If you are relocating to another state, you’ll most likely need to get a new job. Don’t assume this, though—if you are currently employed, consider checking with your employer to see whether it might be possible for you to work remotely.
Gallup reports that 43% of employees work off-site, at least part of the time. So, you may have the opportunity to take your job with you when you move.
If you can’t work remotely or if you’d prefer not to, then the hunt for a new job begins. That can be challenging; you may not be familiar with local companies, and you may not have as strong a network of connections in the area, either.
Still, getting a job in a distant location may be easier now than it was decades ago, thanks to social media and the ability to have video-based interviews. If you’re interested in working for a large company, 62% of such companies use some form of video interview. Even with smaller companies, there may be opportunities to interview long distance.
Below are strategies you can use to search, apply, and interview for jobs in another state.
Check With Your Current Employer
If you are currently employed, reach out to your Human Resources department to see whether any offices are located in your future locale or if there would be an option to work remotely.
You’ll only want to do this if you feel comfortable alerting your company to the fact that you plan to move.
If you don't wish to share this information, this strategy is not recommended. Instead, you could start by looking on the company intranet for any potential job postings. (Here's more information on transferring from one job to another within your company and a sample letter requesting a transfer.)
Think Through Your Resume and Cover Letter
Does your resume include your current address set in a large font at the top of the page? Consider removing your address—or adding some text that indicates you’ll be moving.
For example, you could use this wording in place of your address:
[First Name Last Name] will be relocating to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 2020.
Otherwise, hiring managers could be confused by your out-of-state address and reluctant to move forward with interviewing you if the job is not a remote position.
You probably don't need to worry about changing your phone number. Now that many people own only a cell phone as opposed to a landline, area codes no longer offer as much of a clue as to where a person lives.
In your cover letter, mention up front that you’re moving to a new state. Being precise about when you are relocating (e.g., spring 2020) will help make it clear that you are definitely moving (and that it’s not conditional on a job offer or a vague plan that might fall through). However, you don't need to go into a lot of detail about why you're moving, although you might briefly indicate the circumstances.
Pick Your Locations to Job Search
Are you moving to northern Connecticut, for example? Jobs in Hartford, Worcester, Boston, and other cities may be feasible—even though only one of those cities lies within the state of Connecticut. When you enter locations in job search engines, go beyond the new state to neighboring ones if they are nearby.
If possible, spend a weekend in your new destination to determine which cities and nearby company locations may be an option. Think through where you’ll want to live, and how long of a commute you can handle.
If an in-person visit isn’t an option, take to the internet—online maps can be helpful and you can also use social media to gain insights into commute times and favorable work locations that may be hard to discover using a map alone.
Let Your Network Know
Reach out to your contacts to tell them about your planned move—this includes friends, family, and current and past colleagues. If you’re still in the exploratory stages and haven’t yet given notice, hold off on telling your current colleagues.
Ask contacts whether they know of any open jobs or have connections in the new location. If they do, ask for an introduction and set up informational interviews with these new contacts.
On LinkedIn, look for contacts who are working in your future state. A friend from college might wind up being a good lead. You can also use LinkedIn to learn more about companies in the area.
Find a Recruiter in the New State
A recruiter can be a helpful resource to learn about the job market in a new state. They might know which companies are hiring, and what areas of the state have the hottest market. See how to find a recruiter and gain further insight into how they can aid your job search.
Search for Jobs
Set Up Job Alerts. Do you have automated emails sent to you daily with jobs in your current state? Make sure to change the location parameters so you'll get information on jobs available in the new state.
Start Networking Online. Join local networking groups online. If you belong to any networking groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media sites, see whether there are any local branches in your new state that you can join.
Create a List of Local Companies. Consider creating a target list of companies near your new hometown. You can then follow these companies on LinkedIn, find out about open job postings, and attempt to set up an information interview.
It may be tempting to update your location on LinkedIn, but only do so if you are prepared to interview—in person—at short notice. Otherwise, you could run the risk of frustrating recruiters and hiring managers who reach out to you.
Schedule Interviews Carefully
Preliminary interviews, which often take place on the phone, are easy to handle. But once companies want to meet in person—a great sign for your candidacy—things can get trickier if you're moving far from your current home.
You have a few options:
- Request a video interview: Once uncommon, video-based interviews are now frequently used. Find out whether the company is open to this type of interview—and if they are, follow these tips for a successful video job interview.
- Ask whether the company can cover travel expenses: If a video interview isn’t an option, inquire whether the company is open to covering your interview travel expenses (flight, car rental, hotel stay, etc.). Think about the company carefully before making this request—a giant, multinational company may be accustomed to flying in candidates; a small nonprofit may not be.
- Try to arrange all your interviews within the same time frame: If at all possible, if you’re an applicant with an interest in multiple companies, see whether you can schedule interviews to be held on the same day, or within a few days of each other, to minimize your travel time and expenses.
Here are additional tips for handling an out-of-town job interview.
Be Prepared to Discuss Why You’re Moving
Are you moving because of a spouse, education, a family illness, or just a change of pace? There are many reasons why a person might move, and you should be prepared to provide some kind of an answer if this topic comes up in an interview. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that some of the top reasons for moving include:
- Change in marital status
- Establishing own household
- Other family reasons
- New or better home
- Cheaper housing
- Closer to work or easier commute
- New job or transfer
- Looking for work or lost job
You don’t need to share a lot of personal details, but hiring managers might want to know why you’re moving because this will help communicate to them whether you’ll be in the area for certain, and for a long period of time.
The last thing a hiring manager wants to do is go through the interview process only to have a candidate decline the offer because they’ve decided not to move after all.
Final Tip: Don’t Lie
It can be tempting to add a new address to your resume and LinkedIn account, and set up a Google Voice phone number in the area code of the new state, far in advance of your move. But it’s best not to be deceptive about your location.
For example, if a recruiter thinks you currently live in Indianapolis, it’s reasonable for them to want to set up an interview with only a few days' notice. And if, say, you still live in Oregon, and haven't yet moved to Indiana, you’ll need to explain why you can’t stop by for a Tuesday morning interview. Hiring managers could feel deceived or frustrated in such circumstances.
It is far better to be upfront. In your cover letter, you can say something like:
I’ll be moving to Indianapolis in April, and I’m particularly drawn to XYZ company, and the role of Systems Administrator, which is a good match for my experience.
That way, recruiters will know precisely what to expect and won’t feel betrayed.
The Bottom Line
Taking your job with you might be an option. Check to see if it’s possible to work at your current job remotely or if a transfer would be possible.
Technology can help you job search long distance. It’s easy to network with connections in a new location online, and you may be able to schedule video interviews.
Get organized. Organize your long-distance job search just as carefully as you’re organizing your move. It will be easier to get hired if you have a plan.