With more people searching for work and fewer jobs available, you may choose to expand your job search, not only in terms of the types of positions you consider but also the locations where you look.
If the job market in your area has been hit especially hard, searching for employment in another city, state or even country could be a smart move. But looking for work outside of your immediate area presents many unique challenges. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Focus your search
The Internet makes it possible to explore job opportunities virtually anywhere in the world, so your first step should be to narrow your list of locations. How do you pare down the many possibilities? Look at a number of factors, including the cost of living in other areas, places you might like to live and locations where you have friends or family.
Keep in mind professional considerations, too. Which cities have the best job prospects? What is the state of your industry in other locations? Where is there demand for the type of work you do? Use the Internet to research places of interest as your list takes shape. You may even consider visiting a city that appeals to you to get a better sense of it or to set up informational interviews with potential employers.
2. Consult your network
Being hundreds or thousands of miles away from the job opportunities you seek can put you at a significant disadvantage relative to local candidates. Having a strong professional network can help level the playing field. Not only might your contacts be able to uncover additional job opportunities, but they could also provide valuable referrals to hiring managers contemplating whether to invest the extra time and effort in considering a long-distance applicant.
3. Be upfront
Explain in your cover letter why you are searching for a job outside your immediate area to address the first question every hiring manager will have. You might note, for instance, that you have long wished to work for a particular firm and are willing to relocate in order to do so. Or you may say that you will soon move to the city where you are seeking employment (if so, include a move date, so employers know you are serious).
4. Prepare for a phone interview
Chances are a hiring manager will conduct a phone interview before asking you to come for a face-to-face meeting to ensure a possible fit exists. When participating in a phone interview, choose a quiet place free of distractions, and have a copy of your résumé, cover letter and job posting on hand for reference. Don't conduct the interview using a cell phone unless absolutely necessary. And when speaking, try to smile. It sounds somewhat silly, but putting a grin on your face will help you come across as friendly and enthusiastic.
5. Be flexible
Unless you seek an executive-level position or possess skills in extremely high demand, you can't expect companies to go out of their way to recruit you. Therefore, you need to be flexible with the hiring managers who contact you. When possible, work around their schedules when arranging phone calls. Keep in mind that you may have to pay for your own travel arrangements if asked to an in-person interview. You also have to be willing to pay for your own move and relocation expenses if you receive a job offer.
6. Register with a large staffing firm
Working with a staffing firm can be valuable when conducting a long-distance job search because these firms often have offices in other cities. When registering with your local branch, mention that you are open to relocation. Your representative can share your résumé with colleagues in other places, and you'll be able to tap their knowledge of the ins and outs of the employment markets in their local areas.
Although a long-distance job search can be challenging, it also can open the door to opportunities that aren't available where you live, helping you move your career in a new and exciting direction.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.
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