Long-distance job hunting can be tricky, and let’s face it, it’s not going to work for everybody. Why?
Your skill set or job type may be in low demand. Let’s say you want to move from Tucson to San Francisco. There aren’t many skill sets that a recruiter has to look outside San Francisco to get. So why would they pay to relocate you? Why would they even look at an out-of-town candidate if there are scores of qualified candidates locally?
On the flip side, maybe you’re trying to move in the opposite direction, from San Francisco to Tucson. In that case, your big-city experience might scare off the recruiter because they imagine you have big-city salary expectations.
Also, companies do try to avoid paying relocation costs when they can. Unless they know they need a very specialized skill set, or that there are very few people in the country who would be the right choice, their first plan is not going to be to hire an out-of-towner.
So, how can you can get that long-distance job offer? By eliminating the distance factor and turning the negatives into positives.
Some people recommend using a local address on your cover letter, such as the address of a family member or friend who lives in your target town, but that can be perceived as dishonest. And if the company calls and asks you to come in on short notice for an interview, and you don’t live nearby, how will you explain to them why you can’t get there quickly?
Instead, on your resume, list your contact info like this:
Relocating in [month, year] to [target company's city]
This tells the recruiter that you already plan to move to their city and don’t expect them to foot the bill.
Find contact information for the right person at your target companies, call directly and tell them you’ll be in town on a given week and would like to meet with them. This lets them know you’re not expecting them to pay your way for an interview. If they don’t have any job openings you’re qualified for, ask them if they can take the time to do an informational interview with you.
Travel to the city where you are seeking a job. In between appointments, look at the places you can afford to live on your current savings. If you truly want or need to move, you may have to relocate to your target city before you get a job offer. Just don’t do it if you can’t afford it!
Make sure that you’re physically ready to move. Without a job offer, you might not have a definite moving date, but you can start to build a possible timeframe in case you get an offer. If employers know you’re not local, they’ll want to know how soon you can start. If you get an offer, then say you need time to sell your house, find a good school for your children, and decide where you want to live, you’ll probably lose out on the opportunity. Get as many of your ducks in a row as possible. Do your research on housing prices and locations and schools in the new city, and make an appointment with a Realtor in your current city. Have the Realtor assess your house and give you a possible selling price, and possibly even get the paperwork set up, so that you are truly ready to make a move when the time comes.
Finding a job in a new city requires a great deal of extra preparation and diligence to get you to the top of the resume heap – and ultimately get you the offer you’ve been waiting for.