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How to Search for an Out-of-State Job

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer

You’re in a rut and just need a change. You’re moving to be closer to family. Your significant other just received a job offer he or she can’t refuse. Whatever the reason, making the decision to relocate can be both exciting and stressful, especially when it comes to finding a new job.

If you approach your search the right way, however, you can successfully pursue a new career in a new location. Here are some tips to search for an out-of-state job.

Network locally
One of the best ways to get the pulse on the city you’re relocating to, as well as find potential job leads, is to network with those living there. “Join organisations in your targeted area – MeetUp is a good start – and network, network, network,” says Neely Raffellini, founder of 9 to 5 Project. “Send emails to literally every person you know. Mention that you are moving and [ask them if] they know anyone there. Ask for introductions, but be specific in your ask.”

Conduct careful research
Valerie Streif, senior advisor at The Mentat, says it’s crucial that job seekers spend time learning and gathering information about prospective employers before making the life-changing decision to take an out-of-state job.

“There would be nothing worse than to go through all the emotional and physical effort that it takes to move, only to hate your job after the first few weeks because you didn’t fully understand the position before agreeing to it,” Streif says. “Doing research will also help you for the job interviews before you secure a position, so it’s a win-win for any job seeker. It’s also key that part of this research is done in the form of questions during the interview – don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager or whoever is hiring you for specific details regarding the position – expectations, benefits, etc. – just so you are completely sure that it is something you want.”

Consider relocation expenses
Before going down this path, consider if you’re willing to pay for relocation expenses, or if you want to find an employer who will cover some of those costs for you.

“If it’s the first, where the candidate is looking to move and willing to pay for it, I would encourage the candidate to put right at the top of their resume in their professional summary/objective something like:

‘Looking to relocate to San Francisco at own expense to be closer to family. Can move within two weeks of job offer,'” says Christy Hopkins, an HR consultant and writer at Fit Small Business. “If they want a company to pay for relocation, this is much harder find these days – unless you are in technology or a developer. I would advise letting the employer know at the end of the first phone interview that you are looking to relocate, and is any relocation reimbursable or is there a potential for a hiring bonus?”

Hopkins also suggests reading job descriptions carefully, because “postings and descriptions usually include if they are willing to relocate or not.”

Use your cover letter wisely
“During a long-distance job search, a persuasive cover letter can be a great tool to explain your situation and show that you’re committed to moving,” says Andrew Pearl, certified resume writer and interview coach at Precision Resumes, Inc. “But don’t solely focus on the fact that you want to move; focus on the fact that you want to move because of the specific job you’re applying to and that you’re thinking long term. Many employers worry that long-distance candidates might see a job offer as a brief stopgap to make the leap to a new state, where you’ll leave them high and dry in a few months.”


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