Running an Effective Long-Distance Job Search

Tips to help keep you in the running with hiring managers when you want to relocate.

Now that you’ve decided you want to relocate and your calculations tell you that the financial math is on your side and you can afford to relocate, there’s still one small detail to work out — getting the actual job.

Hiring managers across the country are being bombarded with resumes from qualified candidates within their own city, which makes it tough for an out-of-towner to get recognized. To make matters even more challenging, some companies use computer programs to scan each resume to weed out undesirable characteristics such as distant zip codes.

Rachel Dotson, a communications manager at the job-distribution service, says don’t fret. She recommends that job seekers looking to relocate should leave their address off the online resume forms. Or if that doesn’t work, use the address of a family member or friend that’s in the market where the job is.

“It’s a little misleading,” Dotson said. “But that way you don’t get your resume automatically thrown out.” She added that tricking a computer and tricking a real person are two totally different things, so once you get to the level where you’re dealing with a hiring manager make sure you come clean. “It’s tricky because you have to be honest about it,” Dotson said.

The cover letter is often an effective forum for explaining your situation, experts say. “Talk about the local market and specific stuff in that city,” she said. “Present yourself in a way that shows you’re going to be there regardless.”

Lynette Kittle of Colorado has moved for work multiple times with her husband — each taking turns as the job seeker who drove the relocation. “When first looking, we include in the cover letter ‘My family and I would like to relocate to….’ which seems to help,” Kittle said. “Once one of us has been hired, then the one of us who is still looking changes it to ‘My family and I are relocating to….’”. But nothing sells a relocation effort like good old-fashioned face time. “If the person already knows where they want to move they should go out and attend some career fairs,” Dotson said. “Being there in person shows how committed you are.”

When talking about your desired location, Dotson says job seekers should make sure they come off like a native. “You don’t want to sound like a tourist,” she said. “Ideally, you’ll have some sort of a connection.” That kind of intel can be attained by making local connections through social media sites, Dotson said, adding that job seekers should take advantage of all types of technology when pursuing a relocation.

Even the interviews can be done digitally. “Video interviewing is becoming a big thing for a lot of companies,” Dotson said. “Even people within the city are getting rid of the phone interview for the video interview.”

Consider Skype to be face time — but with a modern twist. It can be much more convenient for both sides involved, but Dotson warns job seekers not to get too comfortable with the process. “At least from the face up be presentable,” she said. “Don’t do it from a Starbucks or somewhere that’s noisy. … Treat them like any other interview.”

The next steps to figure out will likely involve plane tickets. By then you’ll be well on your way to your dream job — in your dream location.