Finding a job is hard enough. Add a long-distance move into the mix, and it becomes even more challenging. Besides just looking at job openings and preparing your application materials, you have to think about booking flights for in-person interviews, searching for housing, networking with the right people and more. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy — so we’ve put together a guide that teaches you how to find a job in a new city in a simple, streamlined format.
Read on to learn how you can identify the right locations and opportunities, optimize your application and prove you’re the best candidate for the job — no matter where you live.
The Benefits of Moving to a New City
Often, people want to move to a new city for personal reasons. This might include a desire to:
- Be closer to family
- Live in a milder climate
- Start over in a new area
- Find a lower cost of living
But beyond benefitting your personal life, moving can also help you in your professional life. Research has found that moving to a new city — especially if it’s a larger one — can boost your salary and provide you with better career opportunities. Plus, who doesn’t like a change of scenery every once in a while?
Identify the Right Location
If you’re moving to be closer to your family, or to fulfill a childhood dream of living in a certain area, you’ll already have a location in mind — but if you just want a change of pace, it’s worth researching the many different options available to you. One great place to turn? Glassdoor’s Best Cities for Jobs, which take into account cost of living, job satisfaction, job openings and median base salary in order to determine the best locations for job seekers. Here are the top five locations on Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Cities for Jobs list:
Besides looking into how a location will impact your career and finances, it’s also worth asking yourself the following questions to determine which place is right for you:
- What pace of life am I looking for?
- What sorts of amenities (parks, museums, high-quality public schools, etc.) are important to me?
- Do I know anyone in the area?
- What do I want the weather to be like?
Once you answer questions like these, you can research which locations match the qualities you value the most.
Some companies prefer to stick to local candidates only — others are much more willing to accommodate outside job seekers. They may even offer relocation bonuses, which can significantly help you defray the cost of moving. In his study Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It? Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain identified a handful of the most mover-friendly companies. Here were ten notable companies that made the cut:
- J.P. Morgan
- Walt Disney Company
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Motorola Solutions
- American Airlines
But these aren’t the only companies willing to hire out-of-towners. To explore which options are out there, one of the most powerful things you can do is tap your network. Reach out to anyone you know who resides in the city you’re looking to move to, and ask them if they’re aware of any opportunities that might be a good fit for you. Because they’re already plugged into the local community, they may have a deeper insight into who’s hiring and what kind of roles they’re looking for. They may even be able to introduce you to opportunities with local business owners, or even within their own companies. Never underestimate the power of a referral — having somebody that already works at a company singing your praises to a recruiter or hiring manager is a near-guaranteed way to get your resume noticed.
If you don’t know anyone in the area, you can always do some networking in person. Attending local meetup events, joining a professional organization and going to industry-specific conferences are all great ways to stay on top of new opportunities. If visiting the city you’re hoping to move to in person is too impractical, though, you can always leverage social media. Many cities have online networking groups on LinkedIn or Facebook where you can engage in conversation with other local professionals, as well as groups that highlight recent job openings in the city.
And of course, one of the best ways to stay on top of the latest job opportunities is to keep a close eye on job sites. Glassdoor offers job alerts that notify you of the latest relevant job openings, which can be customized according to location, salary, job title and more.
Office Transfers & Remote Work Options
Just because you want to move doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your job. If you’re happy with your current position, it’s well worth seeing if you could either transfer offices or work remotely. While asking to work remotely and asking to transfer offices are two different requests, the way you ask both questions will largely follow the same format:
- Do your research: Look into your HR handbook to see if your company has a work-from-home or office transfer policy, and if so, what it entails. Do you need to file certain HR paperwork, apply to an internal mobility program, apply for a Visa or other immigration-related documents? Besides the nitty-gritty HR details, think about what you would need to be successful in the new location: a home office, foreign language skills if moving to a new country, a car for commuting, etc.
- Prepare your talking points: Don’t expect your boss to approve your request without thoroughly discussing it with you first. You might want to put together a list of talking points you can reference that outline your specific request, describes the benefits having your request approved would bring your employer and addresses common concerns, such as relocation costs and proposed timeline.
- State your case: Set up a meeting with your manager to talk them through your plan. Depending on the formality of your company, you might even consider putting together a presentation just as you would for a large project you’re working on. Speak with confidence and conviction, and make a business case for yourself.
If your employer says yes, make sure to thank them and work with them on your transition timeline. If they say no, thank them anyway for taking the time to entertain your request — throwing a fit isn’t likely to change their mind, and will only lead to burnt bridges.
Optimize Your Application
Unfortunately, employers are sometimes more hesitant to hire out-of-town candidates due to the added costs and logistical challenge interviewing and hiring them can pose. But there are ways to overcome, or at least minimize, these obstacles.
By far the most important thing to do is simply highlight how qualified you are for the position — if an employer believes that you are the best candidate for the job, they will be much less likely to have an issue with accommodating a relocation. You can do this by ensuring that you only apply to jobs that you are truly well-suited for in terms of experience, skill set and culture fit. Then, once you find and begin applying to the right positions, think about what makes you unique. What do you offer that other candidates can’t? Perhaps that’s a specialized or technical set of skills, a deep familiarity with the industry, a certain educational background, etc. Whatever your differentiating factor, make that clear in your application materials. To really go the extra mile, write a cover letter describing not only how you could benefit the company, but also how passionate you are about the opportunity.
When thinking about how to find a job in a new city, candidates often wonder whether they should acknowledge the fact that they would need to move in their resume and/or cover letter. There are essentially two approaches you can take. The first is to simply put off the topic until later by omitting your address from your resume and making no mention of your current location in your cover letter; the other is to be upfront about where you live, but offset concerns by making it clear in your cover letter that you are interested in moving to a new location, were planning on moving there anyway, have family there, etc. It’s up to you to decide which tactic you're most comfortable with.
Be Accommodating for Interviews
Interviewing is often the stage at which living far away from the position becomes the most challenging. Arriving to an in-person interview when you don’t live close by requires advanced coordination and sometimes long travel, but even a phone interview can be made more difficult if you’re connecting across different time zones. To prove that hiring you would be no more difficult than hiring somebody local, it’s important to make yourself available at all times.
Try as best as you can to schedule an interview during a time that would be convenient for the interviewer, and never cancel at the last minute. If they invite you to an in-person interview, work with them to figure out how you can get there, whether it requires car, train or plane travel. And if they ask you to do a video interview, make sure that you behave just as you would during an in-person: dress appropriately, don’t attempt to multitask, don’t take the call from a crowded location, etc. And of course, you’ll want to follow all of the typical interview best practices. Do some research on the company, look up common interview questions and rehearse the answers beforehand, arrive on time, ask intelligent questions and so on.
Above all, try to relax — if the job is truly a match, the recruiters, hiring managers and potential teammates you’re interviewing with should be able to see that.