March 17, 2020

Starting A Job Search When You Want To Relocate

by Amy Stuntz

Whether you are moving across the country or just moving to a neighboring state, relocating can be extremely stressful. Searching for a new job in an unfamiliar location only adds to the burden. Employers treat relocation applicants differently from local candidates. Here is how to be proactive and strategic with a relocation job search.

When To Start Your Job Search

Now! Start your job search as soon as you decide you are going to relocate. Do not wait until the house sells. Securing a new job is the #1 way the dominoes start to fall. Here are ways to prepare for a long-distance job search:

1) Update your resume and cover letter.

  • Specifically state your intentions to move to the area in your cover letter and provide a brief explanation to why you are moving.
  • Include your timeline/moving date to create a sense of urgency.

2) Companies want to know that you plan to stay for a long time.

  • Indicate why you are relocating. For example: You want to be closer to family or your significant other’s job is being transferred.

3) Update the address on your resume using your current location followed by ‘Relocating to____’.

  • Now would be a good time to update your LinkedIn profile location as well.

How To Search For Jobs Out Of State

The easiest place to search for job openings is on job boards.

  • Use advanced search options to specify the location you desire.
  • Check out local resources like the Chamber of Commerce or location-specific groups on social media.
  • Use your personal network via LinkedIn to connect with hiring managers to make them aware of your move.
  • Find a recruiter that’s familiar with the new geography and specializes in your industry.

Prepare To Interview

Phone Interviews: Most employers start with a phone call for any candidate more than one hour away from the office.

Zoom & Skype Interviews: We love this strategy more and more, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers want face-to-face time and are breaking with tradition that web-based interviews are a last resort or a substandard medium. If a Zoom or Skype interview doesn’t replace the phone screen, it will absolutely be your second interview. Set up free Skype and Zoom accounts ASAP. Click here for tips on how to prepare for a Skype interview.

In-Person Interviews: On-site interviews are the final step. Expect some hesitation from employers about moving to this level. For some reason with out-of-state candidates, they overthink things like “Who will pay for the flight?” and “Is this person really committed to the move?”

Push the envelope for a face-to-face interview with these three techniques:

1) Schedule a long weekend (on your own dime) as a house hunting trip, but bake in extra time for interviewing. Give companies your availability to meet for an hour at their office.

  • Also, ask for their opinion on the best places to look for housing based on your criteria (affordability, safety, schools, proximity to their office).

2) Book a work trip out to that area and layover an extra day for interviewing.

  • If you do business in the area where you plan to relocate it’s a no brainer to double down your time for personal reasons. You’re not cheating on your current employer; they were already going to fund the trip anyways.

3) Split travel expenses 50/50.

  • Companies will say they have an open checkbook until the time comes when they have to pay for interview travel expenses. 99% of the time they interview local candidates, so you are the anomaly in needing special considerations. If they baulk at booking a flight, put a little ‘skin the game’ and offer to pay for half the flight. This shows commitment on your part as well as theirs to the process.

How To Close A New Job Offer

Remove all obstacles in the hiring manager’s mind that hiring you requires an Act of Congress.

  • Make sure interviews you are traveling for are final interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re a final candidate.
  • Keep reminding people of your timeline. Eventually, your move date will become synonymous with your start date.
  • Share relocation details so the hiring manager understands this isn’t hypothetical…it’s really happening! I sold my house. We signed on a new lease. My kids are excited about the move. We’ve already hired a moving company.


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