Looking to relocate? Whether you’re in a rut, or moving for personal reasons, or just plain need a change, it is possible to find a job in another state before you even move there.
The most important thing is to try and establish and start building a network, however small, of local contacts on the ground in your new area. Here are a few strategic tips for landing a job in a new place.
Start building your network online.
Use LinkedIn to begin creating a community in your new locale. Start reaching out to people in companies and fields wherein you might like to work in your new location. Join Meetups or large locally-based groups in that area to keep an eye on what is going on. Take advantage of your college or university’s alumni association and mine it for local contacts or people in your industry that might be able to connect you locally.
Pretend you’re already there
This doesn’t have to involve any dishonesty—particularly not if you are actually planning to move. Don’t put your old address on any of your materials. If you have a friend in that area, use their address temporarily. If you don’t, set yourself up with a local address using a service like Mailboxes, Etc. that will forward your mail to you and won’t be as obvious as a P.O. box.
Network in person.
Take advantage of any travel to the area by attending any Meetups or events that would be relevant to your search. Pop into companies and shake hands. Get a sense of neighborhoods you might like to live in; this is a great way to start conversations with potential contacts. Use sites like Zoominfo to try and get contact information for managers in companies you’re keen to work for and see if you can score an informational interview or two.
Think through the logistics.
Figure out what your tax liabilities will be in the new area—this can affect your compensation bottom line. What is the cost of living? What is the salary spread for your industry and position? What salary range will you have to ask for in order to maintain your current quality of life, given discrepancies in what things cost and what people like you make in the new location. Make sure you have a good sense of what relocation would cost you—and be prepared to pay it out of pocket.
Make your mission clear.
When you’re writing your cover letter, make it clear that you are moving, not just that you would move. Make it clear that you’re doing this regardless of the outcome of this particular application. If you can, put a date on it. If you’re using a friend’s address, say that you’re temporarily staying with that person while you finalize your job search. That tips employers off that you’re serious and already settling in. Also that they won’t have to pay relocation expenses. (Don’t give up the possibility of this off-hand, but if you want the move or the job enough, be prepared to move yourself.)
When writing your cover letter, the important thing is to convince your employer that this move is part of your long-term plan. Show them that this job isn’t the only reason, but that it’s also not some stop-gap leapfrog situation just to get you in the area.