How to Land a Job in a New City Like a Pro
You know you want to move, but what are you going to do when you get there?
Relocation budget? Check.
Cool place to live? Check.
Looks like you’re almost ready to move, except for one major issue: You need a job.
Landing employment anywhere comes with challenges, but it can be especially stressful to navigate job searching in a relatively unknown city. Your goal should be to rapidly snag interviews without driving yourself to distraction or eating up all your funds.
Sound like an impossible dream? It’s not when you apply some tried-and-true methods to your search tactics. Here's how to land a job in a new city.
1. Remove your address from your resumé or CV.
Employers in Dallas who see you’re from Seattle may send you to the bottom of the pile -- if you get to the pile at all.
They assume you’re fishing but aren’t serious about moving. Plus, companies worry they’ll make an offer and you’ll counter by asking for money to relocate.
Getting rid of your current address levels the playing field by removing a potential barrier. Have a friend or relative in your new city? Use his or her address instead.
2. Change your LinkedIn profile.
Will your LinkedIn profile be friend or foe during your job search? Make it an asset by moving your current location to your desired location.
This echoes what you’ve already done to your resumé and will reduce the chances of sending red flags to prospective employers.
3. Be up front about dates you can interview.
Have no choice but to admit you’re an out-of-towner? In your cover letter, be specific about the dates you can interview.
This shows the company that you’re not just winging it, and it’s a measure of courtesy that should create a positive first impression.
4. Know before you go.
Use all the tools at your disposal to get to know your intended city in depth. Why? During interviews -- especially ones carried out on Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime -- you’ll be able to more fully participate and ask relevant, city-specific questions. Do your research.
5. Work with a local recruiter.
Having little success on your own? See whether you can partner with a recruiter who works in the city where you want employment. Local recruiters have more connections than you do and can vouch for your intention to relocate.
They can also build bridges between you and the organizations that best fit your skill set, educational background, and raw talent.
6. Discuss your relocation in your cover letter.
Be transparent in your cover letter, especially if you have moving dates set in stone. Human resources personnel won’t have to wonder whether you’re really relocating; they’ll take you at your word if you include specific dates rather than a general mention of your move.
7. Practice your answer to “Why do you want to move?”
Sometimes, answers to this question are easy: “My spouse got transferred” or “I want to be closer to family.” Other times, responses are a little tougher to frame: “I need a change of pace and scenery.”
Whatever your reason for relocating, take the time to practice your response because you’ll be giving it repeatedly to interviewers. Highlight positives and bury any negatives; don’t mention that you had a bad breakup or that you had to shutter your entrepreneurial dream. Your interviewer wants to hear how you can benefit his or her company.
8. Start building social connections in your intended city.
Take a step in the right direction by building your social network online before you unpack a single box. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter make it incredibly simple to generate conversations and relationships virtually. All you have to do is go to your favorite social network and start searching for groups that are relevant to your industry.
These may lead to information about job openings before the openings are publicly announced. If nothing else, they help you root yourself in the soil of your next hometown.
9. Set aside money for interviews.
While it would be nice if companies paid travel expenses for interviews, it’s highly unlikely unless you are seriously wooed. Without an appropriate amount of money set aside, you’ll quickly blow through your savings and leave yourself in a difficult situation.
10. Prepare to take temporary employment.
Your move date is at hand, and you haven’t found a full-time job. What do you do?
Unless the employer where you currently work is open to discussing telecommuting, you may want to take a seasonal temporary position. A great place to start can be freelancing sites like upwork.com or guru.com.
Think of it as a tiny stepping stone that will assist you as you integrate into a different area of the country. If anything, it makes you more competitive for the job you want while still providing you additional income.
11. Consider the fastest-growing occupations in your intended state.
Are you open to the idea of learning additional skill sets to make yourself more marketable? Avail yourself of statewide statistics related to occupational growth.
For instance, if you’re moving to a state where electricians are in high demand and you’re intrigued by this field, you might want to hook up with an apprenticeship program.
12. Go on job interviews you might decline if you lived in the city.
Sometimes, you’ll get an invite to interview at a company that doesn’t excite you. Go anyway. It will force you out of your comfort zone, get you more contacts in your new city and help you practice your interviewing skills. Besides, you might come out of the interview with a different perspective on the organization.
Everything starts with a first, sometimes big, step. If you don’t start sending out cover letters, resumés and cold emails, you’ll never get to your intended destination. Your job awaits; you just need to find it.
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