Is it Possible to Conduct a Successful Long-Distance Job Search?

Nancy Anderson
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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.


Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Gurudeva K. thanks for your comment. It sounds like you may need to shift your job search efforts to match US time instead of your time. That is, you may need to be contacting recruiters in the middle of the night your time just so that you get the opportunity to speak with them in person. It's tough doing a long distance job search at anytime and even harder when it's a few time zones away. But, if you really want to come back to the US and work, you may have to be inconvenienced for a day or two each week. Plan it out and let the recruiters know that you will be available on a specified day and see if you can't set up an appointment to speak with them. All the best.

  • Gurudeva K.
    Gurudeva K.

    I am doing this long distance job search since 2012. I worked in USA from 98-2008 and came to India in 2008 for a personal work that got extended till 2010 and then till 2012. I have been doing this long distance job search and is not effective. I have given my house address in USA as my address. Because of the timezone difference rarely we get a chance to speak to recruiter. Pls suggest some improvements to make it a success.

  • Janice K.
    Janice K.

    Thanks for helpful input:)

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks @Tony B. for your great comment. The cover letter certainly would go a long way towards explaining why the move; when it will happen and when you would be available to begin working. It's much easier to plan a move today than it was ten or even twenty years ago - in the days before you could do everything online. I know I had to do a long distance job search when I moved from MD to NC and it wasn't easy. I actually had to subscribe to the local newspaper so that I could send my resume and cover letter (via snail mail) in to the hiring manager. Today you can simply send a quick email or text message to the hiring manager and explain your situation. All the best.

  • Tony B.
    Tony B.

    In my opinion one of the hardest things to overcome as an out of the area candidate is the concern of why would the choose my location. A cover letter or summary will help a lot when applying to opportunities across a long distance. Explain to the firm, recruiter, company why you are looking to relocate and what you plan is. This will eliminate a lot of concerns early.

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