Perhaps you want to be closer to your aging parents. Or perhaps you want to move to a city that is a hub of an industry that offers more opportunity for career growth. Maybe you just need more sunshine, more mountains, or less traffic.
Whatever your motivation, job seekers who hope to relocate can encounter special challenges. Many companies won’t even consider candidates who are relocating. They worry you will need too much time to relocate; that you’ll want your travel and relocation expenses covered; or that you might not like the new location and want to leave shortly after you arrive. You also face the challenge of creating a strong local network to provide internal referrals for jobs.
Here are 5 proven tips to help you overcome these barriers to getting hired.
1. Use LinkedIn to quickly establish your network long-distance. Click the “Advanced” link on the top right-hand side of the screen, then search by zip code or country. Then delimit by industry, job title, keyword, etc. Sort the results by “Connections” and you then will see the most well-connected people in your target city and industry. These are likely “open networkers” who will be glad to link to you. By linking to them, you immediately expand your future search results in the area. Also look at their groups and join relevant ones.
2. Use Skype, the phone, professional associations, alumni groups, and local job boards. Some cities have niche job boards or even listservs that serve as a hub for professional networks. Use informational interviews to ask what local resources are used for job seeking. Use membership rosters from your professional or alumni association and cold-call people in the new location. Be ready to use Skype to conduct job interviews—it’s being used more and more often to save on travel expenses.
3. Make several trips to the new location for networking and interviewing. LinkedIn and Skype only go so far. Try as much as possible to arrange a vacation, attend a conference, or otherwise make a field trip to the new city and book back-to-back informational interviews.
4. Mention your reasons for relocation in your cover letter and interview. A brief note at the end of your letter, stating a reason why you are moving, without getting too personal, will reassure employers that you’re serious.
5. Use the relocation to your advantage by using the “one night only” technique. Once you apply for a position, follow up with a call or email to say you will be coming to town for a few days and give a date range. Some employers will schedule interviews mainly because you are a limited commodity.
Knowing that you have a barrier to entry in a new job market, be as flexible as you can on start date. Unless you are at an executive level, don’t insist on paid relocation. Try to land an offer, and other items can be negotiated from there.