Long-distance job searches can be difficult and stressful. The long-distance job seeker has the potential of being squeezed out of the running by local qualified candidates, and—from an employer’s perspective—why should they look outside of their own city with relocation requests? Your job search is tough, but a company’s ability to gauge potential applicants from a distance can be tougher. Use the following tips to give you an edge around the challenge of qualified local candidates:
Understand Why Employers Opt for Close-Range Candidates
A lot of employers see non-local candidates as a risk. They might leave abruptly, or never arrive at all. The candidate’s family, friends, or even real estate property can interfere with future start dates and increase that risk of the employee never, in fact, starting at all.
Local applicants are attractive because of their flexibility in being able to come into an interview. If a company has a need for a short hiring cycle, they will be less likely to schedule an interview that requires a week delay due to travel time arrangements. In order to address this, be as flexible as possible and make yourself available to meet the interviewing company’s timeline requests. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to a local candidate because you aren’t able to start or interview when they need you to.
Employers look for sustainability, security, and dependability. Long-distance candidates may raise a flag of instability—not only are you leaving your previous employer, you’re also moving into a new home that may or may not have a support system such as family in place. In your cover letter, consider sharing your reasons for relocation. Make your motives clear, and your future hiring manager is less likely to question your dedication to the location and the company.
Use a local address or no address at all, on your résumé. Family members or friends can be useful “host locations” for addresses if you do decide to include one, especially if you’ll be able to stay with them while looking for your own home. When conversing with the hiring manager, have a commonality and be familiar with the area. If you have spent time in the region, say so, as this will further connect you to the location. Be ready to discuss the situation with your hiring manager, and use the location as a foot-in-the-door technique.
It’s all about the List
Locate your target area’s employers and make a list of opportunities and key contacts. Finding employer hubs aids your research. Creating target areas capable of fulfilling your search guidelines will prioritize big-hitting opportunities—a city with a population of 100,000 is less likely to have opportunities that fit your criteria than a city of 1 million. If you’re targeting a bigger company, find a local office of that company to inquire about opportunities within their larger corporation.
Be flexible, quick, creative, and pursue your job opportunities. Distance is limiting, but you can make up the perceived disadvantage and reduce the risk. A hiring manager will notice the dedication, too.