The long-distance job search is a little more complicated than a local search. Hiring influencers need some reassurance that you’re serious about moving far from your current home, organizations need to know what you expect in the way of support and time if there is a physical move, and everyone needs enough information to plan ahead if you’re not physically moving.
Doesn’t a long-distance job search mean you’re ready to relocate? Not always. Telecommuting, long-distance commuting, and other modern job solutions mean that while you may need to be present for important meetings, training, and special events, you may be able to use your current location as home base. Your expectations, abilities, and flexibility are some of what prospective employers and hiring influencers need to know up front.
Here are a few points to consider in advance of planning a long-distance job search:
Motivation. Prospective employers and hiring influencers alike need to know why you’re searching long-distance. Is your partner taking a new job? Are you ready for a change of scene? Do you need to be closer to family? Are you extending your search in hopes of telecommuting? Once they know the reason for your extended search, it makes it easier to see you as a viable candidate despite your current distance.
Commitment. Candidate searches and the interviewing process can be expensive for employers, especially if they have to fly you out for face-to-face interviews. It’s important to show your commitment to moving if that’s the plan. Join industry networking groups in your new area, contact alumni who live nearby, and use social media to start showing your intent to move there. If you’re planning long-distance commuting or telecommuting, reach out to others in your industry who have been successful in doing so. Again, use social media to discuss facts, share articles, and show your knowledge about the level of effort it takes to make this kind of flexible job work for both the employer and the employee.
Research. Research the area you’re going to be moving to, commuting to, or telecommuting to, and learn about the job market and work culture there. Research the companies you’re interested in joining. Research the hiring influencers before you interview with prospective employers. Doing your research is another way of showing your interest and commitment to a long-distance search and possible relocation.
Compromise. If your partner is already committed to a new job in the area and has a moving allowance, make it clear to potential employers that you’re not expecting a moving subsidy. If you’re already going to be in town during a search for housing, or during your partner’s training or meetings, tell hiring influencers that you’ll be available locally for interviews and other meetings in the time leading up to your move. It’s not just good job search etiquette: If hiring a long-distance candidate is the same cost, it can make you more attractive. Would it be nice to double your moving allowance? Yes, but not if it costs you opportunities for great jobs.
Timing. Be upfront about the timing of your move, visits, and availability. Aside from the physical distance and the expenses of bridging that distance, a prospective employer’s biggest concern in a long-distance candidate is often around timing. There are employers out there who would be thrilled with a lightning-fast move and hiring process, and employers who would be willing to wait for the right candidate. Being clear about what your plans and timeline look like allows the recruiters, employers, and hiring influencers to make good choices for their organizations and work closely with you to ensure a great fit.