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How to Interview for Jobs Out of State

by Ellie Williams

Finding a job out-of-state isn’t impossible but it does add to the challenge of identifying relevant job opportunities and persuading employers to take a chance on you. With a little planning, however, you can often work around these obstacles and make a smooth transition to your new city.

Arrange a Scouting Trip

If you definitely plan to move to the area, set aside a day or two to visit the location and scout out job opportunities, potential housing and other crucial aspects associated with relocating. When you apply for jobs, mention in your cover letter that you’ll be in the employer’s city. Note that you’ll be available for an interview and that you’ll call in a few days to set up a mutually convenient time to meet. Employers are more likely to invite an out-of-state candidate for an interview if they know you don’t expect them to foot the bill for the trip and that you won’t back out at the last minute because it’s too difficult to make the journey.

Use Local Ties

If you have friends or family in the area where you want to relocate, ask if you can use their mailing address and phone number when submitting resumes. Only use this strategy if you can depend on the person to promptly forward your messages. Otherwise, you risk missing out on an important call from a prospective employer. If you don’t know anyone in the area, rent a post office box instead.

Build Your Network

When job-searching in your own city, you have the advantage of industry connections, friends or even family members who can alert you of job openings or introduce you to hiring managers. Finding a job in another city can be tricky without a network. Use social media to connect with companies you’re interested in and professionals in the area where you plan to move. For example, join local online networking groups for people in your industry or occupation. Tell them you plan to move to the area and would appreciate insight regarding job opportunities and the local business community.

Hire a Search Firm

Consider hiring an executive recruiter or “headhunter” to handle some of your legwork. A large percentage of jobs are never advertised, so if you stick to reading job postings from the city you plan to move to you may lose out on potential opportunities. A recruiter, though, has an inside connection to many top companies and can reach out to them on your behalf. This way, you can focus on your interviewing strategies and planning the logistics of your relocation instead of scouring hundreds of job ads.

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