- Benefits and challenges of applying for out-of-state positions
- How to address the location issue with recruiters
- Where to find the right job for you
You might seek a job in another state for various reasons. Maybe you’re following family or perhaps you need a change of scenery. In some cases, your dream gig might be more readily available elsewhere. For example, urban centers like New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami often present opportunities you won’t find in smaller towns.
Whatever the reason, finding a job in another state presents some hurdles. Human resources professionals may prioritize local candidates over those living farther afield if the company doesn’t want to pay relocation costs, for instance. That said, getting a job from afar isn’t impossible. There are a few tricks you can follow to make it easier!
Our guide explains some of the challenges you’ll face as an out-of-state job seeker and provides actionable tips on how to overcome these hurdles so you can ensure a successful search.
Applying to out-of-state jobs presents some challenges — but first, let’s talk about the positives. One pro is the fact that opening yourself up to jobs beyond your immediate location provides more opportunities. When you cast a wider net, the number of job openings will immediately increase.
Applying to jobs in more geographically diverse areas will also allow you to pursue opportunities that may not be available in your current location. If you want to work in TV or film, for instance, a big city like Los Angeles will have greater opportunities. Alternatively, let’s say you want an outdoorsy job — like, working in a national park. Unless you have a national park at your front door, you will definitely need to relocate.
Benefits aside, applying to out-of-state jobs presents a few challenges. Some recruiters shy away from out-of-state candidates because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of a remote interview process or relocating people from afar. There are also basic logistical concerns, including the fact that you won’t be readily available for last-minute, in-person job interviews.
This isn’t meant to deter you; it’s simply to ensure you’re aware of the potential hurdles you’ll face when job hunting from another state. Educating yourself in advance allows you to prepare to tackle these hurdles and overcome them so you can secure your dream gig.
Use the following tips below to improve your odds of conquering the job market from afar.
Before going through with any big decisions — you know, like leaving your job and relocating across the country — check-in with your current employer first to see if they have brick-and-mortar locations in the place you're considering. Who knows? They might have offices nearby to commute to if you need to be in the office. The other option is to review any remote-work options that may have changed in the last two years. It might be beneficial to ask your manager or a colleague in HR if there's a remote role you can pursue.
If neither of those options will work, or you're just ready for a change, keep reading!
Simply deciding to move out of state will leave you with so many options (in terms of both location and job choice) that you won’t know where to start. Clearly define what you’re looking for before you start searching.
Is there a certain type of job you want? If you’re in construction and want to work on high-rise buildings, you’ll need to move to a city where that kind of construction is prevalent, such as Chicago or New York. Alternatively, is there a certain place you’ve always wanted to live? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of being on the West Coast and want to steer your job hunt accordingly.
It may seem like a trivial detail, but if you’ve spent your entire career working in say, Sacramento, and you’re applying to jobs in Austin, Texas, the hiring manager might wonder how interested are you really in the position — or look at you as a risky proposition. “All of your employment history has addresses in and around the Sacramento area. Why should we hire you? What if Austin isn’t everything you hoped and dreamed it to be? He has the right credentials, but it might be safer to pick a candidate close by.”
Stymie those thoughts by mentioning that you’re willing to relocate at the top of your resume. It’s especially important to do this if you have concrete plans to move. In place of your current address, you might include something like “[First Name Last Name] will be relocating to Austin, Texas, in August 2022.” This way, you’re making it clear that you aren’t there now, but you plan to be.
Once you’ve narrowed things down in terms of location and/or job preference, make a list of fitting companies that match your criteria. Do ample research on the company and the surrounding area to sound knowledgeable (and serious) when you eventually hear back. New York City, for example, is a sizable place with five separate boroughs. You want to make sure you know what you’re talking about.
If there is a company that you are really interested in working for, make yourself available for an informational interview — even if they don’t have any current openings. Make a good impression so you’ll be first on the recruiter’s to-call list when something does open up.
Trying to hide that you're coming from out of state can backfire if the recruiter calls on you for an in-person interview. If you have to explain that you're located elsewhere, they might think you concealed your residence. Any hint of dishonesty can quickly land your job application in the reject pile.
Recruiters may shy away from pursuing long-distance candidates, especially if they think that you expect them to pay for your relocation costs. Be open and honest about your reasons for job-hunting in the given location. The goal is to address and eliminate any practical hurdles that might make a recruiter think your resume is too complicated.
If you can cover your relocation costs, it's a good idea to let the recruiter know.
It’s always worth the time to tailor your resume and cover letter to the position you’re applying for. This is even more important for opportunities out-of-state. Use your cover letter to explain your situation further. Don’t beat them over the head with your full story, but it’s definitely a good idea to touch on it briefly.
Think of unique skills you might have that will set you apart from most job seekers in the prospective area. Channel the boldness you have in making this decision, and make sure it comes across in your cover letter. Let the hiring manager know why you have decided to make the move and what outside perspective you can bring to your future employer.
If possible, plan a visit, and offer to meet with potential employers face-to-face. All of this will go a long way to show you’re serious about your intent to relocate.
If you know people in the area where you hope to move, let them know that you’re hunting for a job. Friends, family members, and old colleagues are all worth consulting. If you’re currently employed and have given notice at your job, you can also ask current bosses and co-workers for possible connections.
Another option is to scour your LinkedIn network for local connections. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Creating a profile is an excellent way for potential employers to get a quick digital snapshot of who you are, even from afar. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with local hiring managers.
Let’s say you don’t have a network you can activate in your desired new city, and you can’t secure any opportunities through your current employer. Don’t stress. The internet is a fantastic resource for finding a job. Most search engines allow you to filter options based on location and industry.
Follow the other applicable tips described above, like addressing the location issue head-on, then tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you’re applying for. You’ll still have a great chance of getting a job offer in another state, no personal connections needed.
Depending on how far afield you're planning on moving, travel costs can quickly add up. If you don't have an apartment lined up yet, but are being proactive in your job applications, try scheduling multiple interviews on one trip. Or maybe it's in drivable distance, and you can book a hotel for the night and line up interviews over the course of two days.
Luckily, with remote interviews being the new norm, you'll most likely only have to go in person for a final round — unless you plan on working in the technical or service industry.
If no one is biting, consider broadening your search. If you're interested in moving to Indianapolis, for instance, don’t just apply to the jobs you find there. Consider adding Dayton, Cincinnati, and Louisville to your list.
Depending on the industry you're targeting, it may be a good idea to check the surrounding area since you might have more luck in a less-competitive marketplace. The Northeast, for instance, has many neighboring cities and states that all could be a viable fit — while New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago have very diverse neighborhoods and boroughs.
Joblist offers a comprehensive database of job opportunities throughout the United States. You can search based on location and industry, allowing for an efficient and easy job hunt. With our career advice blog, we also offer resources to help take the stress out of job searching.
Are you ready to advance your career and find a job in a different state? Start your search now.