The 2012-2013 US Census population survey recorded that 35.9 million people moved in the US. 19.4% of those people claimed that they were moving for employment reasons, and most commonly these people moved long distance. Relocating for employment is fairly common to do. It may be due to a spouse getting a new job, family needs, maybe the relocation of an existing employer or for a new job entirely. Whatever the reason may be, there are a few things to be aware of when you are personally going through a long distance job search.
Where are you relocating to?
Ideally, when looking to relocate you have an idea of where you would like to go, but it may not work that way. Moving to a new city in the next state over or across the country is a big deal; therefore it is not wise to make these decisions lightly. As you search for jobs in new locations, be sure to learn about the area itself. You will also want to be sure you want to live there. Going in blind without knowing the area is not the way to approach the situation. Make trips and visit the area if you are able to, prior to making a decision and get to know the place you will be moving to firsthand.
It’s true, many companies look to hire employees that are from their local region. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a current residence in a different state will put you out of the running for a job. If you are truly serious about relocating, make sure that it is adequately expressed. Include that you will be relocating to the employer’s region in your cover letter and make note of it in your correspondence with companies of interest. If you have one in mind, give a move in date or provide them with a local mailing address.
Quick tip: If you are moving and have yet to move, set up mail forwarding and give potential employers the local mailing address rather than the current out of state address.
Quick Tip: Do not forget to ask about relocation services. Many companies offer assistance in some form or another when it comes to relocation needs.
Forewarning…as a recruiter there is some personal bias here; but when in the process of a long distance job search (especially in an area that you do not know), one of your best bets will be to utilize the local recruiters. Recruiters will have an understanding of the local job market that you will not and will also be well connected in the area. This means you may have the opportunity to be marketed to companies very suitable for you. An extra advantage of using recruiters is they may also know about specific employment opportunities that were not listed online.
Use the people you have in your network to get information about the job market, the area itself and possibly give a referral. Very often, individual’s networks are made up of people in the same region as they are (friends, family, co-workers, etc.). For relocation purposes, your networking efforts must extend to people in the area you want to be.
Quick Tip: Your alumni network is one of the best places to start. After college, people relocate all over the place. Leverage your common “Alma Mater” as a conversation starter to network with people in that location.
The necessity to visit the location will eventually come up in the process of a long distance job search so make the most of your time while you are there. In addition to seeing the area and interviewing, set up face to face meetings with people in your extended network. These can be as simple as a lunch or a drink at a local pub. Informational meetings like this can help you to get additional “insider” information about the local marketplace and community that you may not find elsewhere.
Quick Tip: Hiring managers and recruiters will like to know about the network you already have in their local area (especially now when social media and your ability to network is becoming ever more important). It can help to display your commitment to relocating to the area if you already contribute to the community in some way.
Reach out to your network and connections you have made in the area and ask them for introductions to local employers and other people in the community. Doing so may not always present you with opportunities you are best qualified for, but keep an eye out for the ones that can become a “foot in the door” opportunity, or a way to expand your network.
Long distance job search places of interest:
Local job sites
Local Chamber of Commerce
College and University Career Sites – There may be reciprocal programs for recent grads.
LinkedIn – Follow local companies/groups
Local organizations/associations – Join and contribute to these