Searching for a Job From a Distance

Locating a job can be difficult in even the most prosperous of times, and when you are a non-local candidate, being selected for an interview can be even harder. The relocation programs that companies used to attract candidates were often the first benefit to be slashed when cost cutting measures were implemented.

Junior candidates have the most difficult time when applying for a job out of state. Why would a company take a risk in hiring a candidate from out of the area when there are plenty of local candidates to choose from? Even more senior candidates will have the odds stacked against them. A hiring manager will tend to select someone local over another who is equally qualified but located elsewhere. Why? When hiring an out-of-area candidate there are more variables to consider. For example, local candidates can usually start sooner, and since they didn’t move a great distance for the position, managers usually feel less conflicted if they are forced to let them go.

Here are some tips that will help maximize your chances as an “out-of-towner”:

Be Open with Your New Employer
Your address will easily reveal you as an out-of-area candidate, so if you’re using a cover letter it is a good idea to address this. Some managers see relocation as obstacle, so be sure to state the fact that you will not need relocating assistance and that you will cover all travel costs.

Bring in the Professionals
If you’re resume simply isn’t getting the reception you would like, it may be best to enlist professional help and consider working with a staffing agency. Staffing firms already know the local job market and have established relationships with many hiring mangers in the top companies. You will be much more likely to land a contract or full time position in your industry within a timely manner and will save yourself the seemingly futile effort of sending out resume after resume.

Ask a Friend to Help
This is a somewhat controversial method, but if you have a friend in the area, you can use their address on your resumes and correspondences. However, since you are portraying yourself as a local resident, this method should only be used if you are truly able behave as a local candidate would. This means all mail must forwarded to you on a timely basis, flying out on short notice for interviews, and giving only the standard two weeks notice. Keep in mind that you never want to mislead your hiring manager, so this method might be most effective if the city you are relocating to is not too far from home.

As Always, Network, Network, Network!
Attending networking opportunities is best done in person, but if that is not possible, use every online resource available. This may mean digging into companies’ social networks. Check their Facebook career pages for inside information and updates, and make sure to join any online industry organizations in that area. Start some conversations – you never know who you may connect with.

Remember, finding a position out of state will take longer than a local position. The odds are stacked against you, so be patient, be persistent, and stay positive!

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