How to Handle Relocation While Searching for a Job Out of State

by Sharon Elber

Job Relocation

Applying for jobs in a different geographical location from where you currently live adds another hurdle to an already stressful process. While it may lower the odds that your resume and cover letter make it to the top of the pile, all hope is not lost.

This article will cover the types of jobs most likely to hire out of state, as well as tips for how to write a resume and cover letter that will get noticed even if you are looking for a job in another city or town. In addition, we will cover some networking tips so that you can make the most of modern tools to prepare the ground prior to applying for jobs in other locations.

What Kinds of Jobs Hire Out of State?

Some employers are simply not going to consider out of state applicants for certain kinds of positions. This is especially true of entry level work up through middle management positions. However, there are certainly exceptions to that rule. For example, if a certain skillset is in high demand or there is low supply in that geographical region.

Take for instance entry level nursing jobs in areas where there are no local colleges training for these positions. Another situation where entry level employees may be recruited from out of state are when geographical clusters of large employers in the same sector create conditions that are ripe for hiring entry level workers for work, such as the oil and gas industry, agricultural hot spots, or large infrastructure projects.

On the other hand, upper level positions or those in highly technical fields often consider candidates who might have to relocate from other parts of the country. The reason is that both highly seasoned and highly trained employees can be hard to replace from the local pool of applicants. In such cases, the employer is probably expecting to hire from out of the area and may even be prepared to offer relocation assistance for the right candidate as part of the hiring package.

Risk: The Number One Reason Out of State Applicants Are Rejected

Before you start applying to jobs in another location, it is important to have a clear understanding of why many employers may be hesitant to consider out of state job applicants. The main reason is the risk that they will waste their time and resources getting to know you, only to have you flake out after a hiring decision has been made.

In addition, some applicants do send resumes all over the country, trying to play the numbers game, making the situation worse for those who are serious applicants. Once an employer has been burned a few times by these types of applicants, they may be suspicious of any relocation hires.

The second issue for some employers has to do with the costs of relocating new employees. As noted above, for higher level positions, this cost may already be factored into their job search budget. However, for lower level positions, you may need to make it clear that you plan to relocate anyway so they understand they will not be on the hook for your moving expenses.

The cover letter is the place to assuage employer concerns about your riskiness as a candidate. Let’s turn to that next.

The Cover Letter: Make Your Reasons Clear

There are several different reasons that may motivate job seekers to look out of state for their next job. In some cases, a relocation is already in the works and the candidate wants to try to have a job lined up. In other cases, it is working for your dream employer that draws you to the new geographical location. Sometimes, getting closer to family or following your spouse to her new dream job may be the cause of your desire to move to a new city.

The cover letter is the place to make it clear to a potential employer why you would like to relocate. Any of the above reasons can be compelling as long as they are honest and framed in a way that show you will be invested in staying in the community you will be moving to. You do not need to belabor the point, but be clear, concise, and persuasive. Here is an example of what this might look like:

I moved to Virginia in 2003 to pursue my master’s degree in Urban Design at Virginia Tech. After graduating, I soon found my first job as a junior architect at ABC Industries in Norfolk where I coordinated with senior architects, contractors, regulators, and city planners to draft plans for several large urban renewal projects. However, as fulfilling as the work has been, I am eager to return to Philadelphia so that I can pursue my lifelong passion in urban design in the city that I call home while enjoying the benefits of living closer to my family.

Contact Information on Your Resume

Since it is usually recommended to include a physical address on your resume, this is going to be a dead give away that you are not local to the jobs you are applying for. It is advisable to be honest about your current location even though it may well hurt your prospects for landing an interview. Chances are it will come out at some point during the hiring process, leading to a very awkward situation if you have lied on your application materials.

However, you can choose to include an additional line near your current address that lets the employer know you plan to relocate to their location and when, potentially setting their mind at ease that you are a serious candidate. This small hint on the resume will also lead most recruiters to look to your cover letter for a more detailed explanation of your upcoming move.

Here is an example of how that might look in the contact information section of your resume:

Joe Smith
[email protected]
123 Ventura Highway, Pasadena, CA 12345
Planning to relocate to Cincinnati, OH: March 2019

Target Your Networking

These days, you don’t have to live in a city to start reaching out and making contacts among the people working in your industry who are active in that area. Using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, you can start to get a bead on employment opportunities well in advance of your move.

If you are planning well in advance, you may be able to identify a contact you know from college or past work experiences that may even be willing to provide you with a referral or recommendation. This can be an extremely valuable “in” that can go a long way to assuaging potential employer’s perceptions of your riskiness as a candidate.

Take advantage of the groups devoted to your employment sector. This is another way to establish a new connection with folks who are active in areas where you are considering relocating. In addition, it will keep you on top of trends in your industry which will help you showcase that you are on the ball during a job interview.

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