Dear Matt: I'm from Minnesota, but have worked in Arizona for the past decade. Now I want to move back to the Twin Cities, but I'm having a hard time getting noticed by employers. Do employers frown on hiring out of state? How can I overcome the distance barrier and get an interview?
Matt says: You definitely have some challenges ahead, said Steve Jewell, a Twin Cities HR consultant who has more than 25 years of small and large enterprise HR expertise.
Twin Cities recruiters Marni Hockenberg (hockenbergsearch.com) and Diane Steele (steelerecruiting.com) both said it's common for executives to be hired for out-of-state positions, but less likely for non-leadership positions, especially in today's job market. Despite those obstacles, let's focus on what you can do to increase your chances for consideration.
Be sure that your résumé has a local mailing address and phone number, said Jewell, even if this is not your current or primary residence. If you have local family or friends, ask if you can use their address as a temporary location. It is a known fact that recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning or reviewing any one résumé and most applicant tracking systems (where your online application goes) can screen for state and ZIP code as well as a host of other disqualifying criteria.
If you still have social/professional networks in the area, ask for their help. Often, leads are not posted on job boards, so the clearer you can be about what type of job or company interests you, the easier your networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, contacts, former co-workers) can help you.
You will need to convince any Minnesota employer that you are willing to handle all or part of your own relocation costs, if necessary. With the housing market across the country in such disarray, many employers are hesitant to absorb the risk of pursuing home owners and those that are in need of assistance to relocate. Relocation costs, time to complete the hire, flexibility of start date, and risk of employee retention all make out-of state candidates less attractive.
Get familiar with Skype; if your chance comes, your first interview may be online.
"Candidates that have the means and time to make repeat visits to the area and schedule interviews in advance ... can maximize their trips," says Jewell. "You may have to consider moving to Minnesota first."
Matt Krumrie is a Twin Cities freelance writer specializing in career advice.