6 Ways to Hack an Out-of-Town Job Search
Many job seekers approach me looking to relocate for both personal and geographical reasons. I always hear the same frustration from all generations – most submit several applications and receive little-to-no responses. I have helped thousands of people successfully relocate their careers with these insider tips on how to effectively communicate with out-of-town employers. By gaining a better understanding of how the employer views candidates who want to relocate, your information will make it into the hands of a living, breathing recruiter versus the dreaded no-thank-you pile.
1. Plan your escape
If you’re not a local, many employers automatically assume you’re either A) a flight risk or B) someone who applies to every job out there without a real strategy. The more you can do in advance to alleviate their fears, the more success you’ll have. If the reason you’re moving is because you traveled there once and enjoyed the nightlife, that’s just not going to cut it.
Remember, a new hire costs an organization A LOT of money, which means you’ll need to prove that you have a real career plan in order to be taken seriously. You will also need facts to back up that plan. Be prepared to state your professional goals in your resume. Try something like, “Social Media Specialist looking to relocate to Austin Texas in order to hone education and skills within an innovative organization.” This statement immediately makes your intentions known to a hiring manager and, therefore, they’ll be more likely to consider you.
2. Take a trip
Assess your financial situation, unused vacation days and personal time off. Ideally, if you could book a live interview with your dream organization in your dream location, you can use that travel time to schedule interviews with other organizations in order to take full advantage of your stay.
Yes, you may need to use up some of your precious vacation time to scope out the employment scene, take long weekends to attend interviews, or even consider dipping into your savings to move before you have the job. But it’ll be worth it when you secure the gig you’ve always wanted.
3. Research your options
Before you make the risk of moving to another area, be sure that you’ve done your research to ensure that there are plenty of available opportunities in your field. Sometimes people make the grave mistake of moving only to find that there are no job prospects available for advertising in the middle of Iowa.
Do a keyword search on indeed and monitor the job counts. Higher numbers mean better job opportunities. Lower numbers mean you should consider picking somewhere else. Once you’ve confirmed that the move is a “go,” connect with the companies you’re interested in and get in touch with local recruiting firms that can act as a resource to you during your search. Job fairs can also we be a great way to bypass the resume black hole and make a strong face-to-face impression.
4. Confirm your commitment
In our office, we’re fond of the saying, “fake it until you make it.” If you can manage to slap a local address onto your resume (and a couch when necessary), whether it’s a relative’s or a friend’s, you demonstrate that you’re sincere about making the move. Because employers are fearful of making the wrong hiring decision, which often costs them tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, they’ve adopted a “guilty until proven innocent” mindset when it comes to long-distance candidates.
This point bears repeating: consistently reminding them that you’re relocating, whether it’s for this job or for another, across all mediums, the more at ease you put hiring managers. If you don’t have a local address you can steal, be sure that your resume (objective), cover letter, email signature and LinkedIn profile clearly states your dedication to relocate to another region. Don’t just assume that because it’s in one place, employers will see it – be sure your message is consistent everywhere.
5. Become tech savvy
If you’re not local, you’re immediately put at a disadvantage, which means, you need to use every resource available to you in order to stay competitive. No matter how you feel about social media or video chatting, it’s time to get over your fear and get with the changing times.
Many employers will opt for a video conference as a means of conducting a first round interview. Sign up for Skype – it’s a great communication tool that’s user-friendly on both PCs and Macs, and did I mention it’s free? Heck, you could even arrange a video interview on your smartphone, which requires a whole new set of skills.
The bottom line is you have to be prepared for all different types of interviewing scenarios. And as an out-of-town candidate, you can’t afford to not be on LinkedIn. Employers will be scrutinizing you more heavily than the locals, which means you need to have a strong online brand that showcases all your latest accomplishments.
I’m not just referring to an updated, robust profile; you also need to remain active by building your network and following trends in your field. Make sure you’re also using twitter (twesume) and Facebook to engage with a company you’re interested in. And don’t forget to look for any alumni in the area – that can be a major door opener.
6. Consider taking the plunge
The reason relocation can be so tough is because many employers prefer to hire locally rather than chance their investment on an out-of-towner. And their concerns are valid – most employers, at one time or another, have taken on new hires who decide they feel homesick, don’t like the area, or are unsatisfied with the position. Like in relationships, in the employment world, sometimes it’s not you – it’s the guy who broke her heart that came before you.
Bottom line, your chances of getting hired are much stronger if you become a local. Also, keep in mind that if you take on the burden of your relocation costs, in many cases, it becomes grounds for salary negotiation when you do get your big break. When you get that interview stick to the plan. Be prepared to align your skills and experiences to the pains and problems of that specific employer.
Featured photo credit: craig Cloutier via imcreator.com
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