how to find a job in another state

A post I did on applying for a job in another state back in January 2009 continues to get frequent comments even now, two-and-a-half years later, so I figured it was worth addressing the topic again.

As difficult as the job market is for most people right now, it’s even harder for job-seekers who are searching long-distance. There are already loads of highly qualified local candidates who aren’t getting interviews because employers are swamped with so many of them – so when you add in the inconvenience of being a long-distance candidate, we’re talking about a serious disadvantage.

And the reality is that long-distance job candidates generally aren’t as convenient for employers: You’re typically not able to show up for an interview later this week, or stop by for an impromptu meeting with the decision-maker who’s about to leave for vacation, and you generally can’t start as soon as someone who’s local can do.

Plus, many employers see non-local candidates as more of a risk. What if you move across the country for the job and then it doesn’t work out?  No manager with a heart wants that on their conscience. Or, what if you decide three months into the job that you can’t adjust to the area? Local candidates don’t carry these risks.

For all these reasons, the bar is higher for long-distance candidates – but it’s not insurmountable. Here are eight ways to increase your chances of landing an out-of-town job:

1. First, know that it’s going to be harder .As challenging as a local search is right now, a long-distance search will be harder and probably take longer, maybe a lot longer. Prepare yourself for that and don’t get discouraged.

2. Explain yourself in your cover letter. Sharing your reasons for wanting to relocate in your cover letter 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.”

3. Put it on your resume too. Don’t rely just on the explanation in your cover letter in case the employer skims and misses it. On your resume, directly under your address, include a parenthetical note that you’re soon relocating to __ (fill in the city). For instance:

Joe Smith
(Relocating in October to Seattle)

4. Eliminate the added expense to the employer. State explicitly that you don’t need relocation assistance, and that you’re glad to travel for an interview at your own expense.

5. Consider going a step further and using a local address. Many out-of-town candidates use the local address of family or friends who live in the area. But be prepared to explain when you’re called and invited to come in for an interview “tomorrow.”

6. Use your network, now more than ever. Finding an insider at a company to help open doors for you is always useful in a job search, and it could be crucial when you have to overcome the obstacle of being long-distance. Now’s not the time to be shy: Go all out on LinkedIn, take advantage of your college’s alumni network, and leave no connection explored.

7. Be as flexible as possible about travel and start date. If an employer wants you to interview next week, you might need to suck it up and pay the higher fee for a last-minute plane ticket. And you should start thinking now about how you can arrange the logistics of your move to be able to have an early start date; you don’t want to tell employers that it’ll take you six weeks to relocate, when they have other candidates who can start immediately.

8. Consider relocating now. This isn’t always an option, but if you have the ability to relocate before getting a job, seriously consider it. You’ll generally find it much, much easier to get hired when you’re in the same city as the employers you’re targeting.

{ 36 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    I just went through the whole searching long distance thing. I searched long distance (half way across the country) for about 2 months, with absolutely no hits. The second I moved however, it all changed and ended up having to choose between job offers within 3 weeks of moving! It really is a easier to find a job if you just take the plunge and move first-having a local address really helps.

  2. RS*

    #4 Eliminate the added expense to employer
    I thought you mentioned before not to state this because if you say you will cover the cost now, you will nenver know that the employer might have been willing to pay for your expenses.

  3. Anonymous*

    I’m considering moving from NY to DC metro area in the next few months. I saw the post from 2009 through a link you provided on another post (thanks!) and have been following the comments.

    Thanks so much for addressing this again for today’s job market and conditions.

    I’ll check out that article now, and hopefully there will be many comments here too.

  4. Laura*

    This post is exactly what I’m looking for. I lost my job in 2010 and it has been a year that I’m unemployed and now I am trying to move to NY from LA.
    So I did few back and fourth trips after sending my resume, I’ve had interviews were they were interested in my profile but they all said I have to be in NY to find a job. BUT it is a vicious circle because I can’t find a job without an address and I can’t rent a place without a job!!!!!! SO WHAT CAN I DO????
    I am starting to loose my mind here, I am from Paris (France) HATE Los Angeles and can’t wait to move and start another life but it seems IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!!

    Would you have any recommendation considering that we have a dog and 2 cats!!!

    1. Jo*

      Noticing your problem im moving between large cities. I dont get a chance to talk to people much though, I feel that a large part of the problem is that simply were a lil weird. Big city lil city that is. Read locals resume’s and contrast. Often in the larger aspect, if they want you they’ll get you. Relocation fee’s, transportation.

    2. MamaNae*

      Maybe open a PO Box in NY, then have the mail routed to your LA address. Use the NY PO Box address on all your NY resumes. Good luck!

  5. -JP*

    Not sure if anyone will answer this, but I am living in MA and am trying to move to the Chicago area. I am moving because my fiancee is finishing up school in RI and will be going back to Chicago soon. The tips are good, one other question though. Since her parents live in the area should I just use their address? They said it was ok. How should that be worded since it makes little sense with all of my job experience being in MA. Any help appreciated.

  6. SOL*

    I’m planning to move home to NY from Miami – I’ve been here for 11 years, in my current position (as a Marketing Director) for 9 years. I’m a single mom, so I can’t just quit my job and move without securing something first. I’ve been sending out countless resumes for weeks. I’ve only received two callbacks – both of which seemed to express much interest over the phone yet never called for the follow-up face to face interview as promised?? I’ve been up-front on my resume that I plan to relocate at my own expense as soon as i’m able to secure a position. Is that the wrong thing to do? I’m getting so frustrated. Should I use a local address? If so, how do i explain my current position being in miami? Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated.

    1. LJ*

      That’s funny because I want to move from NY to Florida (I consider both places “home”). Unless you really have to move, I would stay in Miami if I were you (just my opinion).

  7. Anonymous*

    Almost a full year of comments and all of them helpful. Thanks for the hints on looking for an out of state job. I have been working on this past several months with 0 results, but seeing that I need to change several things in my approach. Thanks again!

  8. LJ*

    I am thinking of moving to either Florida or California from NY. I used to live in Florida. I applied for a few jobs in California and I got 2 phone interviews for those jobs, but it didn’t go further than that. I just got an email about a Florida job where they might be interested. I think I’ll probably end up saving up for another year and then quit my present job (it’s horrible, but pays pretty well) and just move without having a job lined up (probably back to Florida and if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll leave enough money to either return to NY or move elsewhere).

  9. Marilee*

    I am about to relocate to Portland Oregon from SF at the end of the year, and have spend the last 4 months trying to land a job before I move out, but have had no luck at all. Luckily, I’ll be moving in with my long distance bf, so don’t have to worry about housing/rent, just finding a job right away. I have a solid savings to get me through the first 3 months.

    When I moved to SF 18 years ago, I moved without a job and landed two in the first week I arrived…but that was a different economy, so I am a little nervous. However, im much more skilled than I was in those years (I am an insurance professional now instead of a bartender) so am fairly confident I’ll find something quickly. I’ve signed up for a couple staffing agencies, have updated my resume and cover letter…now im just going to go for it and make the move.

    Fortune favors the brave.

  10. Liz*

    I am a MN LPN wanting to move to Virginia to start my life over. I just got separated from my boyfriend of six years; i don’t know anyone in there but but my heart is leading me to Virginia. I really need a new start and i need help with my move to which city, jobs help and continuing my education to be an RN.
    Please, i need your help.

  11. April*

    I am from Louisiana and looking to move to California but not in the major areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco, more serene areas like Napa and so fourth, but although all the comments helped. Will I better my chances to speak with the employer themselves following the resume, rather than going through managers?

  12. Val*

    Hello. I live in Massachusetts with my husband, 2 year old daughter (currently unborn daughter) and two dogs. I hate the cold and I despise the snow. Though I am native to MA and all my family is here, it is way past time to go. I am trying to find my husband a job ineastern FL, but it’s really hard. He works for public works which is not typically listed at places like, etc. I am a nanny and would find work once we got there. i am wondering if you have any tips for us. please save me from New England, I just can’t stand it anymore.

    1. Mary*

      Hi Val! I currently live in central FL – moved to central from eastern/Brevard county because the economy is so dead out there. I have a college degree in technical writing, but could only find work at Winn Dixie. Then they cut my hours to 4 hours a week … All that was there were beaches, Walmarts, Kmarts and McDonalds. I lived in affordable housing that was literally falling apart (my neighbors got evacuated b/c their staircase fell down). If you want to move to FL, Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa seem to have the most jobs, but I don’t know how bad the competition is. I’m struggling in Orlando area, jobs in my field are scarce, competition is ridiculously high! Main fields here are hospitality, customer service/clerks, and restaurants, but if you are a nanny you could probably find work pretty easily. Best of luck!! I’m hoping to move north if I can. Can’t stand the humidity and skin melting heat ;)

  13. Rach*

    Hi Val! I 100% second your need to get out of the Northeast!! I’m in upstate NY and desperately trying to relocate to Austin, TX or Southern CA… I just need to get out of the frigid cold and gray skies. I have been trying for over 6 Months and have just had 1 phone interview… I am starting to think that moving first might be a must. I have to say though the 1 phone interview i had came bc i sent the manager a follow up letter re-expressing my interest and she really liked that personal touch.

    1. Jonathan*

      Preach! I’m in upstate NY as well and I’m starting to look for jobs in NC, where I’m originally from. Goodbye grey skies!

    2. Susan*

      I am in the SAME boat! I work in NYC and my family and I want to move to Austin. I hear that using a local address is best. But, what if they call you in for an interview? If I could afford to floy back and forth, I could afford to move w/o a job! Good luck in your Austin search…I will continue mine as well.

    3. Frank*

      Rach, I’m in the same boat. Trying to move from Northern New Jersey to Austin, Tx because I can’t stand the cold winters, snow, and the cost of living. Been applying to jobs in Austin for weeks and got one e-mail response from an interested employer. I can’t do another winter in the northeast, I might go crazy!

  14. Cody*

    My wife and I currently live in Indiana and are looking to move to Florida as soon as possible. I’ve put in countless resumes/cover letters, but have only gotten 1 hit. I ended up flying down for an interview at my own expense when they wanted me, made sure they know I was wanting to relocate and I would do it out of my own pocket. After the interview, I dropped off Thank You cards to the 3 people I interviewed with, all personalized and thanked them for their time along with a little comment about something each person mentioned. A couple weeks later they called again for another phone interview which went well. I didn’t hear anything form them for about a month then emailed the manager, which is when he said they chose someone else. I’m frustrated and disappointed at this point. I thought for sure I had the job…

  15. Joe*

    I’m originally from Wisconsin; left 28 years ago for AZ and then on to Austin, TX. We came back last summer and it sucks here and we want to get back to TX. Here is a suggestion of the route I have chosen: I got on with a national company with a lot of opportunity. In a few months I’ll be eligible for transfer.

    1. Cody*

      Joe – How did you land a job with a national company? Did you get hired by a local branch in AZ, then you’re going to transfer to TX? Thanks!

  16. CF*

    I scoured this website recently when trying to move my family (husband, wife, and dog) from TN to CA and after success decided I might throw in my two cents to share what worked for me :) We decided to work with recruiters in addition to applying to jobs online. We got NO callbacks from applications to online job postings (Monster, Indeed, etc.) even after putting a local address (a friend’s) on resumes! The recruiters though seemed to be able to vouch for our commitment to moving and landed my husband interviews and a new job after only a couple of weeks. Make no mistake though, there were cross-country trips for interviews, apartment finding, etc. and husband had to start his new job exactly 2 weeks after giving notice at old job. This can get expensive (unless you have airline benefits, like we did).

    I do think it was important to have some sort of ties or commitment to moving to the area–for us it was the fact that I went to undergrad where we are moving and I have already put in non-refundable $$$$ for the bar exam and prep course I will be taking out there (a year long process just to apply). This seemed to be enough to convince recruiters/employers that we were moving no matter what. As for logistics, we have had to do some ninja-like scheduling with my school schedule and the move, and my husband has to spend a month there alone and working until we can move the rest of our stuff, but it can certainly be done if you are willing (and have enough money saved to pay the movers)! Anyway this is just what worked for us, hope it can be helpful to someone else looking for a change of scenery…

  17. Dan*

    I’m a Nj native but I had lived in Fl for a few years before reluctantly having to move back because of personal reasons. I am looking to move back to Fl to escape to depressing winterss and extremely expensive rents but I cannot move without securing something first. I just started to process of scoping out possible job opportunites. I am an artist (illustration and sculpture). seeking to work for sculpture houses that create for theme parks, television, film, etc. Believe it or not, there are more of these companies in Florida than there are in NJ/NY but the downside is that these jobs are rarely advertised so I will just be sending out resumes and a DVD portfolio to as many as I can. People have told me that there are headhunters who specialize in this sort of thing but they haven t been able to give me any concrete info or where these specialty headhunters are located. Unable to find any on internet if they exsist at all. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Susan*

    I am in the NY/NJ area and want to move back home to TX. I really want to go to Austin. I ahve found a few jobs online that I know (hope) I would have gotten an interview for if I had a local address. I hear that it is better to use one. What if they call for an interview? I can not afford to fly down for that. If I could afford to that multiple times, I would just move w/o a job. Any idead on how to get me home?

  19. Anonymous*

    tx is the best state to get jobs I hate that I moved to ohio they work people like slaves they do not care about you having an education only about how many parts you can do.
    ugh” I hate it I moved to ohio education is th e worst for children pls if you in tx planing to moved to ohio don’t do it

  20. Kristine*

    My husband and I are (we also have a baby) are looking to relocate to Arizona from Florida to be closer to family. My family lives in California, but this is the closest state because of laws my husband wants to move to. I have been helping apply for him to state and city jobs. Any advice for hits? He has a 4 year degree in one semester (he can finish 2 classes online, disabled veteran status, etc. It’s definitely hard to just move without a job when you have a family.

    1. Kelly*

      Especially without health insurance. That’s what really scares me! All it takes is one hospitalization while you are unemployed to wipe out your savings!

  21. Roger*

    I’m also looking to move out of state from Georgia to Washington, there’s nothing here and I’m trying to give me and my kids a fresh start. I have an Associate’s degree and experience in various fields. Even though it would realistically be a couple of years before we can move I’m trying to get a head start on the job market, any recommendations out there?

  22. Mike*

    I’m a Navy veteran that might have acted too quickly on taking a job. I’m from Indiana and would love to move back there. I am currently working in Virginia, recently honorably separated in September, and would like to be back out to the Hoosier state by the summer. I too have been dropping resumes and applications all over the state and not had a single bite.

  23. Jasmine*

    I am living in Wisconsin currently and I am trying to move to Arlington, Texas with a couple of family members. I am currently unemployed right now but I want to find a job before I move down there. I was thinking of going to couple of the places that I worked previously that didn’t want me to leave ad see if they could help me get a job with one of the stores in Arlington… I just really need some help.

  24. Krystal*

    I want to move from Ohio to North Carolina. I recently graduated with my bachelors in social work and im struggling here in Ohio. I am so eager to leave and have been applying in North Carolina for about a year. I have family in North Carolina and I am willing to relocate asap. Could anyone please give me any tips or tricks to help me seem more interesting to employers.

  25. Lyn&Jef*

    My husband and I are planning on moving to Pigeon Forge, Tn. hopefully before the end of summer. We have been to Pigeon Forge every year for the past 8 years. We decided last year to make it our home. We live in Monroe, NC. We just sold our house. Living with my in-law for now. We have been looking at homes for sale, mostly for rent. Online. We have very little money saved. What is the best way to find a job before we find a home there? What would be our best move?

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