Finding a job out of town can be a big challenge; meet that challenge with some strategies that have worked for others.
Challenging, yes. Impossible, no.
You can make a long-distance job search work. All it takes is some planning and creative effort.
Here are four ways that others have found work in far-off places. What can you learn from their stories?
1) Borrow a local address
If your resume and cover letters show an out-of-state address, it can count against you -- many employers will look only at local candidates because they don’t want to deal with relocation costs and related factors.
That’s what Jeff Esposito found.
“I began my search by quitting my job in New York and moving back with my parents in New Jersey, to find a position closer to my girlfriend in Boston,” he says.
After a fruitless month applying for out-of-state jobs, Esposito changed course by changing his address. “I replaced the NJ address on my resume with my girlfriend’s in Boston. This increased the number of calls that I received.”
Questions: Who do you know in or near where you want to work? Could you live with them temporarily should you need to relocate? If so, consider using their address on your resume and cover letters. Keep your existing cell phone number, however, unless you trust others to answer phone calls professionally for you.
2) Take a trip to your destination city
Most 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.
This worked for Taryn Mickus.
“I was living in Washington, DC a few years ago and searching for jobs in New York City,” she says. “I called all of the companies I wanted to interview with and told them I would be in town for only two days and would really like to meet with someone.”
Giving employers a small window of opportunity can nudge them into action because they won’t want to miss out on talking to you. And it gives them another reason to pull your resume out of the pile and examine your qualifications anew.
After setting a date to be in town and asking to meet employers, Mickus got enough interviews to land three job offers in six weeks … and was hired by a NYC public relations firm.
Questions: If you want to work in another city, plan a trip there to meet potential employers. 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.
3) Look smart and avoid the competition
Hunting for jobs is like hunting for deer or ducks: The less competition you have for quarry, the better your odds of bagging one.
That’s how Katie B. was hired for a job in San Francisco after graduating from college and still living in New York state.
While other candidates searched for jobs on the usual web sites, Katie found hers advertised in PR Week magazine, an industry trade journal. She had less competition for the job opening this way and “My employer was impressed that a college student was reading that magazine” she says.
After her initial phone interview, Katie sent the hiring manager a thank-you email expressing strong interest in the position. “I offered to come out to San Francisco for a second interview, but they paid for my travel,” she says.
Katie was hired shortly thereafter.
Questions: Do you know all the trade journals and magazines for your profession? Have you searched their print and online editions for job postings? If not, you may be missing out on a happy hunting ground with less competition for jobs -- even those out of state.
4) Find local allies
A final way to find jobs long-distance is to make personal connections where you want to work.
“I don’t care how much technology there is, one thing hasn’t changed: People still do the hiring,” advises author and career consultant, Andrea Kay. So you need to meet people -- the more influential and well-connected, the better -- in your destination city.
That’s what ultimately helped Jeff Esposito get hired.
“I was approached by a recruiter near Boston who understood my situation and who made the initial interviews over the phone. After the second call, they asked me in for an in-person interview, which eventually led to the management job I now have,” he says.
Questions: Who do you know in your target city? Who should you know? How can you bridge the gap between those two lists? Ask the people in your network, as well as on web sites like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook, to get introductions.
Now go out and make your own luck!