Obviously, the answer to this question is going to vary based on a number of different factors. While we can’t give you a universal answer that works for every conceivable scenario, we can clear up some of the murky water surrounding the issue. Since this is one of the most common questions we hear about job hunting, we definitely think it’s valuable to offer some clarity here.
So here are things to consider when you’re weighing out-of-state job options.
How much leverage do you have?
When applying for any job, you should always take inventory of your leverage. What we mean by this is who needs whom more? If the company or organization needs an employer more than you need work, then you have leverage. If you need the job more than the company needs you specifically, then the company has leverage.
As a general rule, positions with a lot of applicants are going have a lot more leverage than you. If there are several people to choose from, a company will be less willing to make concessions in order to fill the position. When it comes to entry-level positions, the company always has leverage, because these jobs require very little specialized experience and will draw a great deal of applicants.
On the flip side of this, a specialized position in a niche industry might only have a handful of qualified applicants. If this is the case, the job seekers have a great deal of leverage. In fact, when the applicant pool is extremely limited, an employer might even be willing to pay relocation costs if you accept the position.
Before you apply for a job, consider how much leverage you have, and carefully weigh that against how much leverage the employer has. The more leverage you have, the more success you’ll have when negotiating any sort of outside-the-box employment contract.
Are you willing to cover your own moving expenses?
If you’re already planning a move, and you’re already budgeting around paying for the move yourself, then you will have more leverage than an applicant who expects the company to pay for their relocation. Planning ahead is always a good thing, and being able to relocate without assistance from your employer can go a long way in helping you land out-of-state job opportunities.
That said, some organizations will specially mention that they’re willing to pay for relocation expenses upfront. If you find a job listing that states this explicitly, it’s a good sign that they’ve already exhausted their local candidate pool. You can feel confident that you would have a fair amount of leverage when applying for this position.
Do you have connections in the city you’re looking to relocate to?
If you’re able to travel a bit, exploring the city you’re planning on moving to can be educational and even fun. Better yet, if you can attend a career conference in that city before moving there, you can network with locals who work in your industry. Building a solid network of connections is incredibly valuable, and getting your foot in the door as early as possible can only help you later on.
Can you think of other ways to connect with professionals in your industry that are outside your state? How about being active in online forums that relate to your field, or attending local career-related events that have a large out-of-state draw? Be creative and inquisitive, because opportunities are almost always cropping up that are overlooked by a vast majority of applicants.
Obviously, your options are limited based on where you currently live and where you’re planning on moving, so you’ll have to weigh your options individually. Still, you might be surprised at the amount of networking opportunities you’ll find once you start looking in earnest.
Are your resume and cover letter tailored to the city you plan on moving to?
One sticking point a lot of people have with relocating is that having an out-of-state address on a resume can be a red flag for some employers. This isn’t always the case, and obviously, if an employer has been explicit about looking for out-of-state hires, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. But many employers would rather hire locally.
If you’re applying for work in another state, you’ll need to make sure you custom tailor your resume and cover letter to the needs of that specific employer. Note that this is something you should be doing already, but with out-of-state jobs there’s an additional step: You should make it clear that you will be relocating to the city in your cover letter. On your resume, you might want to omit your address and replace it with “Relocating to (name of city) by (date)” to make it abundantly clear that you will be in the right location for the job by the time your potential employment begins.
Of course, you should also know that you’re putting yourself at a little bit of a disadvantage here, but if you’re looking at out-of-state work, you’ll need to be considering this anyway. Local talent will always have the advantage over out-of-state applicants; that’s just the nature of the hiring world.
Does the company offer remote work?
One potential bridge between the company you want to work for and your current home is remote work. If an employer offers remote work (and we believe that any company should offer it if they’re able to), you have a good opportunity to get your foot in the door before you relocate. If you apply for a remote position, mentioning that you’re planning to move to the company’s location will actually be a point in your favor. Use this to your advantage.
If you’re looking into the prospect of relocating to find work, considering the five things we mentioned in this article should prepare you for the journey you’re about to take (both the figurative journey and the literal one). Getting hired in another state is admittedly more difficult than getting hired in your current neighborhood, but plenty of people manage to make it happen. We believe you can too!
If you want even more tips about job hunting, check out our detailed article “Five Tips to Fast Track Your Job Hunt.”
And if you haven’t contacted a recruiter yet, we’d like to encourage you to get in contact with Staffing Proxy right away. We’d love to help you make your next big connection!