Employers have plenty of talented candidates to choose from for job openings these days, and most of those potential employees are local. Getting your foot in the door (or even a toe) when you are looking for a job long-distance is extremely difficult. After all, why risk you potentially changing your mind and moving back to your home state when they have a pool of qualified candidates local or even in-house?
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible – especially if you take a few steps now to make yourself stand out from the crowd:
Step one: Revamp your resume. Keep it simple but make sure your skills stand out. Find a way to make your resume unique, but don’t overdo it – employers still prefer simple and easy to read over a flamboyant color or font or a too-long resume (but don’t think you have to keep it to one page).
Step two: Take your address off your resume. Seeing an out-of-state address at the top of your resume could get it tossed out before your talents and skills are even noticed. If you have close friends or family living in the area, use their address – especially if you’ll be staying with them during your visits.
Step three: Write a cover letter detailing exactly why you want to move to that city. Potential employers will feel better about contacting you if they know you are serious about relocating and not just out “fishing.” Be specific about when and why you intend to move, but don’t focus on it too long – state your intentions and get back to your qualifications and skills.
Step four: Start networking. Contact your colleagues, friends, neighbors, and former coworkers and let them know where you are planning to move and ask if they happen to know anyone in that area. You can also use social media to connect with the companies and businesses you’re interested in. The leads you get through networking are often the best way to get a job.
Step five: Send out those resumes! If there is a company that you’d like to work for but they don’t have any job openings listed, go ahead and send your resume anyway – often there are jobs available but they aren’t posted, so contacting the company could potentially open some doors you hadn’t expected. Call the companies to follow up – your goal is to set up as many interviews as possible, so be persistent (but not pushy).
Step six: Plan your trip. You’ll want to visit the area at least once. Be sure to get as many interviews as possible lined up during your stay. While there, call some of the companies you’ve sent resumes to – even if you haven’t heard from them. Explain that you are in town and would like the opportunity to interview. If the position you applied for is filled or no longer available, ask about future potential opportunities and inquire about submitting your resume.