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The Long-distance Job Search: When you know where you’re going

If you've decided the grass is truly greener somewhere else, here are some tips for landing a job there.

If you’ve decided the grass is truly greener somewhere else, here are some tips for landing a job there.

When you know your destination, your job search — while still long-distance — becomes more focused.

You can follow the recommended techniques for a local job search:

  • Choose several companies that pique your interest.
  • Research them online and through local resources such as the Better Business Bureau, Office of Economic Development, and Chamber of Commerce, until you’ve narrowed your choices to two or three.
  • Network into those companies through LinkedIn connections, professional associations, and colleagues.
  • Set up information interviews with the person who would make the hiring decision if you applied.

Unfortunately, attracting and keeping the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s attention is more difficult from a distance. Some are simply biased against hiring out of town. Others don’t want the hassle and expense of hiring other than locally. Improve your chances by using these tips in your networking and search conversations and emails:

Give your reason for moving:  Lots of hiring managers have been burned by candidates who said they were interested in a job and changed their mind. Do NOT waste a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s time. If you’re not sure about this move, don’t go fishing by applying. You can research in other ways. When you tell a hiring manager that you have elderly parents you want to live closer to, that’s a reason that will keep you in that spot for the foreseeable future. Wanting to live in the mountains isn’t. You may find out you hate the mountains. You may miss your friends. You may not last two weeks. At least, that’s what the manager is thinking. Give them every reason to trust that you are a long-term investment.

Say when you’re moving: Make your plans before you look for a job. I know it’s scary. I know it’s expensive. Unless you want to stay where you are, you’re going to have to convince a hiring manager that you are moving to his/her town. Giving a date makes it so. It also gives the manager a timeframe for interviewing you without a lot of extra expense.

Say you will pay for your own move: This is one huge reason hiring managers and recruiters don’t want to deal with long-distance candidates. They’re expensive. If you take away that disincentive, you’re one step closer to being hired.

Be local: An alternative to transparency about your relocation is to seem like you are already there. You can do this by renting a forwarding mailbox in your target city.  Google “mail forwarding service” and the name of your target city to find one. Alternatively, you can ask a friend or relative who lives there if you can use their address during your search.

Be prepared for electronic interviewing: Employers are more likely to ask long-distance candidates to interview electronically, mainly because it saves the employer money. Some employers are using phone screening and video interviews as preliminary contacts for all candidates. As a long-distance candidate, you are likely to experience both. Click on the links, “phone screening” and “video interviews” above for more information, along with this post about body language and another about auditing your interview.

Network, network, network: Talk to people. Clicking the apply button and waiting for someone to call you will not get you a job in 98.5% of cases. That’s right. When you click the apply button, you have a 1.5% chance you will get that job. Not your idea of good odds? Then, find connections in your target city through LinkedIn, through alumni associations, in professional associations, through colleagues, friends, and family. If you want to move to Denver, ask everyone you know if they know someone in Denver. You will be amazed how valuable – and helpful – these connections become.

If you are struggling with a long-distance job search, contact me right away. We can discuss what is happening, and I can offer solutions for a number of challenges, including new career documents and, coaching on job search strategies, interview preparation, and salary negotiations.

Related information on long-distance job searches:

Why long-distance job searches are so difficult

How to find a job when you don’t know where you’re going


Image courtesy ohmega1982 on Freedigitalphotos.net 

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