A new job can often take you to a new, exciting place. But what if you’re ready for the excitement of a change of scenery, but don’t know where to start when it comes to finding a new job? Whether you need to move for family reasons or are simply unsatisfied with your current location, here’s a few steps to hone your job search and up your chances of landing a gig from far away.
Step 1: Research your options
Location, location, location is the mantra of the house hunter, but it should also be the mantra of the job seeker. Not only is it important to research where the jobs are within your industry, it’s also important to narrow your search to the location that will satisfy and support the rest of your life. Whether you’re looking for the nearest metro center within driving distance of family, or you want to be on the coast, or you just want to live in a place with a lower cost of living, getting as much information as possible before you start your job search is key. Does a particular city have a subway system or bus? Would you bike to work or drive? Are you looking for better weather or one of the nation’s healthiest cities? It’s important to prioritize locations that will work better for you and support your reasons for moving in the first place.
Then, once you zero in on your ideal locations, make sure you also research the area for practical day-to-day issues: housing, travel, and cost of living. The median salary in a new location may be less than what you’re used to and can filter you out of contention for the perfect job in the perfect area. When you’re searching from far away, and you don’t already have a lay of the land, this is something important to keep in mind. Also, be sure to check if certain cities have a local job search network, as many do. Local sites may help you learn more about a new place in addition to finding more opportunities in a particular area.
Step 2: Network
Does your current job have possible transfer opportunities? Do you have personal or professional contacts in your preferred area? Referrals are a time-tested avenue for employers to find good hires—and that’s a two-way street. Put the word out on social media and your text chains and see what opportunities people in your desired location already know about. Also, chances are your alumni network has contacts in your new desired area. Take advantage of whatever resources and contacts you have that can get you an “in” with the place you want.
Step 3: Apply
When applying, consider the perspective of your potential employers. You don’t want to become automatically disqualified simply for having an out-of-state address. It’s often more practical for an organization to hire local talent rather than consider having to cover transportation or moving costs for quality candidates. So leave your address off the resume and cultivate a compelling reason for why you want to move to a new area. Providing a good, honest reason for your desire to move and presenting the choice in a positive light for your professional advance can show a future employer that you are a serious candidate.
Step 4: Sharpen your Skype skills
Even though almost everything is online, job-searching from another state will present a challenge when you get close to the interview process. Taking a transatlantic flight for a first-round interview may prove costly and impractical if the job opportunity doesn’t pan out. Interviewing in person is very different than interviewing via Skype or by phone. Don’t be afraid to ask if this is a possibility for first-round interviews. And practice your Skype performance: find a quiet, clean, and properly lit spot to do your online interviews, pay for quality WiFi to prevent dropped calls, and get used to making eye contact with the camera rather than the screen.
Step 5: Realize you might need to compromise
Sometimes a great job opportunity will lead you to another state, but it’s a little harder to do this in reverse. This doesn’t mean you will need to automatically take a pay cut, but if you prioritize location, you may need to budge somewhere else. You might not get the ideal job in the ideal location. So, if you really need to move, you need a back-up plan. Find a starter job in your ideal location where you can stay for a while and continue your job search from a stronger position once you’ve moved.