Rachel Farrell, Special to CareerBuilder
You've been looking for a job for months, to no avail, so you've decided to start fresh -- in a new city, in a different state, hundreds of miles away. Some people might think you're crazy, but expanding your job search might actually be the best thing you could do.
"People should not limit themselves to one area. There are many jobs in specific fields that are hot in certain geographic locations [and not so hot in] others," says Gina Kleinworth, social media coordinator for HireBetter in Austin, Texas. "In these times when jobs can be scarce, you must be open to going where the jobs are. They are not going to come to you."
While submitting your résumé to an out-of-state employer is a good way to ramp up your job search, it's not without challenges. Job seekers may worry that hiring mangers may not consider their résumé as seriously as a local candidate, for example, but that's not necessarily true.
"At first, hiring managers may be inclined to consider candidates that are local or within commuting distance. But as the search continues they can become more open to candidates that are applying from out of the area," Kleinworth says. "Hiring someone from out of the area can be a great way to bring in top talent that you wouldn't otherwise find in your local area."
The level of the position can also be an obstacle when you apply for a job out of state. An executive out-of-state applicant might be more appealing to an employer than an entry-level candidate, for example.
"Generally, entry level jobs are more abundant," Kleinworth notes. "You normally see people relocating for a job because it is a step above their current level, a great new opportunity or is in a more desirable location. This usually isn't the case with entry-level positions."
Other obstacles that job seekers might consider when searching for a job in a different state include:
- Lack of contacts
- Fewer (or no) opportunities to attend networking events
- Traveling for multiple interviews
- Difficulty obtaining current and accurate information on the local job market
While it may seem like the odds are stacked against you, it's important to remember that you're going to face difficulties whether you're searching locally or out of state. And like all challenges, there is a way to overcome them, if you just know how.
Here are eight best practices and tips that job seekers should keep in mind when submitting their résumé out of state, according to Kleinworth and Barbara Babkirk, master career counselor and owner of Heart At Work Career Counseling in Portland, Maine.
1. Identify your career and personal goals
"Clarify the type of job want. Are you interested in changing careers or just employers?" Babkirk asks. "Where do you want to live, including location and type of residence? What is your ideal time frame for moving?"
2. Write a job description that reflects what you want and use it as a benchmark
"Know what is necessary or negotiable for you in terms of: salary and benefits, responsibilities, physical work environment, colleagues, skills and workplace culture," Babkirk says.
3. Research the new location
"Look at the quality of the schools if you have children, make sure the housing is acceptable and within your new price range, check out the crime rate where you'd be wanting to live, research the demographics, look into services available and how they compare with what you are looking for," Kleinworth says.
4. Identify and research key resources in your industry or career field
"Research the professional associations affiliated with your target job. The Encyclopedia of Associations, available in libraries and online, gives useful descriptions," Babkirk says. "Note the officers' names and the date and place of their annual conference. Plan to attend if possible. Contact the association's officers for help with networking."
5. Be rational
"Be realistic about what it will truly cost you to relocate if the new employer doesn't offer assistance," Kleinworth says. "Moving is expensive."
6. Network your way out of state
"Tell anyone you know of your plans to relocate. Ask if they know anyone who lives and works in your target location and if they would be willing to send an e-mail asking if you might contact them for networking," Babkirk says.
7. Stay focused on your goal and take specific steps each week toward it
"Before you know it, you'll be living and working where you want to be," Babkirk encourages.
8. Don't give up
If you are committed to finding the perfect job -- it does exist and you can have a job you love in a place you love living in.
Rachel Farrell researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.com. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.