why employers don’t like long-distance job candidates

It’s hard to find a job when you’re searching for work outside your local area. Employers are more hesitant to interview out-of-state candidates, and some won’t even consider their applications. If you’re a job searcher who hopes to relocate but needs a job in a new area to do it, this can seem awfully unfair. But if you’re an employer, it often makes perfect sense.

Here are the most common reasons employers are hesitant to consider long-distance job candidates.

1. You’re not easily available for interviews. Unlike local candidates, when you’re job-searching long-distance, you generally can’t come in for an interview tomorrow or even this week. When an employer wants to schedule interviews quickly, this can be a major roadblock. Some candidates get around this by offering to interview over Skype or via phone, but many employers want to meet with candidates face-to-face, feeling that they get a better sense of them that way. Moreover, if you do get an employer to agree to interview you by phone or Skype, it can put you at a disadvantage. Some studies show that candidates come across as less likable on video than in person.

2. They don’t want to pay relocation expenses. Many long-distance candidates expect that an employer will foot the bill to relocate them if they get the job. Some companies will, and some won’t. But hiring managers often worry that you’ll expect it – and some even assume it will be a requirement. As a result, they sometimes avoid long-distance candidates altogether, as a protective measure for their budget.

3. Sometimes they don’t even want to pay interview travel costs. While relocation expenses can total in the thousands of dollars, interview travel costs are much less – but some employers don’t pay those either. That’s particularly common at cash-strapped nonprofits or small businesses, and as long as they have well-qualified local candidates, it’s hard to blame them.

4. You might not adjust well to the area. Many employers see nonlocal candidates as more of a risk because they don’t know if you’ll end up unhappy in your new city. You might decide after three months that you can’t adjust to the area or that you miss your family and end up moving back. It happens – and if a hiring manager has had it happen to them or heard stories about it, they’re likely to be more wary. Local candidates don’t have these risks.

5. They’ll feel guilty if it doesn’t work out. What if you move across the country for the job and then it doesn’t work out? No manager with a sense of compassion wants that on his or her conscience. As a result, many are much pickier about which nonlocal candidates they’re willing to consider, and the bar might be much higher to get an interview with them than if you were local.

6. There are plenty of qualified local candidates. This is usually the most important factor in how willing a company is to consider out-of-town candidates. Think about it from the employer’s point of view: If they have plentiful strong candidates locally, where’s the incentive for them to take on all of the hassles above? After all, hiring isn’t about providing a fair opportunity to everyone who might be interested; it’s about the company getting a job filled in the way that works best for them.

All that said, for some jobs, none of this is an obstacle. If you’re in a field where your skills are highly in demand, employers are more likely to open up nationwide recruiting searches. And the more senior you become and the greater your reputation, the better your chances of being considered even if you’re not local.

Plus, if you’re searching from afar, there are things you can do to overcome some of these concerns – such as making it as easy as possible for employer to interview you, paying your own travel and relocation expenses and presenting your move as a “done deal” that’s already in the works. That won’t completely neutralize the disadvantage, but it can get you a lot closer to being considered.

I originally published this at U.S. News & World Report.

{ 162 comments… read them below }

  1. KarenT

    My company rarely hires out of town candidates for jobs that aren’t high level. Our office is in a huge city with tons and tons of local candidates so there just isn’t a need (for many of the reasons Alison outlines). I’m not saying it never happens, but an out of town candidate would definitely be held to a much higher standard for an interview.

  2. MT

    #4 was the biggest one for me. My last job I was hired to move to a small town. They had such a hard time attracting people to this locaiton that they offered extra vacation time and a bump in the normal salary to people could travel and get out of there more. If it wasnt for the added perks, I would have bailed on that job sooner.

    1. MT

      Not that I am opposed to moving, I have lived in 5 states in the last 8 years, coast to coast. Relocation packages are expensive and a real headache for both the employee and the employer.

      1. GrumpyBoss

        I’ve gone through a couple of them as an employee.

        Don’t get me wrong – moving across states can cost a small fortune (my last move cost me over $20k), so there is no way I can do it without assistance unless it was an awesome career move. But it’s just a nightmare. And when you are trying to start a new relationship with an employer, it’s a fine line you have to walk when fighting with some of these relocation firms, so you don’t get a reputation as a whiner!

          1. Dan

            Mine cost me $1500. My last employer moved me from OH to DC in the middle of January. I had a 1 bedroom apartment coming out of grad school.

            My current employer got off the hook, because they’re 11 miles from my apartment (where I still live ever since Job #1 moved me in.)

            1. Michele

              I have become quite the expert when it comes to moving. I have moved across the country for about $5,000. While I understand that not everyone can get rid of their things. I did find that the rule if it can fit in a box then it doesn’t get moved. I needed a new bed anyway so it really wasn’t a big deal to get rid of my mattress and boxspring.

              1. MT

                This has made me think. I spend soo much on my moves, just to make the transition easier on my family. I would be #3 and #4, it may not be just the employee who they have to worry about as well if they have a family. I know when i move I try to get 90% of the moving done without the help of my wife. I schedule everything, I make the drive, the family will fly out.

                1. GrumpyBoss

                  I left my last move up to my husband. While it was so much easier on me, I think it ended up costing us a fortune. When you have a relo package that pays for a “full pack”, it is tempting to sit back and let them do their thing. But that’s how you end up with a situation like I did: find that they moved nearly 300 lbs of cinder blocks that were behind the garage.

                  You really have to micromanage them.

                2. AnotherAlison

                  LOL. . .300 lbs of cinder blocks.

                  (I’ve only moved twice as an adult & have only imagined the packers as the best luxury ever. Our last move was my husband’s 24th, so he’s pretty good at it, but I get overwhelmed by deciding if I still need my college Chemistry book or all my kids’ artwork they ever created.)

                3. Michele

                  When my aunt to Germany from the Oregon. They movers packed a huge box of her garbage. I helped them unpack and it was so gross to open a box of garbage! Even when I have had the option of packers I always end up doing it myself.

                4. Tinker

                  Haha.

                  When my folks did the full pack and move thing, I ended up unpacking boxes to find things like Q-tips individually wrapped in wrapping paper and put in boxes. And by this I do not mean “a box of Q-tips”, I mean “single Q-tip, category: used.”

                5. Andrea

                  The last time we moved with packers, we unpacked to find that the (apparently) last box they packed contained 7 full rolls of their own packing tape.

              2. College Career Counselor

                I once moved across the country and unpacked to find that the packers had wrapped COTTON BALLS in bubble wrap. Because, you know, everything going on the truck had to be wrapped securely.

    2. Anonalicious

      This is my company’s biggest issue. It’s hard to attract talent to an area that is more economically depressed than surrounding towns, and that feels far away from the kinds of things to do that larger cities offer (even though we’re about a 20 minute drive from just about anything you want to do). So when we do find a qualified candidate, there is a tendency to want to jump on them and get them even if they aren’t the best fit culturally.

  3. NylaW

    I think some of this depends on the actual distance involved. I’m starting an out of state job search, but the area I’m looking at is about 70 miles/90 minute drive away. I’m also relocating to the area anyway, the timing just depends on when I find a job or save up enough money to get a place and float for a while. I can see how it would be more of an issue if interviewing an candidate involved a flight and a rental car, which are significant expenses that a lot of candidates would want the company to pay for and can require more than just taking a day off.

  4. Eric

    I recently reviewed some applications of several out of are candidates. Those who explained why they wanted to move to the area in their cover letter got better consideration than those with more generic cover letters.

    1. New HR

      I’ve had the same experience. I’ve also found that those with more generic cover letters are banking on (maybe because we’re a software company) that we’ll alow the role to telecommute and they won’t actually have to relocate.

    2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

      I have mixed feeling about people wanting to move to the area. I live in a very desirable place where jobs (especially professional jobs) are scarce. It feels like EVERYONE is trying to move here, and they’re willing to take whatever job they can get to make it happen (and I pity those who move without a job – a shocking numbers of the waiters in town have masters degrees). So – I get a lot of enthusiasm from out of town applicants, and its rather difficult to decipher if it’s enthusiasm for the actual job (which takes a lot of heart and hard work), or just for the chance to move. While we can’t/don’t pay relocation expenses, it’s awful for our small nonprofit to invest in hiring and training only to find out a few months later that we were just a stepping stone into town and they’ve been searching for the job they actually wanted to whole time – and we’ve got to start all over.

          1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

            A small enough town that I might identify myself, but in the south, rather Portland-like :-)

    3. Trixie

      I’m looking at jobs 1-2 hours from I am now, fully expecting to move on my own if hired somewhere. Given the proximity, is is really necessary to spell out that I’m interested in moving in my cover letter?

  5. unemploymentfuelsmylife

    So, much of the advice for job hunting says to not be tied to your locale. This says outside candidates are less desirable. What is job hunter to do? I’m willing to move to find a job, but I don’t ever hear back from out of state jobs.

    1. fposte

      I think they’re both true. Unfortunately, not being tied to your locale can sometimes require you to move to hunt for the job, not just to start at the job you’ve already found.

    2. Relocation

      I just relocated for a job (though I was recruited); my boss was just telling some folks at happy hour that he knew he was going to hire me after our first phone conversation. I was sure he’d be a good boss as well. Sometimes things just click. Don’t give up hope!

      Of course, this never happens in my love life, but professionally seems to be working out well.

    3. BRR

      They’re unfortunately both true. Unfortunately moving just for a job is usually not enough to convince people. I would try and throw a sentence in your cover letter about the area. I was able to say that I’d be closer to family and friends that I already had.

      1. De Minimis

        I think a big reason I got my job is that I could tell them I was returning to my home state to be closer to family. Otherwise it might have been a tough sell.

        Of course, now I’m trying to leave so I guess I might end up being another cautionary tale again out of state candidates.

        1. De Minimis

          that is, “against out of state candidates.”

          I still don’t think an edit function is worth it, though….

        2. BRR

          I was asked by every person interviewing me how I felt about moving. I told them I was only where I was living for grad school and I didn’t know anybody there, I liked the area and the cities the area is close to, and that I had friends and family close by.

    4. Sunflower

      I think this is more ‘you need to be willing to go where the jobs are’. Certain industries only have limited positions in certain areas- you need to be open to moving where the jobs are. The difficultly with long distance job hunting seems to mostly affect those who are set on a specific area. If you’re open to moving anywhere, things change a lot.

    5. Tinker

      You also have to factor in that much of the advice for job hunting is bad. That might go a ways to explaining your problem.

      First thing you have to ask whenever someone’s advising you on what you ought to be doing: How much experience do they have in the job market a) since the Challenger accident b) successfully c) on the hiring side d) did I mention, successfully? e) in your industry and region? The answer to these questions indicates how much adapting you will have to do from the answer they give to an actually viable course of action for you and a lot of times will indicate the orifice in which the advice should be filed. Sadly.

  6. GrumpyBoss

    I’d add a #7. In my latest job search, I had companies accuse me of wanting to move and just using them as a way to get it paid for. This happened to me twice in companies from Florida. One even said in their rejection that “while they were impressed with my background”, they felt that I was more interested in the locale than the company. Fascinating conclusion, since I only spoke with them on the phone and wasn’t even familiar with the area of the state they were in, which was literally the only thing I said about relocation.

    So while I’m pretty confident that I didn’t say or present anything that would indicate that I was looking to move to a warmer climate, I get the impression that companies have been burned by this and are being extra paranoid.

    1. BRR

      That’s really interesting to hear. Many companies have a minimum duration of employment you have to be there or else you have to pay them back, do you know if these companies had that rule?

      1. GrumpyBoss

        Well, with the one that told me that in the rejection letter, we never got deep enough into the process to discuss the benefits. But you are right, every relo package I’ve accepted (or approved as a manager) has a 12-24 month repayment clause in it.

        It was just such an odd comment that I heard variations on a couple of times that it made me wonder.

          1. GrumpyBoss

            Most likely! The other company in Florida that made a comment about this (face to face) ranks as one of my worst interview experiences ever, so I know I dodged a bullet there!

            I just found it fascinating that both were in Florida and were so sure someone just wanted to be there (“we pay you in sunshine” was something that I was told). Yet I’ve interviewed for a relocation to Hawaii, and not one comment about location there!

            1. BRR

              I’ve heard that phrase before (possibly on here). I think the response I heard was my landlord doesn’t take sunshine for my rent.

            2. tesyaa

              I’ve heard that the cost of living in Hawaii is incredibly high, so that might have something to do with it.

              1. GrumpyBoss

                That’s ultimately why I dropped out of that interview process. I will admit, that in that case, the locale was the only part of the move that held any interest for me.

                Personally, I have and will continue to move anywhere if it is an opportunity that is a logical progression in my career path and that I’m genuinely excited about. I cannot imagine too many people would be wasting their time committing to a company just to move :)

            3. KCS

              That’s funny. My most recent company is relocating to Florida (where I have no family or friends), and that’s precisely the reason I left the company.

              It’s very presumptuous to assume that everyone is dying to move to Florida.

              1. AnotherAlison

                Another +1 for never going to FL. My inlaws live there, so we would have a legit reason to go there, but my spouse hates it. He lived there for a couple years as a kid.

              2. GrumpyBoss

                That was what I thought was so presumptuous. IF the job looked like it was the one I wanted, and IF the compensation made it worth my while, I still had the spousal factor to deal with. Not everyone handles the humidity well. I’d have an easier sell moving my husband to Alaska than I would to FL!

              3. the gold digger

                I worked in Miami for a couple of years. If I could live in Miami again, near the water, near a place where I could get pastelitos de guyaba and medianoches and platanos maduros whenever I wanted, I would happily return. But there is no place else in Florida that appeals to me.

              4. De Minimis

                Yeah, for me it’s quite the opposite. Florida is on my list of states I’d never consider….don’t have anything personal against it and I’m sure it’s great for many, but there’s nothing about it that appeals to me.

                1. Mallory

                  Me, either. I have the (perhaps mistaken?) notion that Florida has been ruined by the masses of people who were dying to live there and acted on it. I think of it as so overrun with people that it has lost the charms that would have drawn me there (if there ever were any for me).

            4. Xay

              I loved living in Florida – except the idea that the perks of living in Florida in any way make up for the low pay. Sunshine and no income tax only make up for so much.

      2. Michele

        I worked for a company like that the first time I moved to NYC. When I moved to the city 16 years ago I had no clue how much it actually cost to live here. Big mistake. Lesson learned!

    2. Relosa

      Ugh, I fear I run into this sometimes. I work in attractions/tourism/hospitality, so of course many of the positions I want are in well, touristy areas. But I wouldn’t relocate for a job I wasn’t suited for or excited about, especially given the cost of living in the high-traffic, populous states – I’m willing to move there and pay the cost of living there, but only because I love my job as MUCH as I like the location and climate.

  7. DrAtos

    This is really unfair. I read a blog post recently about how one’s birthplace can determine one’s economic future (http://www.nextnewdeal.net/millennial-pulse/graduated-and-living-your-parents-you-may-be-luckier-you-think) . This is just one of many advantages that graduates from affluent families have over graduates from lower income families.

    I grew up in a very economically depressed city that I never wanted to return to, but I was forced to move back home after graduation. I applied to many jobs out of state and could not find anything. I was finally lucky to receive a great job offer out of the country. Now that I want to return to my country, I am at a huge disadvantage because I am still living abroad and I am not originally from the cities I am focusing my job search on. I am more than willing to pay for my relocation expenses and move out immediately for the right job.

    I seriously wonder if I’ll ever be able to move to a desirable city in my mother country or if I’ll be stuck abroad forever. I don’t want to move back without a job offer because I have a good paying job abroad I can’t afford to lose.

    1. Anon

      LIfe is what you make of it. I grew up either lower middle class or high poverty. My father was disabled and couldn’t work and my mother died when I was in high school. To make ends meat, I worked 25+ hours a week in high school and 40hours a week during the summer. The day I moved to college, which i paid for with loans and working every hour I could get my hands on, was the day I started on my own. Where my father lived, had little to influence where I ended up in life. Just a note, I graduated college less than 8 years ago.

      1. matcha123

        I don’t really agree with that.
        If you don’t have any obligations, for example, your family isn’t looking to you for help with expenses/you don’t need to take care of younger siblings/etc, then yes, you can do whatever you need to to work your way up.

        I don’t know how old you are, but when I was in high school we were limited by law to 14hrs or less per week. And if you need that money to pay to keep the gas on, you’re not really saving…

        That’s not to take away from what you’ve done, but I don’t think that it’s easily applicable to everyone’s situation. A parent who is struggling to find work isn’t necessarily an alcoholic. If you don’t have a family network, friends or money things can get really hard…

        1. Calla

          Working full time, even if it’s retail, isn’t as easy as just going to the mall and filling out an application anymore, either. A lot of people don’t want to hire full time. There goes the 40 hours a week during the summer to help you save for college. 20 hours might be do-able. And yeah, you can get more than one job, but then you have the trouble of hoping they’ll be willing to work around each other instead of scheduling over one another. Or the second job means more gas and that means the paycheck from the second job goes straight into your tank–I’ve seen this.

          Like you said, it’s wonderful and admirable when people can do it, and it’s not impossible–but we need to understand that when you’re working from the bottom, there are usually multiple barriers to each level. “I did it” doesn’t mean it’s an even playing field and anyone can do it.

        2. Dan

          At some point, you’re an adult and have to live your life for yourself, whether or not your family approves. You are not responsible for the choices the rest of your family makes. They are not entitled to hold you back.

          1. fposte

            It’s not that they’re holding young people back, it’s that they’re the cheapest option for unemployed/underemployed young people.

            And for all people might want to argue that those young people should be able to find someplace on their own in a different area, the fact is that they’re less likely to.

            1. Dan

              I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing. The person that I replied to (or tried to) said that it’s difficult when family is looking to them for support or to help with the kids or whatever. I don’t read that as “being the cheapest option for unemployed/underemployed people.”

              1. fposte

                You’re right–I was responding to the article DrAtos linked to, not matcha’s comment. Sorry for the confusion.

          2. Xay

            I agree with you. That said, many times it is easier said than done to walk away from your family. Especially in cultures where children feel obligated to care for their parents or where people have younger siblings that they provide for in lieu of their parents.

            1. Calla

              Yeah, just think of how hard it is for people to break away from *abusive* families. Saying “Not gonna let you hold me back anymore, bye!” to a family you grew up with loving, still love, and who maybe has just had a lot of hardship and bad luck? Saying “I’m not responsible for your choices” to little siblings when you know if you don’t provide for them, their/your parents certainly won’t? Way easier said than done, *before* even considering cultural contexts that strengthen that.

              I’ve definitely seen situations where a family does just fine and the parents make some mistake or didn’t save for retirement or something like that, and a child has to support them; in cases like that, I can definitely see it being reasonable to say “I have done this for years, I can’t do it anymore, I need to think of myself.” But that’s not always the situation that’s happening.

            2. Dan

              Many times? Probably all of the time. My ex came from a pretty messed up family. Lots of finger pointing as to who’s fault various things were. But there was one thing that was very consistent: Nobody would ever admit that they were in control of their own actions, and that what was happening was a direct result of the choices that they made.

              But you know what I realized after being married to all of that? At some point, you’re responsible for yourself. You can blame everybody else all you want, but it’s your life, and your pickle to deal with and get yourself out of. Nobody’s going to do it for you.

              It’s like Smokey the Bear and “Only YOU Can Prevent Forrest Fires!” At some point, you’re an adult and only YOU can get yourself out of the mess you’re in.

              None of this makes it easy, but at some point, one has to stop blaming family, when the reality is that someone is choosing to continue with the status quo.

        3. DrAtos

          It is easy for people who have made it to quickly blame the millions upon millions of people both young and old who have either been laid off or who were never able to find a good job after graduation that it is their fault because they did not work hard enough. It is easier to to say “life is what you make of it” rather than place blame on those who are at larger fault. Those in Washington, who run corporations, who run schools that charge insanely high tuition, who run HR departments unwilling to step into the 21st century and give people a chance to interview over Skype. I know classmates who have had to struggle. Some have been unemployed for over three years. Long-term unemployment is a serious issue across the developed world right now. Don’t trivialize it or say that these people didn’t try to make something of their lives. Graduating in 2005 as opposed to 2009 makes a huge difference between having a job and possibly being unemployed for life. I feel lucky everyday that I have a job that pays over $50k in a low-cost area that would be equivalent to making $75+k in NYC or LA. I know people who moved abroad to teach ESL and make less than half of what I make. I don’t tell them that “life is what you make of it”. I recognize how incredibly lucky I am and that I could be where they are if my boss had simply decided to hire another candidate just as smart and equally qualified. And it is absurd not to ignore the huge income inequality that exists in America right now and that people from affluent families do have a major advantage in terms of connections, geographic location, and the safety net to take low-wage or unpaid internships that can lead to job offers. Success depends on hard work but it also depends largely on connections, luck, and chance.

      2. Mirily

        Number 5 happened to me. A couple months ago I found a job that would’ve been perfect: it matched my experience, my skills, my personality. It just happened to be in a city 10 hours south of where I currently live. I drove down for an in-person interview, everything went well, logistics were discussed and references requested but they ultimately weren’t comfortable having me move for them.

        They went so far as to say they loved me and when I make the move down there to follow up on positions that may be opening up soon.

        Having graduated from college a year and a half ago, it’s incredibly easy for me to pick up and leave – everything I own came from Target and there’s only one room of it- IF I already have a job offer. Employers unfortunately don’t exactly see that. The only viable option I’ve found is to save money and make the leap to whatever city I want to be in and then hope/wish/pray for a job, but in this economy that seems completely crazy.

        1. Jennifer

          I’ve given up on moving away. I just am not comfortable flying by the seat of my pants moving and hoping that I get a job after a move, especially if I don’t have someone I can sponge off of indefinitely or family that I could stand to move back in with if the try fails. But pants-flying is the only option. I’m not that special or valuable and if I can’t find another job I qualify for here, how the hell am I going to do that in another city?

        2. LSmith

          Agreed. It was easy for me to move, IF I had a job offer. I was caught in between a rock and a hard place- no employer would consider me out of state, and I had a hunch(and later found out) that if I moved there without a job, no employer would consider me because I was now unemployed. I moved from IL to MI. I will never, ever do a similar move again. It cost me tens of thousands of dollars and only by the luck of my former employer did I land back on my feet when I finally gave up and moved back to IL. I never had any trouble at all finding a good job in Chicago. The quality of jobs in MI was awful.
          I think you have to consider several things when moving to a new location prior to having a job offer. 1- Will an extended bout of unemployment (likely) have a negative effect on my career? That is likely for most of us. 2- Do I really have enough savings to last 6…7..8 months until I find something once I get to my new location? 3- Is it really worth it to move? It wasn’t for me, losing all that money and potentially raising red flags for future employers once they see my only (large) gap of unemployment. It was a horrible experience. I would strongly discourage others from moving anywhere without having a job lined up first. All of the advice out there says, tell potential employers what you’ve been doing with your time, and take training courses and go to networking events- all of these things cost a tremendous amount of money! And, since employers are so incredibly cheap these days, there’s a good chance no employer will offer you a position out of state. I am not typically so risk adverse but this experience made me so. It was so bad.

      3. Dan

        Same here. I grew up in rural MN/WI, and now live in Metro DC. I’m here because of me and the choices I made; my parents have absolutely nothing to do with it.

        Given how many different industries are out here (I went to school here because of the local co-op opportunities), I’m a bit jealous of the young kids who can have a real job, but move back in with their parents to save a few bucks. I had to pay my own rent since I was 17, and damn that’s a lot of money over the years.

    2. literateliz

      Huh, that’s an interesting article. I’ve wondered about this from the opposite angle as a San Franciscan… whether raising kids here is setting them up to fall in love with a city that they’ll never be able to afford to live in as adults.

      Also, re: anon comment above… nobody is saying that you can’t make the most of your life no matter the circumstances or that being from an economically depressed city will automatically doom you to a life of unemployment, but it sure takes a hell of a lot more work to “make it” if you come from difficult circumstances, and it seems to me that your comment backs that up rather than negates it.

      1. Jamie

        If there is ever a class action suit for people to file against parents who raised them to be accustomed to areas they couldn’t afford as adults, let me know where to sign. I’m totally on board with suing my parents posthumously for that. :)

        It’s like with anything else, all parents can do is the best they can and life for all of us will work itself out. And people make do.

        Except when I meet someone from my old neck of the woods and they ask me why I don’t live there now…it really just comes down to the fact that I have a better standard of living when someone else pays the mortgage.

        1. Lucy VP

          Me too!

          In highschool (early 1990) my economics teacher told our class that if our parents didnt own their home there was almost no chance that we would ever be able to afford to buy a home in our community. It was a bit of a shock at the time but it was the truth.

          1. Jamie

            For me I’d have needed to be an only child. My mom did own the house outright – but no way could I have bought out my siblings shares.

            I really wish my parents had taken that into consideration when they selfishly chose to have children before me.

      2. Anx

        It’s a strange thing to pushed out of your hometown because you can’t afford it. It’s much more difficult to try to build a network from scratch away from the communities you first worked in and went to school in.

        1. Agree

          I feel you. I’m a longtime Seattle resident. Cost of living is significantly higher here than it was even five years ago, let alone 20 years ago. In some ways I’d like to move somewhere less expensive, but there is nowhere else I’d rather live.

      3. Mallory

        That’s what happened to my husband and Southern California. His parents raised him there, but he was nearly starving to death trying to live there as a young adult. He was barely able to afford a studio apartment, had to ride his old cheap bike everywhere, and subsisted on less food than he optimally needed. His mom would slip him grocery money or have him over for meals, and his buddy who made fairly good money as a paramedic would treat him to a hotdog sometimes. tl;dr: He just was not making it.

        His parents sold their modest, normal middle-class home there and, with those proceeds, were able to afford a giant McMansion here. My husband moved out here, too, and his standard of living improved exponentially.

        He’s still sad sometimes that he can never afford to live in his hometown, though.

      4. Ed

        I moved to SF in my late 20’s and left after only 3 months. I quickly evaluated the cost of living (and this was pre-9/11 when it was even worse) and figured out I would never own a home and most likely have roommates well into my 30’s. I moved back to the east coast and that was the smartest thing I have ever done. When I told my friends out there (lifelong SF residents) why I was leaving, they told me I was nuts. But it’s hard to appreciate the difference in cost of living if you have only lived in expensive areas. I now have an amazing house in a fantastic neighborhood with great schools for under $200K. Admittedly, the weather is a far cry from CA but I also like having four distinct seasons.

    3. Jamie

      The author seems to be basing her assumptions on the opportunity index linked in the article which for my county is so broad as to be meaningless.

      They only go to to the county level, not town. I’m in Cook County which has a grade of C+. Hundreds of neighborhoods and suburbs averaged out tells you nothing.

      Cook county contains both Winnetka with a per capita income of $202,867 (one of the richest in the nation) and Englewood – a Chicago neighborhood where it’s $11,553 (one of the lowest in the nation) and every deviation in between.

      I’m not trying to be pedantic as I understand her overall point is that some locations afford more opportunities than others – but for those clicking through to the page she linked I wanted to point out that any stats at the county level are so diluted as to be meaningless. At least in a county that without somewhat homogenous income levels.

  8. De Minimis

    BTW, if a vacancy listing specifies that relocation expenses have been authorized and will be paid, would you think that would mean they don’t care if people are from outside the area?

    1. fposte

      I think it means they’ll consider people from outside the area, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say “don’t care”–it’s quite possible there’s still a preference for the local who won’t need relocation.

      1. De Minimis

        I wish I had mentioned more about our desire to move to the area in my cover letter now….of course, if an internal candidate [I already work for this agency] applies to an area in another location I’d guess that would be a good indication that they are more than willing to move. This is in a popular city that a lot of people want to move to, but tends to have a somewhat tight job market.

        In my experience with my agency, it seems like we generally only pay relocation when jobs are hard to fill, although the only reason these jobs would probably be hard to fill are due to our hiring preference requirements [which thankfully I do meet!]

        1. fposte

          That internal stuff makes it sound a lot more like they know they want a bigger pool than they can get locally and are definitely up to talk to people from outside the area.

          1. De Minimis

            I think so too…I noticed they also had a pretty long date for the listing being open, I think at least a couple of weeks. At my workplace when we’ve already got a good idea of who to hire for a position, or if it’s for a job that we don’t think will be tough to fill, we usually keep the listing open only for a few days. I think that’s pretty common for federal hiring, so I’m thinking they may be looking all over the place.

  9. Michele

    I am waiting to hear if I will get a job in Seattle and I would be moving from NYC. The only way I will be able to afford the move is if they move me and from what I have been told they offer a great package. Fingers crossed. One my friends was offered an amazing opportunity with a company that is not in the greatest town in Oregon but he would have been stupid not to take it.

    1. MT

      Depending on where you are at in life, I made my first large move with only the stuff I could fit in my car. It’s really freeing to drop a bunch of crap you don’t need and with the savings from not hualing stuff, you can slowly start replacing things.

      1. Relosa

        This! I’ve moved something like 17 times since starting college, and I just learned what I do and don’t need to bring along, what i can and can’t replace. Right now if I got a job offer I’d still have to have a trailer ’cause Dog takes up half the car himself, but same concept applies. None of my furniture is really worth keeping, and I have plenty of friends I could live with temporarily while I found a place.

        1. GrumpyBoss

          I miss those days. My husband inherited a very large collection of rare books, which has made our moving not only heavy, but expensive. Once you get one thing you don’t want to part with, it just spirals from there. You rationalize things… “Since I already have these books, maybe I should step up from the IKEA special bookshelf”…. “Wow, the chairs in here look so awful next to my shiny new bookshelf. Let’s get a proper adult chair”…. etc

          I have a theory that humans are like gas. We will expand to fit our container. Go ahead and get that big house. In 2 years, you will have accumulated enough stuff to fill it.

          1. Relosa

            I definitely have a lot of “fluff” stuff that I couldn’t bear to part with, but none of it is huge and it would fit in the same unit with all the stuff I do actually need, so I consider it a win-win :)

          2. Kelly O

            Books are different. I have boxes stashed in closets because even though our apartment does not have room now, I know we will one day.

            (I’m one of those book freak people though. I cannot imagine giving them up.)

            1. GrumpyBoss

              My last move we had nearly 150 boxes of books. I love holding the older ones in my hands, feeling so connected to them.

              But you move that many boxes, and then you can understand why I am in a relationship with my eReader. Screw feeling connected. My back still hurts!

          3. Jamie

            I miss those days, too, when you could just pack a trunk and start over – life was an adventure.

            I have moved 8 times carting around a piano no one plays. It was my mom’s and I can’t bear to part with it – but it’s sole function is to give me something to dust and hold up some family pictures.

            That’s why I’m never moving again – I would love to because I really miss the excitement and organization of a move where you go through everything and it’s so fun to decorate a new place…but no. I’ll continue my love hate relationship with my house until I die because I’m not paying to move that thing again.

            1. Lora

              +1. I have, which I cannot part with:

              -My piano, which I do play
              -Antique china collection from my paternal grandmother
              -Bunch of fancy crystal from my maternal great-grandfather
              -Really nice leather couch
              -Various pieces of antique furniture
              -My elderly mother who can’t afford to live on her own, and her Pacific Northwest Native American art collection.

              I had a relo package once that said they would not move antiques, art, or musical instruments because too delicate and their insurance wouldn’t cover it. Called the company back and said, this is not a relo package I can use, I need a cash payout and I will sort out the movers. After some dickering in which I had to explain quite a lot to my engineer boss (who had nothing but Ikea and the occasional Ethan Allen sofa), they made it a sign-on bonus, but jeez. Definitely read the fine print on the relocation stuff.

        2. MT

          Thats why I only buy furniture that I would be willing to trash in 3 years. I have two rules when moving, if it cost more to move it then its worth, then its trash. Furniture is only worth keeping for one move, if that.

          1. Relosa

            Yep! I think the only thing I’d really want to move if I got a job right now is my bed – it’s in good shape, still worth a bit, and I got it for free.

            1. MT

              I think my bed is the most expensive thing i own. My wife had surgery last year, and she wanted a new bed. So we splurged on a high end king bed.

          2. De Minimis

            My wife collects vintage/antique furniture, much to my regret….makes moving even more stressful than it already is.

            1. GrumpyBoss

              I had a friend who was on an expat assignment in Asia, and his wife bought a ton of antique furniture in China. She loves it and they bought their home back stateside with this furniture in mind. While it is gorgeous, imagine the cost of having that shipped back to the US!

        3. Michele

          I am quite the pro with the cross-country move. My last move to NYC I only brought what could go in a box. This time I do have a few pieces of furniture I want to bring but everything else can go in a box and I will probably use the same company that I used the last time. Knock wood this move happens. 12 years in NYC has been long enough!

      2. Ed

        I’ve done this several times. Even my last move of 4 hours away at age 39 didn’t involve any trucks. I would load my SUV up every time I made the trip to my new house. I didn’t have nice furniture so I decided it was actually about the same cost to sell most things (and give away the rest) and then buy new stuff. I don’t get attached to material possessions so it was a purely a financial decision. My dressers, bed frames, dining room table/chairs, etc. all fit in my SUV (though took a lot of trips). And then I think I paid about $4K for new mattress sets and a really nice living room set, including delivery.

    2. GrumpyBoss

      Good luck! Make sure you negotiate what they offer. I promise you, the initial relo package will not be enough!

      1. MT

        Great point. If the company can not up the relocation package, see if they can tack on more to your starting salary to cover other moving expenses.

          1. MT

            Some times its different things. I have it where the company will pay for the movers and reimburse up to a certain amount for some expenses. Others I had to pay everything out of pocket then get reimbursed. On the reimbursment part, there is usually a limit on how much they will pay out.

          2. GrumpyBoss

            It really depends. I’ve experienced myself (as both manager and relocating employee):

            Give us your receipts up to $x and we’ll reimburse. If you don’t use it all after a move, we’ll pay the balance.

            Here is a lump sum of $x, use it how you wish.

            Here is the company you must work with. They bid on the job and will bill is directly. Have fun.

            Here is an itemized list of what we will pay for: $x for packing materials;$y for temporary housing;$z for teapots….. Anything above and beyond these amounts/categories, and you are on your own.

            1. manager anonymous

              When I relocated, the company said that they would pay one month’s salary in relocation costs plus two flights to the new location to scout a home and closing. The actual cost exceeded that by 4,000. I thought I would have to eat it but my manager’s supervisor authorized the expense. It was quite the relief and I didn’t start my new position at a deficit.

      2. Michele

        Thank you! HR just sent me an e-mail and I have what I hope is the call scheduled for tomorrow.

      3. IKEA

        I was offered $500 for moving expenses for the 80-mile move from my college apartment to my first job. When your furniture consists of an ikea loft bed, a card table, and some plastic chairs you *might* have swiped from your college, that money goes a long way. Unfortunately I was naïve and assumed it would be a cash payout and not reimbursement, and the ancillary expenses like a new drivers license and real furniture added up.

    3. periwinkle

      I recently moved from DC to Seattle, but with no relocation package. We took the opportunity to start fresh – got rid of a huge amount of stuff we didn’t need, packed little more than our cats and a carefully curated selection of clothes, books, kitchen stuff, and computer stuff. Like MT, we’re gradually buying what we need after getting the basics. It cost a lot more to move the cats than the rest of our goods! (moving containers FTW – we used Door2Door and got everything into a single 5’x7’x8′ container)

      FYI, we moved due to my successful long-distance acquisition. We had intended to target Seattle and a couple other cities for a potential move; I was incredibly fortunate to score on my first attempt thanks to a little networking.

  10. Suzanne

    I worked at company last year that hired almost all out of town people for the division I worked in. I am convinced it was purposeful because they completely mis-represented the job and the hours involved. I ended up returning to my former job after 6 months, tired of the 50-60 hour work weeks, week-ends included ( job was billed as M-F with occasional overtime). I’m pretty sure they don’t pay to relocate, or if they do, it is minimal, but I think they are seeking out of towners because they will be less likely to get fed up and quit. They won’t have connections in town, no network to fall back on, and so will be pretty well stuck.

  11. Relosa

    Alison, how do you recommend approaching the Skype/Live interview part? For example, I am trying to relocate long-distance, and I already know to talk about why I want to move there (lots of experience in the area, cultural fit, climate, love of the industry that’s booming there, etc). Is this something you’d recommend mentioning on the cover letter, similar to relocation expenses, or is it something I should avoid entirely and let them approach?

    “I’d love to talk more about this position with you. For your convenience I am available for interview either in person or via Skype.” Not best example, but along the lines of how I’d close the letter.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I’d be more direct: “While I’m currently living in Florida, I plan to relocate to Columbus shortly and can be there on short notice to interview (or, of course, am available by phone or Skype).”

      1. Relosa

        Great, thanks! I’m sending off a bunch of applications tonight, so I’m glad I saw this post first.

  12. Cruciatus

    What’s considered long-distance? Anything not directly in the city? Do employers see a difference between a 2 hour drive and a cross country flight? I live in a small city that is 2 hours away from 3 bigger cities in 3 different states. I’ve applied to one city more than others, namely because I have family there (where I could stay for an interview, or even for a time if I moved to that city until I got a place of my own). It’s entirely possible that my resume and application just haven’t been what any of the employers in that city have been looking for, but I haven’t heard a peep from anyone in the 6+ months I’ve been applying. I have been looking at more entry level administrative jobs which are probably easier to fill (though they do still require quite a bit of experience, which I meet). But could they see my address for another state and just say “nope!”?

    1. Calla

      I think it probably depends on what state you live in (i.e. one with an easy commute with different commute options where lots of people do it vs. one where you have to drive in notorious traffic), but you surely have a better chance in state than out of state. It can still be a question though.

      When I first moved to MA, I was living about an hour drive outside Boston, or a little over an hour and a half by public transportation. I definitely had interviewers ask me about the commute and if I was sure I could do it. But I also know people who commute from New Hampshire because there’s a commuter rail that goes right out there, so it’s more normalized. If I was living back home in Texas though and applying for jobs in Dallas from my hometown 2 hours away, that might be different.

      1. Cruciatus

        But if I got the job it wouldn’t be a commute. I’d move there, and have the means to do so ASAP. I could stay with family for a while until I had my own apartment. Interviewing would obviously be more time consuming, but not bad. I’ve made the trip there and back in one day so many times before.

        1. fposte

          Sure, it could affect you. Are you including your intention to move and your family ties in your application? I wouldn’t leave it to a prospective employer to assume, otherwise there’s a risk that they’ll think you are planning to commute and any bad weather will make you a no-show.

          1. Cruciatus

            I do actually include that in the cover letter. No way would I commute that far. As it is, I’m bothered by my 20 minute commute!

        2. AnotherAlison

          I think in your case, a lot of it has to do with the work you’re targeting, as you suggested. Although I wouldn’t lie about it, I wonder if saying something like, “I am planning to relocate to NiceCity in 2014-2015 to be closer to family” would help. I don’t know how you’re phrasing it now, but I think the more specific you are about your intentions to relocate, the better. It doesn’t sound like you have the type of job where people move specifically for the work, so you need another way to show you’re serious about the move.

    2. doreen

      I suspect the two hours away has more to do with it than the different states. There are places near the border of two ( or more) states where crossing the border might be a 10 minute commute and conversely, there are places in the same state that are a 7 hour drive apart

  13. JuniorMinion

    I did this… I moved from NYC to Houston, TX about a year ago. It was definitely challenging from both a personal and professional standpoint as well as expensive (the employer I moved to work for was considering basically all local candidates otherwise, so there was no relocation package) – however I think there were a few things that helped me out

    1) I had a local referral and worked with people / clients in Houston extensively (this was probably the most helpful facet)
    2) I work in oil and gas banking so wanting to move to houston was sort of an obvious choice
    3) I had all phone interviews (12!! of them) so the location difference from an interview standpoint wasn’t a huge deal and I am junior enough that the fact that I wasn’t there in person wasn’t as much of an issue
    4) I work in an industry where people move across the world for a few years sometimes and where moving around is pretty common, so it raised less eyebrows

    Just my experience. Additionally I found that people respect the fact that I wanted to work in energy enough to move across the country to do this.. so there have been some positive dividends there as well.

  14. Dan

    Reading about long distance job searching here always fascinates me. In my field, long-distance job searching is the norm. I had one HR person call me and say, “This job is in Columbus, OH. Are you aware of this and why do you want to move here?”

    My work is specific enough that I really am relocating to work for an employer, and not moving to any random city and just trying to find a job.

    1. TK

      Yeah, I’m in a field closely aligned with academia, and thus moving cross-country for a job is the norm. It had never occurred to me til I read this blog that employers would hold being non-local against you.

      In my field, you simply can’t move somewhere and find a job– if you want a job, you have to move where it is!

      1. Eudora Wealthy

        What TK said.
        In academia, your odds of getting a great job are much better if you can relocate. Oftentimes, staying in the same town is impossible.

      2. Mallory

        I’m in academia (as an admin assistant) and we expect all our hires to be non-local. A typical search means that we pay to bring each of the top 3 – 4 candidates for two-day campus visit, and then we pay moving expenses not to exceed 10% of the negotiated annual salary. That’s just automatic and does not need to be negotiated.

        1. Mallory

          Not that we wouldn’t hire a qualified local; it’s just rare that that happens.

    2. Rye-Ann

      From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty normal in my field too, but at the same time, there are probably going to be local candidates, and if so I’m probably at a disadvantage compared to them. x.x

  15. KCS

    I live in Chicago, and I recently accepted a job offer in NYC. The HR person actually told me I was the only out-of-state candidate being considered and everyone else was local. So I was flattered when they extended an offer.

    Some things (I suspect) overcame the out-of-state barrier:

    -I stated in my cover letter that my family and I were relocating to the NY area to be closer to our families and we would not require relocation assistance.
    -I stated on my resume (above my address): “Relocating to New York, NY”
    -I went to college and used to work in New York (over 10 years ago).
    -My skills and experience strongly lined up with the job description. Luckily, for the last couple years, I’ve been immersed in an area that is up-and-coming, so having that unique set of skills helps.
    -The company has many remote employees across the country.

    They did pay for my final interview flight and cab fare.

    Interestingly, I got a number of interviews on the East Coast despite my Chicago address, so I think if your resume is strong and you have some personal connection to the area, it helps a lot.

  16. Burrill G

    Interesting, though a bit naive. First, covering moving and interview expenses; I have encountered this a lot and jobs that require moving, if the employer is not covering moving, they pretty much state in no uncertain terms that they will not pay for any moving expenses, there is no grey area here. And jobs which the employer will pay all or a percentage of moving expenses, they state that pretty clearly as well. As far as employers feeling “guilty” if the job doesn’t work, seriously? Uh, they don’t care what impact is has on the employee, because it has not effect on them. If the job doesn’t work out, that’s as far as it goes; there is no difference whether it is a local or someone who moved from the job, the only consequence for the employer is that they have to start the search again, but past that….again, don’t care. I moved from LA to Seattle for a job, ostensibly for 12 months, with a major IT company. After 6 months they let a bunch of us go. In addition, when I first arrived I found out that I was the third or fourth person that had been in the role. In the temporary/ contract job market today, ending a contract is common place. Any hardship that places on someone is of absolutely concern to an employer. THEY DON’T CARE. Welcome to the real world.

    1. BRR

      I’m sorry you had such a poor experience but there are people who leave things behind to relocate for a job and employers who do feel bad if they need to let the employee go. Just because it happened one way for you does not mean it is universal.

  17. GigglyPuff

    Was actually thinking about this yesterday. I’m thinking about applying heavily to jobs on the West coast during my next search (but there are no family or people’s who addresses I can borrow), I’m currently in the South, and well feel like I’m stuck in a rut, and I’m at a good point in my life to experiment a little with where I want to live, (few ties, no obligations besides my pet, and friends already scattered about the country).

    I was wondering if in my cover letter to positions in PNW, would it be appropriate to mention at the bottom, along the lines of “I’m looking forward to returning to the area”? That way they aren’t completely put off by my being across the country? Or think I’ll wimp out with the climate/culture differences…and I’m not implying I’ll be job hopping while looking for a nice place to live, I know from past experience, I would have no problem sticking it out a year or two, if I’m unhappy with the area.

    1. BRR

      You are from that part of the country I think employers would look favorably that you would be returning versus applying to random jobs.

    2. GigglyPuff

      Forgot to mention, main point, I did spend several years growing up in the PNW, so it’s not a random pick of location.

  18. Ellie

    I’ve been doing a lot of long distance interviewing, since there is no jobs really available where I live and I don’t have a car, so I am looking at major metro areas with subway systems. When interviewers ask, “Why are you relocating?” what should I say? I feel like they want something like “My family lives here”, “Moving for husband’s work” etc. I really am just moving because honestly, I will move anywhere I can find work. Although I obviously do not want to be that blunt.

    1. BRR

      Are these cities a lot larger? You could mention how you want to live in a bigger city.

    2. James M

      I think you can get away with just “I find the opportunities and culture in [location] appealing”.

      I wouldn’t say “On the river of life, [Hometown] is fetid backwater.” however true it might be.

  19. Callie30

    This is right on point! We’ve been hiring for a vacancy with one of our part-time positions and have had a multitude of out of area and out of state applicants apply.

    In our description, it clearly states this is PART-TIME and in interviews, the applicants are briefed on what the position entails and are asked whether they can feasibly re-locate to the area. All said yes.

    Well, we offered the position to several qualified applicants who were out of area and each of them declined saying that they couldn’t re-locate for a part-time position. Then, why apply and say they could in the interviews?

    Some advice to job-seekers out there – Don’t apply to an out-of-area job unless you’re very serious about the position. Don’t waste a company’s time if you’re not serious about the position. Looking into relocation for a position takes a few minutes of online research. Please do your research before you apply, as to not waste your own time or the time of the company. Just a few thoughts based on recent experience.

    1. De Minimis

      I don’t understand how they could not realize it was part-time if it was stated in the listing. In general it’s good to give as much info as you can in the listing to avoid situations like that. I know when I was looking I considered some positions that would have required relocation, and got to the interview stage or sometimes the screening stage, only to find out the job did not pay enough to make the relocation worth doing.

      1. Callie30

        It was stated clearly in the postings and in the phone interview, as well. They were well aware. This is a part-time position at a non-profit and it’s fairly paid as a part-time position.

        Most people we’ve had in this position are local and our current candidate is local. We also had one person last year accept the position, move to the area from the East Coast, and then email us a week before the position started saying she had been offered a better job in the area and was declining ours (this happened over a month after she accepted – Talk about bad faith). She claimed that she had applied way back and they had just contacted her.

        Needless to say, we haven’t had great success with out-of-state applicants – Many times seemingly due to the applicants not doing their research beforehand or not being honest in the interview, perhaps to look good.

        1. AnotherAlison

          Why not just add “only local candidates will be considered” or something? I’ve seen that often enough.

          1. Callie30

            Yes – Going forward, we will be making a note in the description that says ‘Out of state applicants – Serious inquiries only’, or something similar.

            1. De Minimis

              Yes, I wouldn’t 100% disqualify out of state people, sometimes there are situations where it can work out, even for part-time. Maybe a couple is moving to the area and one partner has a full-time job and the other just wants part-time work while they are getting settled into the area.

      2. Ali

        I had this happen to me once too. I applied for a job I would’ve liked which would’ve required a move of about 1-2 hours away, so hardly long distance in the grand scheme of things. It wasn’t until the employer called that they said oh the job is only 6-7 months with possibility for continued employment. I wish they’d put that in the posting so I could’ve saved my time! No way I can move for that, even though one of my friends was like why didn’t you just take the chance?

        1. Tinker

          “one of my friends was like why didn’t you just take the chance?”

          This right here might go some ways to explain that phenomenon — personally, I got the lines in a lot of my job searches of “Don’t cut off your options,” “You can always decide when you get the offer,” “You’re just being too picky” with regard to things like not applying to mid-level positions in entirely different fields, as a new graduate.

          I didn’t follow this advice near as often as it was given, because I couldn’t quite see myself applying to companies where I had nothing beyond “I’ve got a… degree in something?” for reasons why I had applied to them, much less why they should hire me. But if I had been so inclined, I could definitely have ended up in equally absurd situations.

          That sort of thing doesn’t seem to have gotten any less intense lately — actually, I was at a party over the weekend where one of the other guests was engaged in tearing down a young person she knew of (who was not present) on very similar lines. If it comes down to possibly wasting one’s own time and that of an abstract company (neither of which probably seem very valuable at all) in order to head off internal and external pressures of that type, it’s not so surprising that the latter is going to win out.

      3. College Career Counselor

        Because people don’t read these things carefully and/or are desperate. I once was on a search committee for an employer relations director (the person in career services who reaches out to employers about recruiting on campus and through other means). 30% of the responses I got were from people who spoke of their interest in and experience in employee relations (where, among other things you help manage communiation between the organization and its employees).

        1. BRR

          My title is Research Analyst. It’s in the development department of a university. My boss told me the first step was to take out dozens of resumes who saw university and research and applied with a science background.

  20. Sabrina

    Yeah, I think I have to give up my long distance job search after more than a year of rejections. I really hate the city we live in and desperately want to move closer to home, it’s just not happening. I’ve stated that I’m willing to pay for all travel and relocation expenses, and it hasn’t made a difference. It just doesn’t help my overall outlook.

    1. Ali

      I’m having the same problem. My area basically has nothing available unless I wanted to work in a call center, retail or healthcare…or some other blue-collar job. I tried looking in other areas, including one I can easily get to without needing an employer to pay. I got interest from one employer who basically told me I looked like a good candidate but to let them know if I moved. Blah.

    2. Susan

      I gave up too. It’s just job searching takes a lot of time and I wasn’t even getting interviews for the out-of-state positions, so it seemed more logical to stick to in-state apps, even if they’re not in my desired field. I think if you have the money and you’re young (i.e. no spouse/kids to uproot), it’s best to just move somewhere with a lot of jobs in your industry and start applying when you’re already there. Not a lot of people are in that financial situation, though.

  21. Super Anon For This

    I’ve been considering a move from SF to LA for a long time and now I’m starting to get serious about it. My reasons are:
    1) I have a health condition that’s improved by warm weather.
    2) I want to take my career in a more creative direction and it’s the right job market for that.

    Unfortunately, neither of those things are good to mention in a cover letter. Fortunately, I’m in a very niche field so I could say I’d like to move for the job I’m applying for.

    I’m trying to come up with a good back-up plan, though. My company does have an LA office, but it would make no sense for my position to be based there and the departments that are there are outside of my specialty. I fantasize about moving and then freelancing until I settle in, but it would look like a huge red flag on my resume. Ideas?

  22. Poe

    I’m super-late to the party here, but I moved from Canada to Europe without a job, though I had some Skype interviews before I left, and had lined up some interviews for when I arrived. I had never been to Europe before, so I imagine I was waving red flags everywhere. What I did was explain the reason for the move in my cover letter, and in my Skype interviews I made it a point to talk about my kind of philosophy on location. I’ll be moving countries again in about 18 months, doing the same thing. Hope it works twice!

  23. Hiring Manager

    I was burnt by an out of town applicant a couple years ago. After phone interviews, we went to a lot of effort to get approval to fly in a high level technical architect. He interviewed very well and we made him a good offer. He turned it down. It turns out that he used to trip to visit friends in the area which we found out from social media.

    I think there is still a place for bringing in out of town candidates but really would want them to have some sort of commitment.

    1. Onymouse

      Or he decided to visit some friends seeing as he was in the area. People turn down offers. It happens.

    2. MT

      I have used a interview trip to see family as well. I was up front with the company becuase I wanted the hotel booked closer to where my family was rather than where my interview was. The company didn’t care in the slightest. They even sprung for the larger room and the meals for my family.

  24. Anon

    I have been interviewing for out of state jobs for the last few months. IMO, it depends so much on the job and the employer. I have a MSc and while maybe it’s a more specialized field, I have no doubt there are plenty of quality local candidates.

    I think ultimately it just depends on the hiring manager, other applicants and the employer. I think some places are more open to an out of state candidate that’s the best fit and some just cared about putting a warm body in the role. It’s not something you can even predict either, as I’ve had multiple interviews for different positions within the same (large) company and there’s so much variation between individual managers.

  25. A.B.

    I’m hoping to relocate to NYC in the near future. I’m not having any luck applying for jobs in the media field which is competitive, and also was my major. (Ideally I’d like to work behind the scenes in the news industry.) I’m young, in Appalachia, and feeling very stuck. Any advice?

  26. Jennifer

    Any thoughts on a somewhat more localized relocation, and if chances would be better? I’m looking for work in the next two states (about 4-5 hours one way, and 3 the other). The area I’m in now is ok, but I relocated here during grad school, and had expected to move after a few years. Job market isn’t great for my field either, and want to move closer to a major city where there’s more chances for work long term (looking around NC Charlotte or R-D areas, or Atlanta). I’ve been applying sporadically the last two years, but have only gotten one interview (I’m a contract employee so I’ve known my days were numbered so to speak, and been “selectively” applying when something caught my eye, so admittedly its not like I’ve been sending out dozens of apps every week). I’m wondering how much of it could be that I’m not local, if being just a few hours away is that big a deal? I’m definitely going to initiate the tips and suggestions about applying long distance and hope that helps too!

    1. SouthernSugarBaby

      Being a native North Carolinian, I would think very hard about NC as a whole. It is VERY tough to find a job down there. I, like you, am also out of state. I applied, applied, and applied, and the only interview that I got was for a job where I had specialized experience, meaning not many people have that certain expertise. Even still, someone more qualified got the position. NC is changing from manufacturing/textile to more of a technical career band. With that said, as plants close, dislocated rural workers are being pushed into more urban areas for work. Many of the jobs that are disappearing are not coming back. In addition, Money Magazine and CNN keep advertising NC as this “land of milk and honey”, “Best Place to Live” when they DON’T tell you that that is contingent on your skill set: IT/Software engineers/nurses have high job vacancies. I feel as if everyone else is scrambling for the view non-tech/non-STEM vacancies. And people tend to come here without jobs which swells the applicant pool. NC is getting lots of transplants from NJ, Rhode Island, and NY, and some from CT so much so that Cary, NC, a sub of Raleigh is often referred to as Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees. Nothing wrong with that, but I just keep hearing about PEOPLE coming but not bringing COMPANIES or JOBS.

      Also, the economy in NC, in my opinion is just not really diverse. Raleigh is state government, bio-technical/software engineering/or you work in some big name hospital as a nurse. Charlotte-banking or you work for the school system. Durham-you work for Duke. Many of the largest employers have the same career band or cluster which is great for an applicant, but horrible should companies merge or downsize.

      My advice would be to visit around. I try to do this twice a year. Also check out the NC Commerce website and a publication on the future of the NC workforce. Carolinians are very nice and accommodating which is why I love my home state. Call around NC joblink centers or shoot an email.

      HATE to sound negative, but this is coming from someone who is desperate to get out of a high cost of living rat race and return to NC. I’ve been trying for 3 years. Not entirely impossible, but difficult. Try other states like TX and yes ATL!

      1. Jen

        Thanks for the suggestions! I happen to work in one of the STEM fields (Env. Science/Geology), so in part that’s why I’ve considered NC. Unfortunately I’m a hard fit (research support at a national lab apparently isn’t appealing to environmental firms, either because I’ve not done reg work which is admittedly many firms bread and butter, or they see “research” on my resume and figure I’m not suitable for “real world” work :p), but I have looked at some positions at UNC and one I’d really like at BASF – hopeful something may come through.

        And I’m very glad to hear about Carolinians being nice and accommodating :) Another reason why I’m ok with leaving my current area, its been a somewhat hostile work environment since I’ve been here and I’m rather tired of it.

  27. SouthernSugarBaby

    I applied to a job in Raleigh NC. I am from the state and I was very pleased to find out that I had a phone interview. Well, I must have done pretty good because then came references, background check. There was no second interview required so no $ wasted. I was basically a top candidate until they reposted the position-then someone more qualified was selected. But the employer kept in touch with me all throughout the process and even called to make the ‘regret call’. I feel so fortunate that I was able to do a phone interview and be considered. It will definitely motivate me to keep applying! And the employer got a fancy thank you note as well!

    However, there was SPECIALIZED experience involved with this position, and I made sure I knocked my cover letter out of the ballpark. They were also impressed with how much I knew about the company. So preparation pays off!

    1. Jen

      Shame you didn’t get the position, but that’s great they at least kept you in the loop! Thanks for the reminder about researching companies!

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