Workwrite Resumes

The Long-distance Job Search: Real life success stories

victoryWhat happens when Workwrite clients apply long-distance job search principles to real life?

One application, one offer, one job

For “Derek,” a college administrator, it means you land your dream job with your first and only application.

“I only applied for one position and was hired by that organization,” Derek said.

He was thrilled with this outcome, but his children were less impressed. “I had told my daughters that it might take a year to find the right spot for me, and they likely would stay at (their current) high school,” Derek said.

A friend who knew he and his family were relocating to their home state called him about a position at the university where she worked. Note that Derek credits this personal referral as the most important element of the process. When the stakes are as high as they are in a long-distance search, an employee referral is as good as it gets.

Derek had a phone interview with HR, an in-person interview with the President, and then an interview with the leadership team. About a month later, he had the job.

Derek still holds the job he attained through his long-distance search.

“It has been an excellent fit,” he said.

Five moves and still freelancing

Photographer and videographer “Kerry” has had a radically different experience with his long-distance job search. “I still have not found my dream job and am struggling at freelancing. I have also moved five times since graduating college four years ago.”

Kerry started his long-distance job search living half a continent away from his target job. After several months, he moved to his target city. “I found it much easier to find work when I moved. Companies did not really want the hassle of dealing with me out of state as there are so many other candidates who were already there,” he said.

This is not unusual. Many long-distance job seekers find their far-away location is a huge stumbling block because employers want to hire locally. There are work-arounds for this situation.

Kerry is freelancing through an agency now and knows that his career documents are working well because he is hired for temporary assignments regularly. Unfortunately, he find the assignments short-lived. Even though he receives high praise for his work, the companies have not hired him full time.

Kerry realizes he must network more within his industry to find a permanent position. “It is just hard because I do not have many connections, and I know that is the real way to get the job I want,” he said.

Networking works

“Jonah,” a public administrator, also received a job offer on his first application, although he admits researching and preparing for the application process took about a year.

Initially, Jonah came to Workwrite for a resume package he planned to use to apply for a position in a neighboring community. “I worked with Jeri to craft a resume package that presented my skills and experience to match the employer’s needs and expectations.  I was a finalist for that position,” he said.

During his research of employers, he realized there were worlds of opportunities out there. He decided to look a little further down the road.

“The world is a big place, and the job boards are full of positions you can pepper with generic resumes.  Instead, I worked to identify interesting opportunities in communities that could be great places to live “Out West,” where we had lived previously and the economy was doing a bit better. ”

Jonah gave himself a huge head start by choosing where he wanted to live, based on the needs and wishes of his family and their comfort level with the regional economy. Most important, he did his homework.

“I read local newspapers and reached out via LinkedIn to professional contacts to get to know the local situation,” he said.

Jonah’s first long-distance application turned into a new job in a community he and his family came to love. Unfortunately, he didn’t love the job as much and has since landed a new position in the region. He turned even that setback into a learning experience.

“One thing I would have done differently from a distance is to request an in-person interview. Skype is great for a first- or second-round interview, but there is no substitute for talking
face-to-face to get a feel for how well you will fit in,” he said.

Jonah advises taking a vacation to your long-distance destination even before you land that first interview. Talk to a realtor, Chamber of Commerce executive, and professionals in your own industry to find out as much as you can about your target employer and community.

Then, as eager as you may be to start your new adventure, take the time to plan your move judiciously. Once you receive a job offer, you may feel like the heavy lifting is done, but a long-distance move takes time and effort.

“Know before hand whether you want to work and house-hunt at the same time,” Jonah suggests. “A new job is stressful enough without living out of a suitcase.”

Jonah also has some suggestions to make your long-distance job search easier:

  • Use online job boards to identify employers and open positions in places you would like to live in your target region.
  • Read online newspapers to get a feeling for local attitudes: Do people want to improve their community? Or just argue and complain?
  • Rely on professional connections and LinkedIn messaging to inquire about the situation within the organizations posting open positions: How is the local economy? What projects are being developed? Why are the positions vacant?
  • Invest in attending a regional professional conference to follow up on email/phone contacts.  There’s no substitute for facetime when you’re looking to break in to a distant market.

If your long-distance job search is getting you nowhere, contact me right away. We’ll figure out the obstacles and solutions.

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Image courtesy imagerymajestic at Freedigitalphotos.net


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