Mary Newgard
Mary Newgard

Location is Killing My Insurance Job Search

Job Search Tips

June 26, 2017

Image result for job search

Earlier this week while preparing an insurance professional candidate for a job interview I mentioned the hiring manager’s first question about him concerned his location. The candidate is in western Massachusetts about 60 miles/60 minutes from the client's office.  He lives in a part of the state locals describe as “rural,” which basically means you’re nowhere near Boston and only a fool would commute that far for a job. He said multiple companies haven’t interviewed him because of where he lives.

Location is killing my job search.

The thing about commutes is that they don’t have to be the death of the job search process in your insurance job search.  Like any other “issue” (i.e. being fired, overqualified or lacking a degree), there are techniques to overcoming the topic, make location a non-factor with these simple tricks:

location ping.png1. List Commutable Distances On Your Resume

The objective section is a great place to insert keywords that you want hiring managers to see.  It’s okay to make the statement personal.  An example for the situation above:

I currently live in Small Town, MA but am comfortable with a commute to Boston, Worcester and Springfield.  OR...
I currently have a 90-minute commute each way on a daily basis and will consider new positions at a similar distance. 

This way it might not be so much 90 miles equals 90 minutes, but it could solve the question in major areas from one suburb to another.

Working At Home Office Stock Photo-3.jpg2. Work-At-Home                                     

Companies use soft benefits to distinguish themselves.  Search job postings for keywords that might indicate immediate flexibility based on your location, for example: work-at-home, telecommuting, flex time, heavy travel and commute reimbursement.

3. Bring Up the Subject During the Job Interview

Be proactive. Work your residence into the conversation when the time feels right.  You can be very transparent: 


Since we’re discussing my search other companies have voiced concerns about my commute.  Is that a concern you have? 


It was great to interview at this particular time. I got a feel for exactly what the rush hour traffic would feel like.  I’m used to the car/train or bus/walk combo from my other job.  It was very manageable.

4. Where Does the Hiring Manager Live?

You might be surprised why they are sensitive to commutes.  Case in point: I had an Agency President tell me he loved a candidate’s resume but hated his location. Then he proceeded to tell me that he lives a town over from this individual and hates the drive.  Aha! So because the president hates it everyone must.  When you ask the hiring manager where they live you turn the tables on the conversation. They say X City and you say...

That’s awesome.  We’re practically neighbors!  Any tips for managing the drive or taking backroads into the office? 

Now you’re not enemy combatants. You’re friends….allies in the war against commutes.

5. It’s Not You…..It’s Me

You may be paying for the sins of someone else.  Shortened commutes is one of the top reasons given by an employee when resigning.  Whether it’s really true or just an easy way to cover up a different reason, when companies hear this enough times they get really sensitive to new employees’ locations. Hiring managers rarely talk about retention issues.  Keep this in mind when interviewing.  Your interview question doesn’t have to be how much turnover they have, but you could say...

Are you sensitive to location because other employees have struggled with distance?  I’ve never wanted to use commutes as a way to take advantage of flexible work arrangements.  I’ve always gone into my positions with my family’s support and my eyes wide open to time and distance commitments. 


Mary Newgard, CPC, AU
515-987-0242 x454 


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