Get a Job in Another State
Companies are often reluctant to hire people from a different state, but there are ways to increase your appeal and reduce the number of obstacles. Perhaps you're planning to move to a specific location, or perhaps you've simply broadened your job search to include more distant opportunities. Either way, this article will help you find potential jobs and guide you through the application process.
Searching for Jobs Out of State
- Select one to three specific locations. Conduct research and talk to other people in your field to narrow your search down to the areas you're most likely to find a job. If you conduct a nationwide search, you'll have less time to research each job and will find it difficult to demonstrate a serious desire to relocate to each employer.
- If you already know the exact location you'll be moving to, research other cities within commuting distance as well.
- Try to estimate your chances realistically. If you have little work experience or lack a qualification many people in your field hold such as an advanced degree, don't assume you'll be able to get a job in a competitive area, especially before you move there.
- Research these locations in depth. Once you've narrowed down your list to a few locations, find out everything you can about each one. You'll avoid wasted time if you find out you don't want to move there, and your knowledge of the area will demonstrate seriousness to a potential employer when you get an interview.
- Consider factors unrelated to your career, such as weather, housing prices, and demographics. Research local schools if you have children.
- If you discover a dream job outside the areas you were considering, try to conduct your research objectively before jumping on the chance to apply.
- Sign up for local and professional job mailing lists. Search online for job mailing lists in the area you'd like to move to. Sign up for national mailing lists for your profession as well, especially if there are multiple locations you could move to.
- Ask the mailing list owner whether you can send out a request for people familiar with the target area to contact you.
- Network in order to find contacts in the area you're considering. Ask your colleagues and business contacts whether they know anyone there. Post on social media to see if any of your friends are familiar with the region or know someone who lives there. Networking is one of the most important steps for finding any type of job, but getting a contact to recommend you greatly increases the chance that an out of state company will take you seriously.
- Cast your net as broadly as possible. Friends of a friend or distant relatives that live in the target area will often be happy to introduce you to their city and to contacts in your field.
- Join professional associations and attend regional and national conferences related to your work. If your profession has an association that includes members from the area you're interested in, join it. Attend its annual conference or other gathering and talk to as many people as possible about your plans. Attend presentations and panels by people in the area you'd like to move to, and ask them for job hunting advice afterwards.
- Between conferences, you can still use your membership to network with colleagues. Participate in a forum on the association website or send an email to the association staff to discuss your situation and ask for contacts.
- Find online communities dedicated to your target area. Besides participating in your professional association, you should search for websites devoted to career-seekers in the locations you're considering.
Use LinkedIn or a search engine to find the groups that closely match your area and interests.
- An active presence in an online community is a great way to find people to show you the city when you visit or move there.
- Contact employees of likely companies. In addition to finding contacts through your personal and online relationships, reach out to companies in your target areas. Find contact information for Human Resources personnel on the company website or networking sites such as LinkedIn and try to build a relationship over a few emails or Skype conversations.
Explain your plans to move to the area and how you would benefit the company.
- Try to find a personal email address and use the full name and title of its owner. If you can only find a generic HR email, politely request the contact information of the HR manager.
- Structure your email like you would a business letter. Remain formal and polite. Give them at least a week to respond before sending a reminder email.
- Request assistance from a career center of career counselor. Professional career advisers in your area can guide you in your search for jobs further afield. Many colleges and universities have a career center, some of which will advice non-students.
Applying to an Out of State Job
- Consider finding an address and phone number local to the job. You should never lie to an employer about your location, but you can demonstrate that you're already preparing to move by acquiring local contact information in advance.
- Ask friends in the area if you can use one of their addresses, or purchase a mailbox service with automatic forwarding to your home address. On your resume, include this below your home address with the label "Relocating to ___".
- Get-a-Google-Voice-Phone-Number or Skype number with the area code of your target area. This will also save you money on long distance phone calls.
- Follow good resume practices. Obviously, this is a vital step for any job application. Make your resume polished and well-formatted, and follow the exact instructions the company provides. Being a long distance candidate is already one strike against you; don't slip up and create another.
- Begin your cover letter by discussing your relocation. Be forthright with potential employers about your distant location, but include detailed reasons for the move to convince them that you're a serious candidate.
- If you've made any steps to begin moving at all, such as acquiring a local phone number, you can use the phrase "I have begun to transition to your area" truthfully.
- Mention any ties you have to the area, such as family members or previous work experience in the region. If you're moving to follow your relationship partner, say so.
- Suggest the earliest start date you can promise. If you aren't planning to move to the area for another three months, a company will likely hire a roughly equivalent candidate who can start immediately. Plan your potential move in advance so you know exactly when you can relocate.
- When moving to a competitive area, emphasize your niche skills. The "hub cities" for your industry may have a lot of job openings, but these are probably inundated with candidates. In order to convince someone to hire you over twenty qualified locals, you should emphasize specialized skills that other candidates are unlikely to have.
- When moving to a less competitive area, stress work experience. If you previously held a job in a big city or industry hub, stress that experience on your resume and in conversation with potential employers. Work experience in large cities tends to be viewed as more competitive and prestigious, and may be enough to outweigh the trouble of considering a long-distance candidate.
- Offer to pay travel expenses for an in person interview. If at all possible, pay for your own travel to the area and attend the interview in person. This removes an obstacle for the company and demonstrates initiative toward making the relocation smooth.
- Try to set aside time for a longer visit to give yourself time to explore the area before your interview. The firsthand experience with the area will make you more knowledgeable, and it will give you time to settle in so you can conduct the interview without fear of jet lag or travel sickness.
- If you cannot arrange an in person interview, treat the long distance interview seriously. If traveling for the interview is out of the question, you'll probably be interviewed over the phone or an online video chat service such as Skype. Just because you can attend this interview in your bedroom doesn't mean you shouldn't make an effort. Prepare answers to likely questions in advance, dress well for a video interview, and be ready a few minutes before the interview is scheduled.
- Decide ahead of time where you would like to conduct the interview. Choose a quiet location away from passersby and find a background that is clean and professional looking. A plain wall will do fine.
- When discussing relocation before you're hired, accommodate the company as much as possible. If you can afford to pay for your own relocation expenses or some portion of them, say so as soon as possible as this is a significant benefit for the company. At minimum, you should research the housing situation in advance. Even if you can't afford the move without assistance, you can demonstrate the effort you put in by appearing knowledgeable about specific neighborhoods and housing prices.
- Ask the company's HR department whether they have a standard relocation package. If you know anyone who's recently moved to work for that company or a similar one, ask them what relocation offer they received. If you know what the typical offer is, you'll know what to suggest to make yours more appealing.
- Present relocation assistance in a way that benefits the company as well as yourself. For instance, suggest you could start work at an earlier date if the company arranges the moving company or assists in the housing search.
- Read the fine print of your relocation package when you get an offer. Some of the relocation assistance may be taxable, or the company may have the ability to demand the monetary value back if you quit the job within a certain amount of time.
- If you can't get a job, save up money and relocate first. Even after taking all these steps to increase your odds, a company may still prefer the simplicity of hiring a local candidate. Once you've saved up six months or more of living expenses, bite the bullet and move to a location with good job prospects and other appealing attributes.
- Create-a-Working-Budget is essential to saving money.
- Stop using credit cards entirely, and don't withdraw more cash than your budget allows each week. People typically spend far less when they have to keep track of physical money changing hands.
- Paying off your debts can be more effective than putting the money in a savings account, depending on the interest rates.
Preparing to Move
- Plan-a-Move. Create a timetable for each step of the process, allowing plenty of time to absorb unexpected delays. Stick to your deadlines for planning the trip details, finding a moving company, packing, and the trip itself. Research how much the move will cost, know the terms of your old rental contract if applicable, and find friends or workers to help with furniture and other bulky objects.
- Sell-Your-Own-House as soon as you can. This may be a long process you'll need to complete after your move.
- Move-with-Pets Moving with an animal involves extra effort and care. Read the linked article as soon as possible so you have time to prepare.
- Pack-for-a-Move. You may find you own more things than you expect, so don't leave all your packing to the last minute. Donate or sell anything you don't want to take with you so you aren't stuck filling your moving truck with junk.
- Give away unwanted clothing, toys, books, and films to secondhand stores and charity organizations.
- Hold a garage or yard sale to get rid of miscellaneous items and small furniture.
- Post on Craigslist or similar sites about selling or giving away furniture you're leaving behind.
- Give-Notice. If you are currently employed, you should let your employer know you're leaving well in advance. Your employment contract may specify a minimum advance notice period; otherwise two weeks is the traditional minimum. If you are a renter, let the landlord know you'll be terminating your contract early (or not renewing it).
- Don't burn any bridges by surprising your boss with the news. The more in advance you give notice, the easier it will be for your employer to make up the lost work. Too little notice could make them angry and hurt your chance at a good reference for later jobs.
- Let your landlord know enough in advance to schedule an inspection of the property. Clean it thoroughly after packing in order to receive your security or cleaning deposit back.
- Read your rental contract so you know about any early termination fees. If you and your next employer haven't agreed on a relocation package yet, you may be able to convince the company to pay this expense.
- Always be professional and punctual.
- Start saving money early for a back up plan.
- Be prepared to back up anything stated on a resume with documentation or references.
- Try not to become frustrated when you're rejected. Move on to another job opening and try again.
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