from the Get-Go. Hunting for jobs is a competitive sport, and the less competition you have, the better your chances of winning. Instead of searching for jobs on the usual sites, try reading the trade journals and magazines for your profession. Search both the print and online editions for job postings. There may be fewer applicants for jobs advertised in less popular locations.

Find Local Allies. Make personal connections in the city where you want to work. Find out who you know in your target city. Ask them if they know of anyone you should meet. Work your connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get introductions.

Become Familiar With Your Target Location. Subscribe to the online edition of the local newspaper, especially the Sunday edition. Pay attention to articles on businesses, expansions, and notices of promotions and new hires, as well as job postings.

Contact the Chamber of Commerce, Office of Tourism, and the Department of Labor to request a relocation packet. Most states and cities also have specific information online for people who wish to relocate there.

Of course, one of the best ways to find a job in the town of your choice is to sign on with a reputable, experienced engineering staffing firm like Synerfac. Contact us any time to see how we can help you!

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