It’s official. You’re sick of your current city, your job is terrible, and you’re developing wanderlust. You want to change cities and start a new career.
But there’s one problem: many companies don’t like to hire non-local applicants. How do you break into the job market in a new city?
If you are ready and willing to employ some strategic, guerilla-style tactics for maneuvering your way into a position, you’ll be able to land a job in a new city.
Search long distance.
Most jobs are listed online. Start your search by looking through online job boards. Post your resume on Monster, Simply Hired or Craigslist for positions in your target city.
Additionally, reach out to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn network. Write a brief message that says: “Hey! I’m moving to [CITY] and looking for a job in [INDUSTRY]. If you know of any good openings or leads, please let me know.” There’s a good chance someone will reach out with a connection that can help you land an interview.
Join an association.
Join nationwide industry associations in your field. (To find these, just Google the name of your industry, plus the words “society,” “association” or “organization.”) Check the membership roster for the names of people who live in your new city. Then reach out to them by email or LinkedIn to say, “Hi, I’m also a member of [GROUP], and I’m moving to [CITY] in a few months.” Then tell them you’re searching for open positions, and any help would be appreciated. Keep the request short-and-simple.
Get your foot in the door.
If you’re an entry-level worker, looking for internships and temporary or seasonal positions is also an option. This gives employers a chance to watch you work before extending an offer. Be prepared to live off ramen noodles if you pursue this option though.
Be travel ready.
Many first-round interviews are conducted over the phone. At this stage of the hiring process, your location won’t matter.
If you make it past the phone interview stage, you have to be willing to fly out to meet them, often on your own dime. If, however, the company initiated contact with you to offer you a job that you didn’t apply for, they should be the ones to cover any travel expenses.
The better your skill set and the higher the demand for your work expertise, the more likely the company will be to cover moving benefits. Most companies will not pay moving costs for an entry-level position. For mid- to upper-level positions, however, many companies will have relocation assistance available.
Deal with your out-of-town address problem.
Hiring departments, who don’t want the hassle of dealing with out-of-state candidates, often overlook non-local resumes. After all, they have dozens, if not hundreds, of local candidates to choose from.
How can you bypass the address dilemma? Is it okay to list a local address of a friend or family on your resume?
Here a few options:
• Be honest: If you would rather be honest about your current address, use your cover letter to explain your relocation logistics. Tell them upfront that you don’t expect them to cover any costs, that you will be able to fly out at the drop of a hat for an interview, and that you are ready to start as soon as possible.
• Don’t list your address at all: If you don’t list your address, then you won’t have to lie or be evasive about the issue. Problem solved! Some people object that removing the address from a resume looks unprofessional; others counter that if your resume has an attractive layout, the address removal will feel like a design feature. (You can find free resume templates on Google.) One caveat: If you land an interview and they ask for your address, don’t lie.
• List a local P.O. Box: Especially for cities that are particularly hard to break into the job scene, paying for a local P.O. Box may be worth the investment. This is also a more honest way of getting a local address than listing a family member or friend’s address. Additionally, a P.O. Box shows the hiring team that you’re serious about your move and you’re already establishing roots in the new city.
• List “Relocating in (Month/Year)”: List your name, email, phone number, and “Relocating in [Month] to [City].” If you tell them you’re already in the process of moving, they’ll be more likely to hire you. Companies want the validation that you won’t flake out at the last minute.
Don’t let location hold you back from the career and life you dream about. From the cover letter to the interview, you need to ooze confidence that you’re the perfect fit for the position.
Give the right company the reassurance that you’re serious about moving, and you shouldn’t have any trouble landing a job in a new city.