You’re hoping to relocate to a new state and find a new job before you arrive. But how can you convince recruiters and hiring managers to take a chance on someone who is not local? In this blog post we’ll share strategies for increasing your chances of landing an out of state job.
Starting the out of state job search – what you need to know
Landing a job is difficult enough in your hometown. But what happens when you decide it’s time to leave your state to find new work? Doesn’t this make the job search even more difficult? How do you go about starting the search? And once you’ve found your dream job, how do you convince employers that you’re willing to move? There are many considerations to make when considering an out of state career move. The best approach for starting this job search, is to keep things simple and tackle one piece at a time. Even if you have a ton of questions, clear the mental slate and start from the beginning. Mental job search strain is the number one barrier to most peoples’ job searches. Therefore get focused on a few key pieces for improving your job-landing odds. By the way following these tips is a great place to start!
Out of state searching for entry and mid-level candidates
Your out of state job search strategy is impacted by your career level. If you are an entry level or mid-career professional, you can plan on paying for your relocation out of pocket. It is highly unlikely that a company will pay for your relocation. There may be exceptions if you graduated top of your class from an ivy league university or are entering some super exclusive leadership development program at a high-profile employer. However for the vast majority of junior talent, relocation is simply not an option. The reason for this is that companies can usually find a plethora of talent to fill the lower-level roles in an organization. It’s the higher level and higher paying roles where they opt to foot the bill. So that said, plan on paying for relocation in full if you plan to make the move.
This also becomes an important conversation piece when you start to engage with recruiters or hiring managers. Once they learn you are out of state, they will ask if you are planning to relocate. If this is where the conversation heads, you are best off to answer “yes.” If you start to make relocation requests, you may never hear from them again.
Out of state searching for executives
Executives searching for out of state opportunities have a much greater chance of receiving relocation as part of the compensation package. This is something you can discuss in the salary negotiation process. The reason executives receive greater privilege is simply because they are earning significantly more than junior talent. They are bigger investment because they will directly impact the company’s bottom line by their skills and abilities. Therefore, relocation is something that is more common at this level. If you’re looking to beef up your executive brand or tackle ageism in your job search you will find this career website helpful.
Tips for handling the out of state job search
Once you’ve identified your job search level, then it’s time to devise your out of state job search strategy. There are several considerations to make and actions to take to ensure you can land a job before your big move.
1. Start your job search now
The job search takes a lot of time. This is especially the case if you’re not close to your target job market. Go ahead and start searching in your target market now. The worst case scenario is that you invest in a big move across country, and end up without a job. This could then lead to another relocation. Therefore you need to be sure there are jobs that are a fit for you before you make your move. Search the top national job boards by target location. When you find jobs that are a fit, start to apply. (But read the other tips below before applying so you get your relocation resume correct). Do not wait to apply until you move. The best case scenario is that you land the job. If the employer likes you enough to hire you, he or she will also like you enough to wait two week for you to make your move.
2. Tweak your resume header so it’s relocation friendly
After you’ve identified some jobs in your target market (and before you apply), you need to make some resume tweaks. The goal is to appear to be local. The easiest way to do this is by removing your physical mailing address from your resume. Also mailing addresses are no longer considered current in terms of resume trends. If recruiters see an out of state address on your resume they might automatically rule you out because they don’t want to have the job relocation conversation. If there’s one thing you need to know about recruiters it’s this: they don’t have a lot of time to spend on the phone with you because they are too busy trying to find the perfect fit. And if you are entry to mid-level you are likely not going to be relocated by the company. So when a recruiter sees an out of state mailing address on your resume header, your resume is likely going to end up in the trash. To make it easy on recruiters and to create the opportunity to open the door for a phone interview, avoid listing your out of state mailing address on your resume.
3. Keep your address on the resume in this situation only
While removing the mailing address is usually recommended for the out of state job search, there is one exception to the rule. If you know exactly where you’re moving, and have plans to move with or without a job, then you DO want to list your target location. So if you are moving from Milwaukee to Miami, Miami is the location to include in the resume header.
4. How to write your target location on your resume
If the above situation applies to you, there is a simple way to include your target location on the resume. Add the city and state of where you will be relocating. Using the above example, you would include “Miami, FL” next to your phone number, email, and LinkedIn vanity url. This way, when the recruiter sees you are “in the area” and available for opportunities his or her mind will be put at ease regarding the relocation conversation.
5. When your target location conflicts with your most recent job location…
It will likely be the case that your new target location in the resume header, will be much different than the location of your current job. After all, you haven’t relocated yet so you are still working in Milwaukee and not Miami! So what will HR think when they see the conflicting information? Won’t they realize that you are not local? If you’ve thought through this point, congrats – you are thinking with the right mindset! To put you at ease, I’ll share my recruiter perspective based on my recruiting experience. When HR sees two conflicting location, they will usually go with the header location as being the most recent. After all, it’s quite possible you’ve left your current job and relocated – they can’t know for sure. So the header address is the one that counts the most. So don’t worry too much if your locations are conflicting.
6. Update your LinkedIn profile location to keep your location branding consistent
Whether you are including your target address or not, you will want your LinkedIn location to reflect your target location. Many recruiters search online and will find you on LinkedIn before seeing your resume. Or if your resume is seen first, recruiters might also review your profile on LinkedIn. It is very important that your LinkedIn profile be up to date. It’s also important that your LinkedIn headline be targeted to your next job. Therefore you will want your location to reflect your target as well. If you need some pointers on how to write a strong LinkedIn headline you’ll want to check out this job post.
7. Own your relocation communications with confidence
If you’ve positioned your resume and LinkedIn profile correctly, then you should start to see more traction with landing phone interviews. Phone interviews are the first step towards landing a job so you can’t afford to get them wrong. When you finally do get the recruiter on the phone, know that they’ve read your resume and believe that you could potentially be an in-state candidate. However, when the question comes up, you need to confirm your plans with confidence. Explain to the recruiter that you are planning to relocate and are just awaiting the job offer before making your move. This way, the recruiter knows that they won’t need to have the awkward relocation conversation. Instead, you can have a meaningful conversation about you and your job fit. Removing recruiter barriers is a great way to make it easy on these critical gatekeepers and keep you in the running for the role in question.
8. What about job search engines like Indeed
If you are using online job boards for your search, it’s possible that you may be forced to use your old address. If the online job board is sabotaging your out of state resume strategy, spend a few minutes looking for a workaround. For example with Indeed – you are allowed to add or remove your city/state in the resume builder. Try removing your information and see if that does the trick.
9. The best out of state job landing strategy
Job boards will only get you so far in the job search. The real results will start to come when you start connecting with contacts in your target location. Of course I’m talking about networking. Just because you’re out of state, doesn’t mean you can’t supercharge your networking strategy. Networking is the number one way to land jobs quicker than online job boards. So why wait to move in order to set up your network? LinkedIn makes it incredibly easy to find high-value networking contacts and connect. After you connect, set up a zoom or phone conversation. There’s nothing like an informational interview to establish a connection and then recruit the help of another in your job search. When your new contact finds out you are relocating, they will likely offer to help you out once you arrive as well. Talk about establishing yourself in advance! If the thought of networking gives you anxiety, you’ll want to check out this blog post I created to put you at ease!
If you’re hoping to improve your out of state job search and land a job in record time, check out the Job Search Accelerator. In this budget-friendly job landing community you’ll have access to all of Noelle’s expert resources including a FREE resume review, optimized resume and cover letter templates, networking scripts and templates, LinkedIn optimization courses, interview answer scripts and more – everything you need to feel confident, navigate the job search successfully, and put your best foot forward as an applicant.