When you’re applying for an out-of-state job, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. And depending on what type of job you’re applying for, you may be right. But like all challenges, there is a way to overcome them, if you just know how.
The level of the position can be an obstacle when you apply for a job out of state. Entry-level jobs are generally more abundant and easier to fill locally. If you are seeking an upper management or executive level position, you might have more luck.
However, out-of-town applicants can get around that in a couple of ways:
- State in your cover letter that you are planning to move to the company’s location (if you can mention a specific ETA, that’s even better) and don’t need relocation assistance.
- Make it clear in your cover letter that you would be happy to get yourself to the employer’s location for an interview.
- On your resume, list your contact info like this:
Relocating in [month, year] to [target company's city]
- Or, borrow a local address: if you know someone in or near where you want to work, ask if you can use their address on your resume and cover letters. This will help you avoid being eliminated from consideration just for not being local.
Other obstacles that job seekers might encounter when searching for a job in a different state include:
- Traveling for multiple interviews
- Fewer (or no) opportunities to attend networking events
- Lack of contacts
- Difficulty obtaining current and accurate information on the local job market
To get around these issues will take a bit of planning and some creative effort.
- Take a Trip to Your Destination City. Many employers are unwilling to fly candidates in for job interviews. Why not solve this problem for them? If you can’t use a local address, be up-front in your cover letter and say that you will be in town on certain days and would like to come in for an interview. Try to arrange phone interviews before you go, so you can maximize your results by holding second- and third-round interviews in person, after you arrive.
- Avoid the Competition from the Get-Go. Hunting for jobs is a competitive sport, and the less competition you have, the better your chances of winning. Instead of searching for jobs on the usual web sites, try reading the trade journals and magazines for your profession. Search both the print and online editions for job postings. There may be fewer applicants for jobs advertised in less popular locations.
- Find Local Allies. Make personal connections in the city where you want to work. Find out who you know in your target city. Ask them if they know of anyone you should meet. Work your connections on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get introductions.
- Become familiar with your target location. Subscribe to the on-line edition of the local newspaper, especially the Sunday edition. Pay attention to articles on businesses, expansions, and notices of promotions and new hires, as well as job postings. – Contact the Chamber of Commerce, Office of Tourism, and the Department of Labor to request a relocation packet. Most states and cities also have specific information online for people who wish to relocate there.