A long-distance job search is very similar to a local one. However, there are some additional things to keep in mind when looking for a job out-of-state:
Focus your job search. As with all searches, knowing what you want and where you want to be now and (possibly) in the future is a vital component of your “sales pitch.” Know yourself and you will be better able to make career decisions that will satisfy you into the future.
Stay organized. Keeping detailed records of your applications, research, contacts, and follow-up will help to ensure that you do not miss an important step in the process.
It can be very expensive to move. Investigate moving costs in advance. Make a detailed budget to plan for all possible expenses.
It is often easier to find a job if you can move to the area first. However, this is often not financially feasible, so… visit the place you wish to relocate to at least once to do preliminary reconnaissance and again later for interviews. Try to arrange as many interviews and meetings as you can for your time there.
The address you use on your resumé can make employers think twice. They may feel it is inconvenient to hire someone from out of state. Ask a local friend or relative if you can use their address and phone number for your job search, and make sure that they will pass on any mail and phone messages and that your name is included on their voicemail message. If this is not possible, be clear in your cover letter about your plans to relocate, giving your moving date. Let employers know when you will be in town in advance of your move, so that they know when you will be able to interview.
Research the cost of living, economic climate, and key industries and companies in the area to which you wish to move. Also, researching housing, typical weather, neighborhoods, and recreation resources will help to ensure that you make your decision to move with as much information as possible. Employers will want to make sure that you are invested in your new environment so that you will stay for the long-term.
The Internet is an invaluable tool in the long-distance search. Online job listings are available for every state. Visit the Feld Career Center for more information on state and industry-specific sites. Read the business section of area newspapers online or in print to get valuable information.
Rely on multiple sources of job leads including posted ads (online and in print), family contacts, friends, alumni, and other networking resources.
Be proactive! Make calls, set up informational interviews, follow up with thank-you notes and a phone call. You can create your own luck.
Network. Professional associations often have local chapters that are a great resource for the newcomer. Try to schedule your visit to coincide with a chapter networking event. There are BU alumni clubs in many cities; these groups can be a great way to make friends and network. Finally, online message boards are a helpful and frequently overlooked way of networking. In all cases, be professional and positive in your interactions and communications.
Be prepared to travel to interviews at short notice. Is this in your budget?
Follow up. Phone calls, thank-you notes, contacts, and referrals… they are all part of a stellar job search.
Plan your long-distance job search strategy with the help of a career counselor from the Feld Career Center.