Part I: Managing the Search
Searching and applying for jobs out of state makes the already challenging job search even more so. Change is exciting and can be good, but you will want to give yourself extra grace and more time for an out-of-state search and relocation. This first installment of this three-part series will look at the actual job search, and what to keep in mind as you plan your strategy. We will then look at questions to consider when weighing a move, and finally, practical planning once you’ve decided you’re moving and need some tips on exactly how.
Let’s start by looking at how to manage a search for a job out of state. The most difficult element is messaging, and getting employers to take your claims of moving to their city with seriousness and sincerity. This difficulty is closely followed by the challenge of logistics, and planning interviews when they’re there and you’re here. From professionals who’ve moved around the world and back, here are some tips to:
1. Manage how and where you specify your address
Resumes and Cover Letters rarely list addresses anymore anyway, so just be sure you take those off. When it comes to LinkedIn, as soon as you enter your zip code your current city/state will appear. You can use some of your header space to specify “Relocating to Savannah, GA August 2020.”
2. Be specific in terms of month and year
Employers won’t even be slightly convinced of your plans if you can’t give them a time for your move. Specifying season can help, but even that is a risky generalization that makes employers say “give me a shout when you get to town.” Month and year is precise enough to make employers start to believe.
3. Use your Cover Letter to explain why
This is your opportunity to make the reader feel good about their city. Dedicate one paragraph to explaining your move including why now and why there. “I’m excited to be planning my relocation back to the city where I grew up. Returning to family, friends, and familiar sights and sounds is a dream come true. I’ll be wrapping things up here late spring, with a plan to pull into town early July of this year.” Or how about “My search for the simpler life of the smaller town has drawn me to your city, and all that it has to offer. I’ll soon be completing enrollment for my children in the local school, I’ve already connected with the leader of the adult softball league, and I’m happy to say we already feel at home.” True statements and specifics will go a long way to convincing the reader that you’re coming. Please note…as with any potential employer interactions you want to keep it positive. Stay away from mentioning that you need to get your troubled child out of their current environment, or someone close to you is in need of in-home care. Anything that smells like trouble or distraction will not work in your favor.
4. Arrange for off-site initial interviews
Most employers are choosing phone or skype for screening and initial interviews anyway, so this should not be a problem. If you have made yourself attractive as a suitable candidate through your documents and all earlier interactions, the employer will be eager to begin a conversation. They won’t worry so much about where you are at this point, so don’t be afraid to ask for the off-site option.
5. Arrange a mid-week visit to the target city
With plenty of lead time, plan a trip and get busy lining up informational or real interviews. Emailing potential employers or colleagues to say you’ll be in town over certain dates, and would love to buy them coffee or lunch to bend their ear about the city/company/department will likely produce at least a handful of meetings. Stack these days with care but as full as you can. Take into account distance and travel times. Getting 10 miles across town in Phoenix is not the same as 10 miles across LA.
6. Do your research
People are more convinced by a promise when it’s backed up by a clear investment of time. If you’ve taken the time to research schools, crime rates, neighborhoods, cultural offerings and cost of living, you’re serious about the move. Sitting in an interview and asking about schools or neighborhoods signals you’re not ready and you’re not yet serious.
It all comes down to minimizing the perception of risk surrounding you as a candidate, and when you really boil it down, you will have a better chance of getting hired upon your move. Do your due diligence to determine the viability of you finding a good job and maintaining your lifestyle, and then if you can possibly afford it, make the move. If you have a family, consider going ahead and renting an apartment or staying with family or friends while you land a job and get on your feet. The family can follow when the time is right. Stay tuned for our next installment looking at questions to consider when weighing your move.