3 Tips for Managing a Long-Distance Job Search
Looking to relocate out of state and wondering what you can do to help make your job search smoother and more effective? First, it’s important to understand that during an out-of-state job hunt, you’ll face added challenges.
Since you may not know the reputation of local employers, you may have a more difficult time discerning which companies are worth your time. Scheduling interviews can also be difficult, as you may be dealing with costly travel and time zone changes. Additionally, many employers will prefer a local candidate over a long-distance jobseeker because it’s cheaper (they don’t have to spend any money on transportation for a candidate, for instance). A local candidate may also know more about the employer’s specific needs and requirements, as that candidate will probably have more knowledge of the employer and their place in the local market.
Overall, expect that a long-distance job search will take more time and effort than a local job search. You’ve got several extra hurdles to overcome, but there are a few things you can do to help your search.
- Gather intelligence on employers and the local job market. By doing so, you can determine whether a prospective employer will be a good cultural fit and whether the market will provide long-term job viability. You don’t want to uproot yourself (and your family) if job prospects are dwindling in your industry or field, or if a prospective employer’s mission and values don’t align with yours.
- Build and leverage local connections. In any job search, networking is key, but it’s especially critical if you’re looking to relocate. If you’ve got your eye on a specific employer, you’ll need an “in”—someone who can vouch for you and help you get your foot in the door. At the very least, having connections where you want to move will help you identify job opportunities worth investigating.
- Use a cover letter wisely. During a long-distance job search, a persuasive cover letter can be a great tool to explain your situation and show that you’re committed to moving. But don’t solely focus on the fact that you want to move; focus on the fact that you want to move because of the specific job you’re applying to and that you’re thinking long-term. Many employers worry that long-distance candidates might see a job offer as a brief stopgap to make the leap to a new state, where you’ll leave them high and dry in a few months.In the cover letter, also let the employer know that you’re willing to pay your own relocation expenses (if the cost is manageable to you). Cost can be a major factor in turning down long-distance candidates. If you can take on some of the burden, prospective employers will be more willing to give you a chance.
While you’ll most likely face some additional obstacles during an out-of-state job search, the rewards can be worth the effort. With the right tools and strategies, you can make a successful move and keep your career on track.