Tips for a Successful Long Distance Job Relocation

Career, Marketing, HR, Resumes, Cover Letters, Transition / Career change


I’m considering relocating for work. How can I conduct a long distance job search and generate results while still employed in another market?


Focusing your job search on a new city brings the added challenge of competing with qualified local candidates, and it can be difficult to convince hiring managers to give you a shot. Many employers view out-of-state candidates as a higher risk – the job may not work out, the hiring process may take longer, and the transition time may be lengthier than what’s involved in sourcing local candidates.

Represent Your Relocation on the Resume

If you have a local address you can use – friends, family, etc. – include that on the resume. Otherwise, you can simply denote a market designation, such as “Chicago, IL” in your contact information. It’s more common in today’s digital market for a job seeker to leave off their full address. You can also denote 2 different markets to represent where you currently are, and where you’re targeting your search. For example:

Los Angeles / New York | e: | p: (347) 123–4567

Address it in the Cover Letter

Utilize the cover letter to discuss the relocation in terms of your timeline and expectations. Let hiring managers know that you are in the process of relocating, and provide a definitive timeline of when you are 1) available to interview, and 2) available to start.

Please note that I am actively in the process of relocation to the Los Angeles area. I am available immediately to interview, and within 3 weeks to start.

Leverage Your Network

A company is more likely to consider an out-of-state candidate if they come as a direct referral from a current, or even previous employee. Create a targeted list of companies that interest you, and evaluate your network to see if you have any contacts that can provide an introduction.

Understand the Market

A colleague of mine recently opened up a resume writing business in a large Canadian city – there was a great opportunity there because of a booming job market. However, the influx of jobs was limited to one specific industry.

Do your research on the market to which you plan to relocate, and assess the hiring climate – what industries are growing, and is there an opportunity there for you to break in based on your specialization? You may have to look past your dream company, and realistically go where the demand is highest.

Be Flexible in Your Relocation Plans

Most candidates do not want to commit to a move date without a solid job prospect or offer lined up. This is understandable, but being unwilling to budge on this may impact your chances of securing an opportunity. Give yourself a timeline for your long distance search, by which point if you don’t start seeing results, you would consider relocating to focus on your job locally. It’s not an option for everyone, but if it is a possibility, I encourage you to explore it.

Relocation is always a challenge for job seekers and career changers, but certainly not an impossible feat. Preparation, planning, and a solid marketing strategy can help you break out of the non-local candidate pool, and convince hiring managers that you bring real value to the table – no matter what coast you come from.


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