A long-distance job search can be miles more difficult than a local job search. Your online application may not even reach a human being if the employer specified only local candidates. You’ll network in an unfamiliar market, and that requires more research.
Even in the face of these obstacles, there are good reasons to conduct a long-distance job search: moving closer to family, taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity, or following a lifelong dream.
These candidates crushed their long-distance job searches and graciously agreed to share their stories and tips with you.
One application, one offer, one job
“Derek,” a college administrator, landed his dream job with his first application.
A friend with whom he had confided about relocating to his home state called him about a position at the university where she worked. Derek credits this personal referral as the most important element of the process.
He had three interviews and about a month later, he had the job, which he still holds.
“It has been an excellent fit,” he said.
Five moves and still freelancing
Photographer and videographer “Kerry” has had a radically different experience with his long-distance job search. “I still have not found my dream job and am struggling at freelancing. I have also moved five times since graduating college four years ago.”
Kerry started his long-distance job search living half a continent away from his target job. After several months, he moved to his target city. “I found it much easier to find work after I moved. Companies did not really want the hassle of dealing with me out of state as there are so many other candidates who were already there,” he said.
Kerry knows his career documents are working well because he is hired for temporary assignments regularly. He realizes he must network more to find a permanent position. “It is hard because I do not have many connections, and I know that is the real way to get the job I want,” he said.
The good news? He has had two interviews with Disney so far.
“Jonah,” a public administrator, also received a job offer on his first application.
“I worked to identify interesting opportunities in communities that could be great places to live.”
Then, he did his homework.
“I read local newspapers and reached out via LinkedIn to professional contacts to get to know the local situation,” he said.
Jonah’s first long-distance application turned into a new job in a community he and his family came to love. Unfortunately, he didn’t love the job as much and has since landed a new position in the region. He turned even that setback into a learning experience.
“One thing I would have done differently from a distance is to request an in-person interview. There is no substitute for talking face-to-face to get a feel for how well you will fit in,” he said.
Jonah advises traveling to your long-distance destination even before you land that first interview. Talk to a realtor, Chamber of Commerce executive, and professionals in your own industry to find out as much as you can about your target employer and community.
Jonah also offered tips to make your long-distance job search easier:
- Use online job boards to identify employers and open positions in places you would like to live in your target region.
- Read online newspapers to get a feeling for local attitudes: Do people want to improve their community? Or just argue and complain?
- Rely on professional connections and LinkedIn messaging to inquire about organizations posting open positions: How is the local economy? What projects are being developed? Why are the positions vacant?
- Invest in attending a regional professional conference to follow up on email/phone contacts. There’s no substitute for facetime when you’re looking to break into a distant market.