The decision to relocate to a new city is an exciting one, but can also be fraught with stress. Moving can be overwhelming in its own right. Conducting a long-distance job search can add to that pressure. Whether you're moving for a spouse/life partner's job, to be closer to family, or simply to live somewhere different, these tactics and practices can make your long-distance job search a more effective and a less daunting challenge.
For the sake of this article, we are going to assume that you will be conducting a long-distance job search within the United States and that you are an entry- to mid-level candidate. International job searches and executive searches and recruitment are entirely different animals with unique rules. For the rest of the candidates executing a long-distance job search, here are some practical tips.
The Do's of Conducting a Long-Distance Job Search
Know your availability.
You have decided you're ready to move. You need to have a clear understanding of your date of arrival in your new city.
Address your plans to relocate in your cover letters.
Be up front, and tell hiring managers and recruiters why you want to relocate. Most will be interested.
Act like you belong.
In your conversations, you should convey that you know something about the new location.
Be prepared to pay.
If a potential employer wants to interview you in person, you should be ready to foot the travel bill yourself. You're seeking out the opportunity; they are not actively recruiting you.
Practice long-distance interviewing.
When you execute a long-distance job search, you're likely to find yourself doing Skype and phone interviews. Practice and prepare just as you would for an in-person interview.
Leverage and build your network.
This goes without saying, but it's particularly important to engage with recruiters and hiring managers at target companies when you're conducting a long-distance job search.
Have a tactical plan.
Know when you plan to arrive, how you will get to the new city, and what your costs are going to be. Create a timeline.
Know your industry.
An out-of-town candidate can make some managers leery. Dispel any reservations by knowing your industry cold.
Manage your expectations.
A long-distance job search can be a lengthy process.
Know the market in the new city.
When you go into a long-distance job search, it's important that you understand what the job market looks like in your target city. Are people with your skills in demand? Is there a niche industry in the area? What is the market salary for someone at your level?
The Don'ts of Conducting a Long-Distance Job Search
Be ambiguous about your moving plans.
Don't tell a potential employer that you are ready to pull the trigger whenever they are. Be decisive.
Be secretive about your current location.
Non-transparency is a big no-no.
Come off like a tourist.
Asking hiring managers about the culture of the city is one thing. Asking for excessive details will not be welcome, and will make you look like you haven't done your research. Start by following the local news in the new city.
Expect a relocation package.
Relocation packages are standard when an employee relocates at the behest of the employer. If you're conducting a long-distance job search on your own, you don't have much leverage.
Do not just roll out of bed and get on the phone. For Skype calls, make sure you look professional and polished, not disheveled. Don't do your interviews from Starbuck's. Choose a private, quiet location.
Don't wait until you are on the ground to start making connections and making yourself known.
Plan on just showing up.
Again, winging it is not a good strategy for a move, or for a long-distance job search.
Be the same as a local candidate.
You need to really stand out when you're conducting a long-distance job search.
You're in this for the long-term result. Don't be discouraged when it takes longer than you wish.
Expect that what you've always done in your current city will work in the new city.
The new city is going to have its own cultural norms. Hiring processes and general corporate cultures are very different in New York and San Francisco than they are in Omaha or Kansas City.
The bottom line
A long-distance job search can be daunting and seem futile. It doesn't have to be. People succeed at this all the time. You need to be serious, have a plan, and persevere. To find additional resources and learn more about using recruiters to help in your long-distance job search, see our library of jobseeker relocation resources below.
Additional Resources for Jobseekers:
- Guide to Job Interviewing Resources and Tools
- Jobseeker Relocation Resources
- Interview Prep: Are You Willing to Relocate For The Job
- Sample Answers: Are You Willing to Relocate for a Job
- Letter Sample: Resignation Letter Due to Relocation Sample
- Sample Closing Paragraphs for Cover Letters: Closing Paragraphs for a Relocating Jobseekers
- How to Write a Resume: Expert Answers 19 Common Questions
- LiveCareer Free Resume Builder
- 13 Best Resume Designs of 2018