Your spouse or partner is being transferred to another office out of state. You moved away after college and now want to be closer to your family again. Or perhaps you simply have the urge to escape your current city and establish yourself in a new one. Whatever the reason, you've made the decision to relocate, and now you have to figure out your next steps.
Entrepreneurs and professionals who are able to work remotely may not have to worry about their employment situation, but if a new city means finding a new job for you, you might face a few more hurdles than the average in-state job seeker.
"Employers sometimes get nervous when someone from out of town applies for their open position, because they don't know if you'll expect relocation dollars," career strategist Jenny Foss wrote in an article on The Muse. "They also worry that you may just be wallpapering the Earth with a variation of this same cover letter."
If you want to set employers at ease and make them feel confident about considering an out-of-state candidate, here are a few tips to help you stand out and land a job. [How to Ace an Out-of-State Job Interview]
Research the area. Have your heart set on a certain area of the country? You might want to check out which cities have the best opportunities for your field. For example, research by financial resource provider SmartAsset found that three of the top four U.S. cities for career opportunities were located in Utah, while no California metro areas even cracked the top 25.
"If you like your industry and want to stay in it, you should identify the areas where your industry is most prominent," said Drew Fortin, vice president of marketing at business consulting firm PI Worldwide. "Then, look at the market and see if it offers positions that work for you there. Otherwise, you could be setting unreasonable expectations and getting discouraged."
In an article on Quintessential Careers, authors Katharine and Randall Hansen advised learning as much as you can about the city to which you wish to relocate, if for no other reason than to make sure that's where you really want to be.
"Make sure you'll be able to afford the cost of living in that city," the Hansens wrote. "Decide whether you'll be content with the city's climate and cultural offerings."
William Vanderbloemen, CEO of staffing firm Vanderbloemen Search Group, noted that moving to a vastly different region of the country requires special consideration as well, as job seekers may not be prepared for the culture shock.
"Every region of the United States has a unique culture and way of relating to one another, and certain regional cultures don't play well with others," Vanderbloemen said. "A candidate from the deep south would probably find themselves miserable at a position in Boston ... and this applies vice-versa. The old saying is true: A southerner can go anywhere, but not anyone can go to the south. People communicate differently in different parts of the country."
Tap into your network. Your network is more powerful than you might think, and you should use it to your advantage. Even if you don't directly know anyone in your potential new location, you likely know someone who does.
Nicholas Porter, an account supervisor at Blanc and Otus public relations firm who recently relocated from the East Coast to the West Coast, said he made a list of professional contacts he knew with connections in the cities he was considering moving to. From there, he reached out and asked each of them if they would assist him in his job search.
"Typically, all that I asked of these folks was for an email introduction to a contact they had at a company I was targeting," Porter told Business News Daily. "I always offered to write the email for them, as I recognized they were likely too busy to pen it themselves. This approach opened my options exponentially."
Once you officially decide on a location, it's a good idea to start making connections in your new area as soon as possible, to discover the environment and job market, said AJ Smith, Smart Asset's managing editor and vice president of content.
"Researching and learning as much as you can about some of the local businesses can give you a leg up when it comes to finding your next position," Smith said.
Be honest about your relocation plans. Even if you leave your current address off of your application, any out-of-state employer that's interested in your résumé will look you up on LinkedIn and realize that you're not from the area. If your move isn't finalized yet, there's no sense in calling attention to it, especially in case something falls through. Instead, Fortin advised playing up your background and experience to get a hiring manager's attention.
"Get them interested in you," Fortin said. "Remember, you're trying to catch their eye with your skills, not with your proximity to the office. Your cover letter should focus on the job and how you're going to excel at it."
If you were able to hook the employer based on your qualifications, you will inevitably be asked whether you're willing to move for the job. A great standard response is, "I'm willing to relocate for the right opportunity," Fortin said.
However, if your move is already pending, it might be wise to make your intentions clear up front, Foss wrote. For instance, you could start your cover letter with a line such as, "As my family prepares for our cross-country move to Boston..." she said.
Make a plan, and stick to it. Just as you will be devoting time and energy to finding a place to live in your new city, you'll need to take a proactive approach to finding your dream job there. Foss advised building a strategic plan to target three to five companies you really want to work for. Put yourself out there, reach out to people within the company and let them know you want to be a part of the organization.
"Big moves are the perfect times for big courage," Foss wrote. "Don't just sit back and wait for the job to pop up."