If you are applying to jobs outside a reasonable commute (Assume 45 minutes or less), you may be hindering your job search without realizing it.
So what if you’ve found the perfect job all the way across the country? How do you let your potential employer know that you understand their concerns and are prepared to address them?
Here are some tips.
Before You Apply:
- Identify to whom your resume will go. Depending on the size of the organization and their internal structure, your resume may go to human resources, talent management, or the department itself. You can usually find this contact information on the company’s website. If it isn’t there, try LinkedIn.
- Once you’ve identified who will be looking at your resume first, reach out to that individual (or department). Let them know that you are going to apply, but that you are located outside their immediate area. Ask if this will be a hinderance to your application being considered and, if so, how you can prepare your cover letter and resume to decrease the chances of your resume being disqualified.
This direct communication will indicate to the organization that you are serious about the position.
If they respond, you will have a better understanding of the organization’s priorities. Some organizations don’t mind hiring long-distance candidates, provided their willingness to relocate. Some will provide funding for relocation, and some will allow you to work remotely. Some, however, want a fast hire from within the immediate area.
- Companies can also use algorithms which will automatically disqualify candidates located outside a certain distance. If this is the case, request listing your location within that circumference when going through their application system. Ensure that you are clear about why you want to do this, and that you intend to relocate yourself. Do not, however, lie about your current location.
- While you’re at it, request some tips on how to ensure your application is the best it can be. Some organizations have specific (and occasionally, arbitrary) preferences. Being aware of these can help you to tailor your application to the organization’s precise standards, which will increase your chances of moving through the process and into an interview.
When You Apply:
- Whatever you do, do not lie about your current location. Andrea Kay, author of Greener Pastures: How to Find a Job in Another Place notes that dishonesty, even if well intended, can actually prevent you from getting hired. Employers don’t want a candidate who demonstrates deceptive behavior, especially during the application process!
- Note your relocation interest in your resume. This can be as simple as listing your current city, followed by the phrase “looking to relocate.”
- Address your relocation interest in your cover letter. Make it clear that you intend to move to this area without the organization’s financial help and that you are readily available for in-person interviews. A casual phrasing of this: “I am in town frequently and can make myself available to meet in person.”
- Prepare to speak about your relocation interest in any interviews. To assuage any concerns the company may have about relocating you to a new area, frame your relocation interest beyond the company itself. Find things about the city that you enjoy, or family you have in the area.
After You Apply:
- Let your internal contact (The one you secured before applying) know that you have applied and that you are available for in-person interviews, regardless of your current location.
Keep in mind throughout this process that some organizations simply aren’t going to consider long-distance candidates regardless of how clearly you communicate. This is why it is so important to establish a dialogue with individuals within the organization before you apply. Scan your network for connected individuals, and don’t be shy about contacting organizations for an informational interview. These are great ways to ensure that you have the context you need and that the organization knows who you are before you get started.
Finally, if you have the ability and flexibility, consider moving. Some areas may simply have more opportunities in your field. If you’d like to work as a UX designer, moving from rural Alabama to Seattle is going to be beneficial for your career, even if you don’t get that one specific job.