Job Searching Long Distance
The long distance job search may seem daunting, and understandably so. It takes a great deal of time, good organizational skills, and courage to move forward in a new location. But remember that you are not the first to do this, and that people relocate all the time and with great success! Because this is all new to you, be sure to use others’ experiences to your advantage – research the process by reading articles/books to get new ideas and advice, and talk with people who have knowledge about job searching. Here are some quick thoughts:
Are you ready to “go anywhere” or do you have a target location? Willingness to relocate without boundaries will be useful as you look at vacancies, or apply to organizations with multiple locations. However, to launch a pro-active job search it is a good idea to have some geographic targets in mind, perhaps a region, or two, or three. This way, you can look for vacancies in your field in that location (the 20%, see J2 Job Search Overview), plus network for vacancies that have not yet been announced (the 80%). You can certainly combine your willingness to go anywhere with a targeted search. For example, while you might submit applications to vacancies you found advertised for positions located in Idaho or Nebraska (perhaps where you would be willing to live, but had not hoped for), you would devote time to networking with hiring personnel only in your targeted locations of Rochester, Raleigh and Baltimore.
Become familiar with the targeted location. Read the websites for the geographic area (city, county, region); you might find these through their chamber of commerce or travel bureau. Read their newspapers but not just the “help wanted” sections; the actual articles will yield information you can use to unearth vacancies, network and more. Do research on what is happening in that area with the type of organizations you are targeting.
Find vacancy listings for jobs that have a current hiring need (the 20%). The local newspaper(s) and regional vacancy periodicals (Buffalo Job Finder or WNYJobs.com, for example) are good places to start. Do web searches, including your target location and varying search words for your career field; this will yield vacancy information on mega-sites like Indeed, Simply Hired, Craigslist, but drilled down to your targeted geographic location and career field. Check this type of info regularly, but remember it should be only 20% of your job search time. Keep records. Don’t take it personally if organizations do not reply to your application; they may receive hundreds of responses and will focus on those they want to interview. If you are extremely interested, make sure YOU are assertive in your follow up actions.
Find organizations where you would like to work, that may not necessarily have vacancies advertised at the moment (the 80%). Do web searches, find names of employers, read company websites, and determine if any organizations are a match for you. Look for current openings on the website, and if you find none then make contact anyway to inquire if vacancies are foreseen in the near future. Include a persuasive letter of introduction and a well thought out resume. Follow up assertively. To find lists of organizations, you may also wish to use chamber of commerce sites, business periodicals (The Charlotte Business Journal for example) or membership lists for professional associations in your field. The business journals may publish a “Top 25 Book of Lists” which is helpful in becoming familiar with the landscape and for finding organizations to target. See examples in the CDO resource area.
Can you move before landing that professional position? Do you have savings? Can you work at an interim job? Do you have someone to stay with for a short time? Are you a risk-taker? If so, then consider relocating to the region where you plan to live. You will be more able to facilitate networking and informational interviewing, and can join relevant professional and social organizations. You can also make yourself available to volunteer/intern or work part-time or temporarily in a relevant position while continuing to seek that full-time professional position./p>
Plan a trip (or trips) ahead of time, perhaps during spring break, for networking purposes. Arrange, in advance, informational interviews or appointments with human resource representatives or others who have the authority to hire you, or with those who might refer you to those who can do so. Get a map. Use your time while there to canvass the area for places to live, neighborhoods that suit your leisure time interests, transportation routes (why travel mornings and evenings in traffic jams if you can live in the opposite direction of the majority of commuters?), and to talk with “the locals” for advice.
Here is a thought for your correspondence: “I will be in the Denver area during my mid-semester break, March 10-14, and I am hoping we might meet during that week to discuss what opportunities might be available at your organization following my graduation and relocation in May. At this point, I am open to part-time, temporary, or full-time professional positions; if none are available, I would discuss the possibility of a short-term internship or volunteer work while I am job searching. I will call your office to ask if you, or a representative of your office, might be available to meet with me briefly. Thank you so much for your time.”
Other things to consider: