People choose to relocate for many reasons—better career opportunities, new life experiences, to be with friends or family—but taking the plunge can be daunting without a new job lined up. If you’re interested in relocating, there are basically two ways to approach this situation: find a job before moving or move and then find a job.
In many ways it’s easier to move and then find a job, but not everyone can afford this approach. If you want to—(and can afford to?)—relocate but don’t want to do it without securing a new position, here are some tips for making it happen:
- Develop your story
Why do you want to move? Are you interested in an area with more job opportunities? Looking to move closer to friends and family? Is your significant other relocating? When you get in touch with employers, they may ask you why you are moving. Having your story prepared will allow you to answer confidently, showing that you are serious about this major life change. For more on storytelling, check out Get Storied’s post “Storytelling to Land Better Job and Business Opportunities.”
- Plan your move
Even if you don’t intend to move until you’ve found a new job, you should prepare a long distance job search for a couple reasons. First, telling prospective employers about your plans will show that you are committed. If employers aren’t sure you will definitely move, they may not want to take a risk in hiring you. Second, you’ll be ready to move quickly if you get a job offer.
- Build a network
Networking is one of the most common ways to get a job, so building a network in your target city will be critical to your job hunt. A recent job study found that 80% of jobs were found through networking. Be sure to connect with people you know in the area to let them know about your plans to move and ask if they know of any opportunities.
Don’t limit yourself just to your contacts in the area, ask your local friends and family if they know people out there, asking them to put you in touch. Former co-workers can also be a great resource for finding contacts. Search for and connect with people in your target city and industry through LinkedIn—don’t be shy about having mutual connections make introductions.
- Reach out to employers
Figure out the companies you’d like to work for and make contact with them. Search companies by industry on LinkedIn and start to follow them. Reach out to hiring managers or key employees at your target companies to create a dialogue and express your interest in potential job opportunities. Let them know the dates you’ll be in town in order to set up an in-person conversation.
Also, tell employers if you won’t need relocation assistance—they might be more willing to consider you if they know they will not have to pay for these expenses.
- Make yourself local
If you have friends or family in your target area, ask them if you can use their address on your resume. You can also consider getting a P.O. box. Although you don’t want to be dishonest, having a local address might get your resume past an initial screening. Once you make contact with employers, you can explain your situation.
Another way to break into the local scene would be to join groups on LinkedIn, sign up for job alerts from local job boards, and utilize resources from colleges or universities in the area. In a Lifehacker post about finding jobs in a new city, Alan Henry notes that many colleges and universities will help people find work in the area, even if you didn’t attend the institution.
- Cover Letter
Your cover letter is arguably the most important component of your long-distance job search. Here’s our guide to cover letters! Not only is the cover letter an opportunity to sell yourself for the position, but it also is the best way to explain your current situation. You can include your moving timeline and whether you will be requiring relocation assistance.
- Consider working with a recruiter
If you are really struggling with your search, reach out to local recruiters or employment agencies. Their jobs are to get you a job, so working with them might be helpful for getting your foot in the door at certain companies. Do a search for local recruiting agencies and contact them to let them know your goals and plans.
Finding a job in a new city can be very challenging—especially when your target city is across the country. Although it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. Your job search will have a much greater chance of success if you are thorough with your planning, networking, and research. Above all, be persistent!
Have you successfully landed a job in a city before you moved? Share your tips on long-distance job searches—leave a comment below!