How to “Go the Distance” With Your Job Search [Ask Amanda]
What’s the best way to manage a long-distance job search? I’m currently employed in the Northeast, and want to find a new job in California. Is it wise to delete the address from my resume, as many employers would likely discard an out-of-state resume? Would replacing my current address with the address of a local relative be a good move? Is it a good idea to explain my intentions in the cover letter (initially too much information, better explained during a conversation)? - CB of Acton, MA
Whenever someone talks about relocating, I immediately want to ask: “Why do you want to move?”
I ask this because relocating, especially in today’s saturated job market, can be difficult to do. Unless your skill set is incredibly unique and in high demand, recruiters and hiring managers will likely choose local candidates over out-of-towners to fill their roles.
For one, out-of-towners are more expensive. The company often has to pick up relocation costs. And second, they’re considered more of a flight risk. If you don’t have to relocate, then I don’t recommend doing it.
But I understand the decision is not always in your hands. You may need to move back home to take care of an ailing parent. Or your significant other was just relocated for work and you need to follow. Or maybe the market has shifted and requires you to move.
If relocation is likely on your horizon, I recommend following these 10 steps to make your long-distance search run more smoothly:
Whenever possible, research the market trends in your industry and identify locations where your line of work is in high demand and growing. This makes your skill set more valuable, and your current location less of an issue.
Consider locations where you have roots. You either lived or worked there before, or have family there. Play up these facts in your cover letter to show recruiters you didn’t choose this location on a whim – you’re a safe bet.
Target a specific location, rather than taking an “I’ll move anywhere” approach because you will need to familiarize yourself with the market, build up connections and participate in networking activities in your desired location.
Visit the location to make sure it’s the right place for you and your family. Familiarize yourself with the area – what’s the night life like? What neighborhoods would you want to live in? How are the schools?
Make sure you can afford to move. Check out the cost of living differences between your current and your desired locations, as well as the going rate for your job’s compensation. This could change your salary requirements.
Include the phrase “My family and I are willing to relocate to [location] at personal expense” (if applicable) within your resume and LinkedIn profile’s executive summary. This shows your commitment to relocate, and your family’s support.
Take your address off the resume.There’s a lot of debate over this practice, but I prefer to leave the address off, rather than use a relative’s address. It just looks weird when your address says California but your current job says Connecticut, you know? If an application requires an address, that’s when I recommend using your relative’s local address.
Make networking a high priority during your search. Go through your connections to determine which contacts live in your desired location and reconnect. Start reading the local news online and explore local business directories and the chamber of commerce. Identify local groups to connect with that are industry-related.
Be prepared to travel. If you’re going to relocate, you must commit to traveling often for face-to-face networking and interviewing. Whenever possible, try to line up meetings around the block of time in the area to make your life easier (especially if you’re currently employed).
Master the virtual interview. Become comfortable with using Skype or other video conferencing software, as you’ll likely need to use it during the interview process.
Utilize these tips and you’ll be on your way to landing that job across the country! Click on the link for more information on relocating.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.