A long-distance job search presents a variety of challenges, from costly interview travel to employers who are reticent about hiring candidates with no local ties. Distance doesn't have to be a deal breaker, however. With the right strategy, you can win over employers and secure a great new position in a different city or state.
Consider Address Masking
If you apply to a large company that uses resume-scanning software, an out-of-town zip code can put you out of the running during a long-distance job search. Avoid automatic disqualification by using a local address. Find a friend or a family member who is willing to receive mail on your behalf, and use their address on your resume, cover letter and application. If you choose this option, be prepared to explain yourself at the first opportunity. Let the employer know you're in the process of relocating and receive mail at a temporary local address.
Communicate Relocation Reasons
Remote applicants present a very real concern to employers. After all, if you can't find an apartment or wind up hating the new city, a lack of local connections makes it easier to leave the company and move back home. Head off these issues by explaining your reasons for relocating up front. In your cover letter, let the hiring manager know you're moving to the city for a spouse's job or want to live closer to family, for example. By providing a compelling reason, you can preemptively alleviate concerns and make a long-distance job search easier.
Succeed at Video Interviews
When the budget is tight, companies often choose video interviews as a cheaper alternative to paying for candidate travel. Increase the success of your long-distance job search by preparing for your Skype or FaceTime interview. Choose a quiet location, and make sure it looks neat and professional. Dress professionally from head to toe, since you might have to stand up to reach for a document. Practice with friends to gauge the speed of your internet connection and ensure that your normal speaking voice is clear and easy to understand.
Build a Local Network
If you find that employers are hesitant to consider your application, it's time to step up your long-distance job search. Increase your chances of securing a new position by building a local network in the new city. Follow local industry leaders on LinkedIn, and engage in conversations on Twitter. Visit the city and attend professional association events. Once you have a set of solid connections, ask for job referrals, or request to bring up their name during the interview. When employers see that you are serious about building a presence in their city, they may be more likely to take your application seriously.
A long-distance job search is more difficult than a local search, but you can have success. By remaining transparent and open about your reasons, you can convince employers that you're serious about the move and the job.
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