why long-distance job searching sucks and what you can do about it

by Ask a Manager on August 26, 2010

A reader writes:

I am looking for a position in another city. I am applying for positions that I am well qualified for and would easily be asked for an interview if I was local. However it seems I keep getting turned away because I am out of state. I have stated in my cover letter that of course I will pay for all relocation costs but this does not seem like it is enough. Why I am not given a chance at these positions? It is quite frustrating. Any advice?

You’ve got to keep in mind that even local job-searching is really hard right now. In fact, I’m not so sure that you can assume that these are positions you “would easily be asked” to interview for if you were local — not because I know anything about your qualifications, but because no one is having an easy time getting interviews right now, local or not.

But yes, the bar can be higher if you’re not local — although it really depends on the position. For entry-level jobs, a lot of employers will focus only on local candidates because there’s no shortage of good ones, but for higher-level positions, most companies will consider non-locals. (And the higher level you go, the more that’s assumed.) Are there some that won’t? Of course, just like you can find some companies using other bad hiring practices too, but that doesn’t mean they’re the majority.

(That said, if I were choosing between two great candidates who were equally qualified in every way and I needed a deal-breaker, I’d go with the local person over the long-distance person — because (a) they can generally start sooner and (b) if it ended up not working out, I’d feel a lot less guilty firing someone who didn’t move for the job. But it’s rare that two people are really so equally qualified.)

In any case, there are a few things non-local job-seekers can do that will help:

* State in your cover letter that you are planning to move to to the area soon (and possibly explain why, if your reasons are ones you’re willing to share, as that can make employers more comfortable moving forward with an out-of-state applicant). For instance, you might say, “I am in the process of planning a relocation to California to join my partner” or whatever your reason is. State explicitly that you don’t need relocation assistance.

* On your resume, list your contact info like this:

Joe Smith
Relocating in October to Seattle
jsmith@email.com

But overall, keep in mind that the job market really sucks right now. Being long-distance does make it harder, but you’ve also got to factor in that a lot of good people aren’t getting interviews right at home either.

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{ 56 comments }

Travis August 27, 2010 at 12:23 am

I wanted to write to back up what AAM advised. I found out in March of 2009 that I would be relocating to a new city (I was engaged to doctor who just matched into her residency program) and had to find a job. I was fortunate, though, because I currently had a job 7.5 hours away, and instead of just relocating outright I decided to stay put and apply from a distance to maintain a paycheck. I applied for positions where I felt I would easily get an interview given my experience, but no dice. I thought, not unlike the person who wrote, that it was because I was an out of state candidate so in my cover letter I explained my situation. I even told employers that I would happily pay my own expenses to drive or fly up to interview. When my fiancee moved permanently and got us a place, I continued to stay where I was at but I used our new address as the address on my resume, thinking that if I was contacted for an interview they would expect that I would have to make some kind of arrangement with my current job and I would have driven all night just for the opportunity. Didn't work. It wasn't until I had bit the bullet and moved that I got a job (a mere five days before our wedding). So what I'm trying to say in as many words possible is that I completely agree with AAM that you should be open with employers about your situation (when you are relocating, that you will pay for expenses to interview, etc) but it's rough out there and even those choices/concessions might not work. Good luck with your search and keep at it!

Mas September 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm

You are certainly not preaching to the choir. My partner moved back to Minneapolis in January via North Carolina. I aggressively started the job search, would fly to Minneapolis for face to face interviews had numerous phone interviews and to my dismay it was one rejection after another. I had a fear of leaving my comfort zone and venturing into unknown territory, Well, after speaking to a multitude of recruiters in Minneapolis and talking things over with my partner, I felt it was best for me to resign from my job of 6 years and relocate just to make myself available. After, I resigned and two weeks before I moved to Minneapolis not knowing what I was going to do next, I received a call from a company who wanted to give me an offer. The timing couldn’t have been perfect and 4 months later things are going great. Best advice: Use all avenues of networking (Linkedin, job recruiting firms Facebook, etc)Don’t let fear or lack of money stop you from chasing your dream. Good Luck!

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 1:12 am

I used a friend's local address when applying for jobs. It gets more attention from employers. You've got to back it up though–be willing to fly out on short notice for interviews, and be prepared to start within in two weeks, which may mean living somewhere temporarily until you can establish a permanent home. In other words you really have to act like you already do live there. You can't apply with a local address and then tell the employer that you need time or reimbursement for relocation.

I've also tried the apply-from-a-distance method and it works too, but it takes A LOT longer.

Rossana Kelton August 27, 2010 at 1:23 am

I live in a State with little jobs in my area of expertise. I have been to interviews 4 states away in which I was not reimbursed for travel (rental of car), meals, etc. I have also experience the no relocation issue. I also had another problem which was the fact that after I was interviewed (4 or 5 times plus a test), the organization did not fill the positions at all. The positions are still open and unfilled. One company wanted to fill the position right away due to the opening of a new location. I checked this week and this organization didn't place any candidate in any of these positions that I had been interviewed for. It is very interesting that companies are spending money posting job openings in Monster or Careerbuilder and that money is going to waste because those positions are not getting filled. I have even noticed that after a phone interview, positions get re-posted as if they are not interested in hiring anyone. I also noticed that some of these positions are open for months without being filled. I believe there is a lot of apprehension to the commitment stage of the deal.

Anonymous November 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

I can’t agree with you any more! I had exactly the same experience which you had. Those hiring company (actually, they are not hiring, but they are playing people) are ridiculous.

Xay August 27, 2010 at 1:52 am

I just finished a long distance job search and I agree with what AAM advised.

I didn't use a local address for the job search because I am currently employed and I didn't want anything that looked confusing and contradictory. Fortunately, the city I am relocating to is a 4.5 hour drive from where I live now but I still made a point of stating in my cover letter when I would be available for in person interviews and scheduling interviews with multiple companies (if I had already had or been offered a phone interview) when I was in town. I was offered travel assistance for one interview but for the most part, I used prearranged trips to schedule in person interviews. I also tapped into every networking opportunity available so I could learn how the hiring market works for my field in that city.

It took 4 months and my family moved up before I did so my son could start school on time, but I ended up with two competitive job offers and I start work in a couple of weeks.

Sarah G August 27, 2010 at 2:07 am

Talk about timing — I'm giving notice tomorrow (which I've planned for a while now), and then taking the plunge and moving in with friends in the new city 1000 miles away. I've been saving money a long time for this move, and feel I can do it financially. It's stressful to take the risk, but my current job is all-consuming which makes it tough to search for another, let alone long-distance. All these comments give me confidence that I'm making the right decision.

Hill August 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Yeah, some of us have family’s and we can’t all just up and relocate and sleep on couches like we’re 23. It’s actually REALLY frustrating. I’m 100% sure that if I were to just go and stay in a hotel room, I could land a job in 2 weeks tops. But, I can’t subject a whole family to that. What fish-brained company wants to hire someone who is that irresponsible? Every job search I’ve ever done has been completed in l/t 2 weeks. I don’t know what difference my location makes. I’m willing to pay my relocation, I’m willing to pay to do interviews, I’m giving a start date of 3 weeks… considering this, my relocation should prove SEAMLESS to the hiring manager. All I need is an offer letter.

Hill August 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

It’s also really frustrating because, we’re paying a month-to-month at our apartment, which is BRUTALLY expensive, because we don’t want to worry about breaking a lease. Who the hell are these people who live in these situations where they can do long-distance job searches for over a year… where they could just up and leave whenever? Meanwhile, I have friends that have found jobs in my target city with companies that paid for their relocation and their travel expenses… yet here I am, 10 years of experience, getting turned down for freaking ENTRY-LEVEL jobs because I HAPPEN to live across the country RIGHT NOW… even though my apartment is virtually empty and we’re living in a kind of limbo waiting for someone to take a chance on me… as if I’m not serious about moving. It’s so freaking frustrating!

Hill August 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm

And, I’m telling companies up-front… “we’ve been thinking of moving for over 10 years… I’m willing to pay my relocation… even lying and telling people I have family there…” It isn’t like we went on a vacation and think it’s gonna be peaches and cream, so I’m just passively seeing what I can find… we’re DEAD SERIOUS about moving!!! Obviously, if I’m going to uproot and move to a new city, I’m going to do EVERYTHING in my power to make it work, and that INCLUDES giving 200% in my job.

Kristin August 27, 2010 at 2:47 am

I recently relocated to NYC from the midwest, and while I had some phone interviews before I left, my resume didn't really get much attention until I had a New York address. If possible, try to save up a few months' worth of money, then just move and temp while you're looking for a "real" job. I just did that, and it worked out really well.

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 3:09 am

One thing to add to my comment above about using a local address: make sure you update your social media sites to match your resume! You don't want your LinkedIn profile saying you live in San Antonio if your resume says you live in Seattle. It's a little thing and probably no one will notice, but it's not wiorth chancing it.

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 4:55 am

I moved from Seattle to the Bay Area two years ago (I'd been laid off from my Seattle job and wanted to be closer to my partner anyway). I didn't use his address; I was up front about still living in Seattle, but I made sure to address my plans to move very directly in my e-mail/cover letter.

The most important thing, though, was reaching out to my network in the Bay Area – friends, college/grad school classmates, former coworkers & clients, etc., because ANY job search is easier when you use your network, but ESPECIALLY if it's a long distance job. My final 3 companies I was considering all were companies I'd reached through my network.

I even ended up getting a relocation package, which was a nice surprise. Many companies were up front that relo wasn't an option but my (now-current) employer didn't bring up the topic, so getting the package was a really nice bonus.

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 4:56 am

One other thing I did (I'm the Seattle-to-Bay Area person above) was to come down for a week at a time a couple times and arrange meetings/interviews when I was visiting. If you can get face-to-face time, it can only improve your chances.

christie August 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

I've been job hunting for two years from the East Coast for a job in California and obviously since I'm not there yet and it's been two years, my job hunt has been extraordinarily unsuccessful (I've even tried networking). I've had a few calls, but those were from people who failed to read my cover letter and resume, which I write exactly as AAM explained. As soon as they realized I wasn't local, they said, "oh, well, let us know when you live here." These are not entry-level jobs, either.

It doesn't help that I live in an area where there are next to no opportunities for what I do, so applying for jobs here is futile, too.

I've even tried applying to jobs in the nearest city (about an hour and a half away) and still…nothing. It seems that if you're not local, you're screwed. And if you live in an area where there's no opportunities, you're double screwed. So here I am, totally underemployed, stagnating, and bored out of my mind with nowhere to go (except to pick up freelance opportunities as I find them).

I suppose the fact that my grad school is located in San Francisco and right now I'm attending online, but would really love to finish my last two years in a classroom setting isn't even enough of a reason (among several others) for employers to believe I want to relocate.

So frustrating. So for now, I'm just saving as much money as I can (and waiting for the economy to improve) until I'm comfortable relocating without a job because that seems to be the only way I'll get one in another city.

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I love this advice as I am also looking for work in a city a couple hours away and it has been an extremely extremely frustrating expereince.

Question for everyone: If you put a local address and your resume still has that you work at your other job in the other city, how would that look to employers? Any ways around his?

Amy August 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Another thing that could be working against you is that if recruiters are searching in a resume database with the parameters of "within 50 miles of zip code 12345", your resume isn't going to show up in their results unless you do borrow a friend's local address. Just something else to consider…

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I am going through this same thing. What I did is used a local address and paid for my own travel.
Employers were curious about reason for moving so I was upfront about the fact that I was relocating to be with my fiance. They seemed to accept that as a good reason but you do need to hve a good reason because they WILL ask.

I was lucky enough to be able to book at least two interviews per trip so it wasn't a complete waste but again this was pure luck and 100% dedication on my part. For the past 3-4 months I've done nothing but constantly apply for jobs, revamp my resume, read job books and of course surf blogs like this one.

Right now I have had final interviews with two positions. One of them told me that I would get an offer early this week but no offer has come so I'm really worried. (if anyone has any good reasons why it's taking so long please comment to help me feel better) I also feel like I am a top candidate for the other one but still no feedback… I do know that they have checked my references. It is a large academic institution so I know they can be slow sometimes but AAM if you're reading please reassure me.

In any case, it can be done but you have to set aside the budget for it. You also need to decide whether you are willing to go forward without a job or wait until you get an offer… I set a deadline for myself and decided that I was moving with or without one because I'm tired of being in limbo and the travel costs are killing me. Of course if you decide to do this then you need to have the savings to back it up.

You need to make this part of your move budget because I have spent at least 1000-1500 on travel for interviews. Hotwire is my best friend for finding hotel deals when I need them. The good thing is that when I plan in advance the airfare is only 150-175 but one time I had a last-minute opportunity that I felt like I couldn't pass up and that plane ticket set me back $500!

Anyway I know this is stressful and I do symphatize with your situation. I can't wait to see the other comments and hopefully success stories on this issue because I am feeling very nervous as a wait on one of my offers to come through…

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Me again (post above)… sorry for all the typos. I was typing very fast but IRL I know how to spell. lol

Travis August 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

If you end up moving for a job SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS! You're allowed to deduct moving expenses if you relocate for a new job. I don't know exactly how much or what expenses, but go here for more information: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html.

Anon. September 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

Thanks for the reminder and the link Travis!

GeekChic August 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I've done all of my job hunting long distance (on 4th job now) – in fact for most of the job searches I wasn't even in the same country.

My cover letter always specified why I was looking to move to that area and work for this specific organization or (in one case) a more general why I was looking internationally. I also specified how I was legal to work in their country.

I never had much trouble though it did take somewhat longer to get jobs than friends looking locally (between 12-18 months). I have also never paid to go to interviews (either the employer did phone interviews only or paid for me to travel). I would have been perfectly happy to pay but it was never brought up.

Relocation assistance only came with this last job. The other jobs weren't senior enough to generate this offer of help (and I didn't expect it).

All that said, I did my looking before this recent downturn so I have been fortunate. Good luck to everyone job hunting.

Anonymous August 28, 2010 at 3:23 am

RE: Anon @ 8:06, when I used a friend's local address, I simply wrote "2000-2010" on my resume, instead of "2000-current". No one questioned whether or not I was still employed in another city.

Anonymous August 28, 2010 at 11:20 pm

You can also use Google Voice to get a free local phone number that automatically routes to your phone number. I had already relocated from NJ to NC before my job search. Since I want to stay here, I didn't want to look like a carpetbagger.

Anonymous August 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

This could not be more timely, as my husband and I are seriously considering a move to Florida for a number of valid reasons, and I have had several interviews but as yet no job offer. (The most recent position I submitted an application and resume for, with a letter stating I would be in the area, was filled before I arrived–yet the position is still listed as open!) Perhaps my next step should be to use a local address and spend more time there, as it is only a 2 1/2 hour flight. I am concerned about age–I am closer to 60 than 50, and am apprehensive that that might be a problem.

Anonymous September 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm

As a recruiter, my biggest fear is that I received a resume from a candidate who hasn't taken into account how stressful a relocation is and that "available ASAP" isn't ASAP when you're moving from five states away. Relocation is a serious commitment and stressor, as is starting in a market where you've never been, have no network or support when you arrive, and have to tie up loose ends and find a new place to live. I do my best to accomodate candidates who are willing to relocate, but often it turns into a headache of "I can't start when I said I could," and work product suffering becuase a candidate has moving issues. Taking a candidate who lives a town away sort of becomes a given.

I am okay if you use a local address, even if it's just a friend's. At least that way I know you have someplace to stay and at have a network in the city. Being able to crash at Aunt Tilly's for a month means at least you have a network and an emergency place to stay. If I find you also have an address in another city, it's not the end of the world, and I don't consider it being "lied to." Perhaps others feel differently, but if it's the address you would live at while getting started, I see no harm.

Letting me know that you are moving anyway is also a huge help. At least I then know you are doing your homework and maybe already have an apartment picked out and have been packing. I highly recommend mentioning these things when applying.

Anonymous September 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm

@Anonymous 1 Sept:

I can appreciate your sentiments. How would you recommend the following situation then? My wife finished grad school in December, but there's basically no future for her in the city where we moved for grad school. Without being specific, it's basically a rather technical field where the employers can't really expect to find many home-grown candidates.

I can work pretty much anywhere, and my company has been made aware of my status from hire onward, and they are going to keep me in a telecommuting capacity after we move away. We already have tentative plans to basically send my wife out ASAP when she lands a job, and we can afford to continue paying the mortgage while we rent an apartment and so forth.

Basically, what it boils down to is that we're definitely capable of making the move in a hurry, and we definitely do want to move. If we wanted, we could move regardless of whether or not she found work, but given how far apart various potential employers, it's not something we'd be like to do without an offer on the table.

So all that said, how do we best convey that message of preparedness and reality to prospective employers?

Ask a Manager September 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I think the key is in your first paragraph: "a field where the employers can't really expect to find many home-grown candidates."

When this is the case — where local candidates are hard to come by — I think it's a whole different ballgame.

When there are plentiful local candidates, that's when it sometimes isn't worth an employer's while to deal with non-locals. But in your wife's case, if the employer doesn't have that luxury, they're presumably planning on conducting a more nationwide search.

Sara Anderson January 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I’ve been avoiding mentioning that I’m going to be moving because it’s the place where my spouse is most likely to find a job (he’s the higher earner between us). I’d rather not mention that I’m married.

Anonymous January 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I am an independent contractor and as a rule of thumb, NEVER go to interviews without having them pay for the travel, PERIOD. Some progressive companies do use Skype or video conferencing to achieve this while others are stuck.

If your unemployed, believe me the money to travel you need for basic necessities not to go on some interview miles away where there is no guarantees.

Lynn April 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I see a lot of advise but what really works when looking for a job in another State. Do you have any steps we should follow that will really help. Thank you

Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I’m a recent graduate who has for almost a year been looking for a job and unfortunately have not been having the best of luck. I have since the beginning of the year filled out a total of 500 positions in the state in which I live. I’m unemployed and truly desire to move to another state, that I was recently informed has a much richer job market. I’ve read all of the post of everyone whose been trying to find jobs in another state and how hard it is. I’m left wondering if I should take a job in the state that I’m in that has nothing to do with what I went to school for to pad my bank account and within 6 months plan to move to the state I desire to be in? I am slowly running out of options and money since unemployment is nearing the end real soon.

Ask a Manager May 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I think that could make a lot of sense!

Lindsay May 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

This is what I plan on doing. I am currently working two jobs (one a seasonal and the other full time). When my seasonal job is over for the summer I plan on moving to Texas from NJ. I know that once I am there I can scrape together a minimum wage job or two, but I will feel more confident with the padding in my bank account.

I am also using the time between now and then to apply for higher level jobs in the area, but since the market is rough I am not banking on getting anything.

Another HR professional April 27, 2013 at 2:55 am

Anonymous, your situation is not as dire as that of someone debating on whether to leave current employment so that they can move to a different city for a job search.

You essentially have nothing to lose by relocating. In fact, I would urge you to relocate ASAP and look for a crappy night/late afternoon job so that you can go for interviews during the earlier parts of the day.

As a university grad you have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months post graduation. As you move from 6 months to 12 months, your chances of finding meaningful work within your field diminish tremendously. You become what we HR people call unemployable. It means employers will ask why no one hasnt snatched you 12 months after graduation if you are as good as you claim. Great products fly of the shelf soon after graduation. I know it is not fair but thats just how the cookie crumbles.

I was able to land a professional job within 6 months after my last class (not graduation date). This was due to my flexibility to hop onto a Greyhound and do labour jobs in my target city while I was applying for HR jobs. By the end of my 5th month I landed an HR generalist role.

DW May 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

This blog is a fantastic resource! I’m so glad to have found it.

I’m within 2 months of completing a year long term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and I’m planning to relocate once my term is up. I’ve been having such a difficult time finding companies in my new city who are willing to interview me, partly because of the relocation issue and partly because I cannot relocate until the end of July (when my term of service ends). I don’t want to end up unemployed once my term is over, but I also don’t want to leave early (for a number of reasons, including the fact that I really love my current position and the fact that–if I stay the whole year–I get a $5500 education award to help pay off my student loans).

Any advice on how to address those issues in my cover letter? I’m already including the piece about being willing to cover my own interview travel and relo expenses, but it hasn’t made much of a difference. Also, it’s not easy to cover those costs on a VISTA budget! I’m only one year out of school, so I’m applying to entry level positions (mostly in the non-profit field). I’ve been networking like crazy, but so far I’ve just had a lot of people say that, although my resume looks great and I have awesome experiences, they just don’t have a place for me.

Would it be better to just wait until my term ends, move to my new city, get a job at the local Godiva (I worked there in college, so it would be easy to connect with them) and then start applying for positions in my field? I was really hoping to have a plan in place before I move, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

Mike June 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I personally have never had luck applying for jobs out of state and saying I am in the process of relocating. I think its true if your skills are in demand and can’t be found locally you have shot but there is an overflow of skilled workers right now. I really don’t see it as “deception” to use a friends address or a P.O. Box for a local address. If you are not asking for moving cost reimbursement and you are showing up for the scheduled appointments and not inconveniencing the prospective employer in any way I see no problem. If you show up for work on the day you say you will and do the job you have happy employer. You have to be creative in job hunting in this day and age.

Heather June 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for all of the helpful advice. I am attempting to relocate from Southern California to Northwest Georgia, or possibly Pensacola Florida. I am moving to be closer to my children that live in Alabama. Both locations I want to move to have been places I have lived in before as a teenager and when I was in the Air Force, so I am somewhat familiar with the areas.
I am also moving because of the high cost of living in California. Two birds, one stone.
My boyfriend has spent the last six months on a concerted, concentrated local job search, so I am aware of how horrific the job prospects are. It sounds like it is bleak and difficult no matter where you are, or where you are trying to go!!
I wanted to let everyone know that I have also been looking into what are now called “intentional communities”. Its a place where you work to live, which I am all for, and I think it might be one way to get relocated on a budget before a job is in place.
Does anyone have any thoughts, tips, or info about any of the locations or topics I have presented?
I do not plan on moving without having fully researched a place, just so you dont all think I’m about to leap with no chute!
thanks!

C July 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I am currently looking to relocate to a larger city closer to where I was raised (I tell them I am from nearby to see if that will spark some interest), but it seems that there is a lot of discrimination as soon as I tell them where I currently live, in the deep South. I have lived here for about 5 years, including during my college career, and I went to a large SEC school that is highly respected here in the Southeast. However, there is a stigma attached to the southern region of the US, especially in larger cities where people haven’t met too many candidates from the south. I am trying to get over this stigma by mentioning that I have moved around a lot and do not necessarily have a real ‘home town’ that will allow me to fit any certain stereotype, good or bad, but either way I feel that this is hurting my job search. I’m currently employed, and am considering using a friend’s local address in the city in which I am trying to move, however, it would be hard to explain the discrepancy in my current employment. No idea which route to take.

Paul August 10, 2012 at 1:17 am

The comments here have been very helpful. I’m currently finishing a two-year MBA program in Toronto and have been able to work full-time since April, but haven’t received any offers (though I have been getting more traction of late from entry-level sales positions, as I have a fair amount of sale experience). I may soon have to move back to my hometown of Minneapolis for financial reasons, but very much want to work long-term in Toronto, as this is now where my professional network is the strongest.

The contact-info setup of name/relocating to X/email is an excellent suggestion. If it comes down to having to move, is there anything that I should do differently for a “relocation back” situation, as opposed to seeking work in a city where I’ve never lived or worked (which may also be the case, as Calgary is on my radar)?

Southern dreaming January 10, 2013 at 12:24 am

Thanks for all of the advices from people that in the same boat as me. I want to relocate to the south from the north been searching for a job since August but I have not had any call backs but one in Tn however it was not a job really in my field. I know it is backwards but I did find my dream house and I want to buy it. I already contacted the mortage company and would be approved for the loan if I had a full time job, I have a part-time and receiving Uc benfits. I really want a job in the town I want to buy the house or near it. Any suggestion on how to get a job quicker if you are trying to move down Alabama area??? esp. when I work in the non-profit field??

Job seeker January 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I wish we could move back. My husband’s job keeps us where we are right now, but I suggest you definitely have a job before you move. It is much less expensive in Alabama or Tennessee to live. You can find the most gorgeous homes there also at unbelievable prices.I have friends that live in Alabama, have you tried TVA there? It is government but pays very well. I would try to work with a recruiter rather than strike it out on my own. Good luck.

Sarah Lawson June 26, 2013 at 12:41 am

Great advice!

I have gone through the motions of applying for jobs out of state before. A lot of employers get turned off by out of state applicants, but if you have the skills that they’re looking for, that puts you at a better advantage.

But if you really REALLY want that job, I think it pays to be creative with the application process. Do what you can to land that interview and make sure to show up on time for it. If the subject of distance comes up, Let the employers know that you won’t be asking for moving cost reimbursement if they hire you.

John August 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I just got an email from a hiring manager from a firm I applied to in a different city. He wrote that if I was planning to visit the area anytime soon, and if so that we can set up an interview. What should I do? I have a friend that lives there, and I’ll just have to pay for gas and food. Though, it is a 12 hour drive and no guarantees. I already went through a similar experience but it was very expensive since it was in a different state and did not get the job. I would have to ask friends/family for help because I am broke right now. I really want to go and take the risk, but don’t know if I should. Any advice? Thanks.

nevada bound August 26, 2013 at 12:22 am

i would definitely go. the fact that you have someone interested and want a face to face conversation, i think that is a great idea.

Dag October 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

About a year ago I had to move to a smallish town for non-work-related reasons. Since I got here, I’ve been working the only job I could find, which is well outside my field and pays below what I need to live (I’ve been digging about $200 into my savings every month, and will soon have to move on to credit cards). My field is somewhat rarified and any real possibilities in it are in larger cities, which I prefer anyway.

The advice I can glean from here and elsewhere boils down to:

-Move to target city on savings or with family and search
-Stay where you are and hunker down for a long search

These are both good advice to the extent they apply, but:

-Saving money is out, since I’m actually losing savings the longer I’m here.
-Hunkering down for a long search is out because the longer I stay the less qualified I get, since I’m working outside my field.
-Moving to somewhere with family is out, because the only family I have is in the town I’m trying to leave.
-Moving to a target city is out anyway, because I don’t care WHERE I get a job. For example, I don’t want to move to Chicago and ignore options in Atlanta, or vice versa. I’m amiable and have liked something about every place I’ve ever been.

I’ve been applying like crazy, spending three-four hours a day and all day every weekend for the last six months, and have nothing back but the occasional apologetic email saying they are only considering local candidates. (These emails confirm that it’s not something else in my resume/history, since they indicate that if I were local they’d offer an interview). I make it extremely clear that I’m not looking for relocation, and explain that the job I’m in currently is a temp job I took because I moved for family reasons, and that I can and will leave at a moment’s (or actually two weeks’, to be fair to my current place) notice. I’m getting desperate and beyond frustrated. I know there’s probably not going to be much advice anyone can give but it’s good to vent at least.

peter November 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm

great advice. From what I am gathering, I think if out of state, or even out of country (like I am), the best thing to do is to relocate and get a address (esp in NYC). Or use a friends or relative’s one. Makes it easier to get interviews, offers, etc….

Lucy December 2, 2013 at 2:58 am

Hi Peter, you aren’t the first person on here to mention that it is useful to use a local address specially in NYC. Is there a reason for that? I am actually considering relocating there at the end of this month but dont know if i should just start applying now or wait.

Tara T. November 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Some of the posters suggested using a friend’s local address when applying in another state. That is a good idea. You could still use your regular phone number and just say (if asked why it is an out-of-state area code) that you are “temporarily” at that phone number.

Yvonne November 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

Thank you all. I really needed this. Im moving from VA to Charlotte NC and even though Im qualified for many jobs no one is giving me a call back. Im going to change my address to a Charlotte address .

rebecca November 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

So glad I found this website. Lots of good advice. I am trying to find a job in CA to move back. We’ve been in OR for 8 years. Is there a problem with omitting your local address from a resume/CV and only using your email and cell number? I like the idea of adding the relocation information in the cover letter.

Kilynn December 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I have never thought this would be as hard as it has been. I’m a from a small town in Wisconsin and lived there all my life I had a great job a nice apartment and was content but my fiance wanted to move back to his hometown in Louisiana. He hadn’t really liked it in Wisconsin for a long time and his job was moving to another country so he was laid off with countless others. I was scared and he talked me into it. I’m a pastry chef and have been for seven years. I did some searching before moving and nothing. So I thought maybe once we get down there it would be easier. WRONG! I even reduced myself to entry level making half what I made back home. NOTHING! Its so frustrating! He has job now and he makes good money but I don’t like living just off him. Now we have a baby on the way and I’m jobless sitting at home which I hate. My family wants me to return home and he keeps promising me something will come my way. I’m torn on what to do and why with all my talent and experience I keep getting turned down for jobs that someone fresh out of cooking school or who took simple side classes could do? Its like the ads they put out just want people to flock so they could keep turning you down. I miss working and even with a great resume, I can’t seem to get someone to take a chance on me. Its heartbreaking.

Jim January 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm

My thinking is that using a friend’s or family member’s address for that other state you wish to move is a massive risk, gievn application questions and background checks.

Tara T. January 12, 2014 at 10:11 am

Most background checks are just to find out if there is any criminal history. They really do not care if you are temporarily staying at a friend’s house, moving to a local address, or what your living arrangements are. If you are the right person for the job, they will make an offer and then do the background check. By then, you will have checked out the local apartment or house where you want to live and be ready to sign a lease. It will not matter.

Jim January 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

Hi Tara – good points. I’m guess I’m referring to those who use an out-of-state address (e.g. a friend’s address) on their resume to make it appear they live there? Does it seem disingenuous when it turns out not to be the case? (eg application question about past residences or credit checks)

I’m a bit torn on this, and welcome thoughts.

Tara T. January 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Jim, people move around a lot anyway. There are a lot of people who save on rent by moving in with friends, or people who just got a significant other and move in, or people who move back in with parents to save money. There are a lot of reasons someone might suddenly move, so the job applicant can make up whatever fits at the time. If it looks like it might make a difference, the applicant can always say, “I just moved back in with my sister in the other state but my things are in boxes and I have signed a lease here & will be moving back here before my start date.” It is just living arrangements – the problem is to get the job. Then worry about what to say about living arrangements. The interviewer is not going to realize it was not the case – that the person did not temporarily stay at his or her sister’s house – and why would they even care. Unless, of course, the person is a fugitive from the law, and then it will matter because of the criminal background check. Otherwise, no one will care.

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