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19 steps to landing a job in a different city

Want to pursue a job in a different city? It's tricky, but doable to do. The reason why it's tricky is because many companies prefer to hire locally to avoid transportation and relocation expenses, as well as the risks associated with hiring someone who may decide not to move after all.   

To compete successfully for out-of-town jobs, follow these steps:

1) Research target cities and select the one that best fits your lifestyle, career aspirations, comfort level, and income. Particularly target cities that have low unemployment in your field or industry. You can conduct such research online, such as on Business News Daily, through your local library and by speaking with current or former residents of the target city.

Take into account your interests and weather preferences when deciding where to move.

2) Firm up your relocation plans including move time frame so that you can tell prospective employers exactly when you will be moving to town. 

3) Learn about companies in the target area through sites like Hoovers and DNB. Research nonprofits through Charity Navigator or Charity Watch.

4) Sign up for local job boards. Receive job alerts for openings in your target city through well known national job sites such as Monster, Career Builder and Indeed.

5) Establish a local address to use on application materials. Use a friend’s or family member’s address or rent a mail box at a local Mail Boxes Etc, or similar company. If you opt not to establish a local address, make it clear on your application materials when you will be moving to the city.

6) Sign up to receive local news (such as the local newspaper's daily e-news blasts and the local Business Journal) to learn what’s going on in the community and about target companies so you can speak knowledgeably. Also read the news sections of target company web sites.

7) Join locally-focused LinkedIn groups, particularly job seeking and networking groups. Participate in discussions and establish relationships with members. Great question to ask a local group: "I'm moving to [CITY] soon. What are some of the best restaurants?" Locals love to share their advice.

8) Connect with locals on LinkedIn. Employers notice if you have a local network -- it helps assure them that you are really going to move to town. Ask locals about job leads -- they can be an enormous help.

Locals are often willing to help you get acclimated to your new city. Ask for their help and advice!

9) Follow your preferred companies on LinkedIn. By doing so, you alert the companies that you are interested in them. To follow companies, click the magnifying glass next to the search box at the top of any LinkedIn page and then click "Companies". Narrow your search by location, job opportunities, industry, company size, number of followers, or Fortune (magazine's) largest company status. 

10) Seek phone or Skype interviews to establish rapport with target companies. If they become well acquainted with you, they will be much more likely to arrange an in-person interview with you.

11) Visit your target city to make sure it's right for you. Seek to set up informational interviews and job interviews before you arrive. Make sure your target companies know time to meet with you is of the essence. 

12) Take a class at a local college and make it clear on your application materials that you are doing so, even if it is through distance (online) learning. It makes you sound more local and by being enrolled, you can access the school’s career center resources.

13) Enlist local recruiters in your search. Select recruiters who specialize in your field or industry. Learn more.

14) Join local associations and organizations. Help with projects from a distance. For example, write articles for their newsletter or sell ads by phone for their membership directory. Get to know members through LinkedIn, phone calls, etc. Particularly network with people within your target companies. Let everyone you interact with know you are seeking work in their city.

15) Be convincing in your cover letter that you are really moving to town. Mention the date you will make the move, why you are moving, mutual connections to the hiring manager or recruiter, and what you know and like about the city and the company.  

16) Let it be known if you are not seeking interview transportation and relocation expenses. Some companies may cover such expenses, but most companies prefer to hire less costly local candidates.

17) Consider temping or doing contract work in your new city while looking for work. Resist taking a lower level position lest you get pigeonholed into long-term work that you don’t want.

18) Change your city on your LinkedIn profile. To do so, go to Edit Profile and then click on the pencil icon next to your city at the top of your profile.

19) Most importantly, make it clear to hiring companies that you are:
  • The most qualified candidate for the job
  • Committed to making the move and sticking with their company
  • Worth the risk and expense to hire you

Prepare well to seek jobs in other cities. Doing so can make the move to your dream job in your target city a reality! -- Kathy

Related Article: 
Landing a job in a different country

What tips or comments do you have about landing a job in another city?
Share them via the Contact tab, and if we can be of help to you, let me know. Invite me to connect on LinkedIn -- Kathy Bernard


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