Finding a Job in Another State

If you’re looking for a job in another state, or conducting a long-distance job search in general, you have probably discovered those extra miles make it a little trickier than finding a new job closer to home. Add financial constraints, big dreams or your family’s needs into the mix, and you may be feeling some panic.

Don’t worry. Whether you’re about to start the job search and you’re not sure what to expect, or you’ve already started and are feeling defeated by the lack of results, we will give you some perspective to help you make educated decisions.

How can I  get a job in another state before moving there?

Much like finding a job close to home, you’ll want to find jobs posted online and begin applying for them. You’ll also want to reach out to your network. If you know anyone who is connected to your future location, reach out to them and see if they have any local businesses they can connect you with. You may also consider working with an employment agency who is connected with businesses in the area.

That said, with a long-distance job search, you’ll want to be strategic about when you begin searching. If you start your search too early, you risk companies discounting your resume because you won’t be able to start quickly. If you start too late, you may not be able to get a job in your desired time frame before moving. Unfortunately, there’s no easy formula for determining the “right” time to apply. Consider industry standards for the best guess.

Should I relocate to another state without a job?

There’s no easy answer. It really depends on your specific circumstance, particularly your financial situation. Moving out of state is inherently risky. You’re sacrificing certainty for an unknown future, but it’s possible to make this a responsible plan with a little bit of forethought. Here are a few things you should consider:

        • Do you have time to find a job before you move?
        • Do you have enough money to support yourself and/or your family’s expenses for three to six months until you find something?
        • What is the maximum amount of time you will you be able to live without a job?
        • Can you find an affordable living situation with your current resources?
        • If you have children, what school district do you intend for them to attend?
        • What can you afford to bring with you before you to make the move? Do you have a household that will need to be boxed and hauled or can you pack a suitcase and leave?

Sometimes moving and having a fresh start can be just what you need. Whatever your time constraints are, don’t rush the decision to the best of your ability.

How do I decide if it’s worth it to relocate for a new job?

Were you offered a relocation package? If so, determine if it will meet your needs. Consider if it’s worth negotiating any aspect of the package if you’re on the fence. Ultimately, you need to determine what your living expenses will be in the new area and how the offer will allow you to meet those needs. It’s also important to think about what kind of lifestyle will make you happy. If you’re a city guy or gal, living in the rural mountains of West Virginia may not make you happy even though it’s heaven for your hiking-fanatic friend.

How do you relocate to another state?

There are tons of logistical considerations you’ll have to make, but your financial situation is the first thing to consider. Your cash flow is important, so determining where you’ll get money to make the move and survive in your new location is crucial. You may want to begin searching for a job if you’re thinking about moving out of state. Start your research process to see what kind of opportunities are available.  If you don’t have a job lined up for you in your new location, you need enough money to keep you going for a three to six month period, just in case you struggle to find something. You’ll also want to make sure you have somewhere to live. If you have a family, you’ll need to consider what your spouse will do or where your children will go to school. Once you’ve thought about those big considerations, it’s a matter of pricing your move and finding the options that work best for you.

How do I search for an out-of-state job or a job in another city?

Search for a job exactly how you would normally, except with extra care. Look at online job boards, find anyone in your network who might be able to link you with an opportunity in that area. Just make sure you are also considering the cost of the move and your family’s living circumstances. Additionally, you may want to address the fact that you don’t currently live in the job’s location with the potential employer. This means bringing up your situation in the cover letter or strategically managing your address on your resume.

Why is it so hard to get companies to interview you when you live out of state?  

The rumors are true. Companies usually prefer to interview (and hire) local applicants. Local applicants are less risky and interviews are easier to arrange. There’s no considering pesky relocation expenses or having to wait more than two weeks for their new employee to settle into their new location. Likewise, long-distance applicants are known for flakiness (they thought they could move until their significant other put their foot down at the last minute, etc., etc.). Just because it’s easier to get your foot in the door when you’re a local doesn’t mean many companies won’t give you a chance. It’s very possible to get an interview out of a company while living many miles away.

What kind of companies hire out-of-state applicants? 

Whether companies will hire out-of-state applicants usually depends on the circumstances and the type of talent needed. It’s easier to be hired as a long-distance applicant if you have a valuable skill set that is in limited supply in your future location. When companies struggle to find the right kind of talent in the local community, it’s actually easier for them to recruit experienced professionals in other locations. If you are one of the lucky elites with a skillset a company in your new, desired location just can’t seem to fill, you’ll have a much easier time finding a job.

What should I do when applying for a job out of state?

  • Make it as easy as possible to be interviewed and hired by a new employer. Many companies shy away from hiring non-locals because long-distances oftentimes create big, logistical nightmares during the hiring process; think travel and relocation fees, cold feet and longer start times.
  • Demonstrate that you are committed to the move. If you know for a fact you are going to move, don’t be afraid to explain when and where you’re going in specific terms. That means alluding to the time frame you will move by and what area you know you will be living in.
  • Search through your LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks. Discover if you have any long-lost friends or acquaintances who live in your desired location. Reach out to them and see if they have any contacts at businesses where you can apply.
  • Recognize it may take longer than usual to find a job. Finding a new job while you are a long distance away is very doable, but it’s important to prepare for a lengthy search.
  • Work with a recruiter: Working with a recruiter is often a way to circumvent many of the frustrating aspects of a long-distance job search. This can be an especially convenient way to find your next position if you don’t have an established network in your desired new location. Because the recruiters have established connections with various businesses, you don’t have to spend your time convincing businesses to give your resume a chance.

How do you write a resume for an out-of-state job?

As mentioned before, you can (and should) address the fact that you plan to relocate on your resume. Here are your options:

        • At the top of your resume, specify that you are willing or in the process of relocating
        • Another tactic is to add “Relocating to new city, new state” next to your current address. This transparent approach shows you are clearly ready to move if you are offered the position. You can also write “Searching for a position in the new city area” or simply “Open to relocation”.
        • You can simply not include your address on your resume, but your job history will most likely give your location away regardless. You don’t want to lie about your current location, but not making your current address the foremost item on your resume is an easy way to shine a light on your qualifications instead.

How do you write cover letters for out-of-state positions? 

Your cover letter is a great place to let companies know more about your situation and your ability to relocate. Because some employers are wary of hiring applicants who aren’t local, this is a great place to quickly alleviate a potential employer’s fears. While you don’t want to make the majority of the cover letter an explanation of your life circumstances, you can write a sentence or two to let the employer know your move is long-term.

How far in advance should I apply for a job out of state?

There’s no right amount of time, although it doesn’t hurt to start up to four or five months ahead of your intended move time if you really need a job and don’t have a highly-sought-after skill set. Ultimately, it really depends on what kind of position you are trying to apply for. Here are the factors to consider:

        • Your skillset: If you have a highly competitive skillset, you may only need to apply two or so months ahead of time. If you have a more common or less in-demand skillset, starting earlier may be a better idea.
        • Your new location’s economy: If it’s a booming economy, they may be hiring people quickly and often. If so, you’re in luck. If the economy is slower, recognize it may take some additional time for you to find your next position.
        • Your experience and seniority: If you are a senior ranking executive, you may need to start your search much earlier. Companies often take many months to determine who their next CEO or department director will be.
        • How desperately you need to have a job lined up by your move date: If you can’t afford to support yourself for very long without an income, it’s important to start your job search early. If you have savings that you can spend in the interim between moving and finding your next job, this will be less of a concern for you.
        • How quickly you will start with the company: If the company needs you to begin filling the position in two weeks, you need to make sure you can move in that amount of time or else negotiate a new start time with them.
        • How long the company will take to process your application: Some companies search for their candidates aggressively, meaning they set up interviews just a few weeks after receiving applications. On the other hand, other companies only reach out to candidates months after receiving candidates. This wide breadth in reaction time makes it difficult to know when it’s time to start applying. Be aware of this dynamic.

How do I respond to a job interview request from out of state?

Is the company that offered to interview you aware you are a long-distance candidate? If so, ask them how they would like to proceed. If you feel like an in-person interview would give you an advantage and the company is hesitant to pay for your travel expenses, consider if it’s worth it to pay to travel to the interview on your own. If you’re desperate for a job and the expense is doable for you, it may be worth it.  

If the company that offered you the interview is not aware you are out of state, consider whether you would like to be honest with them about your situation. If you would to be transparent, you may want to suggest a virtual interview by phone or video. You may also discuss whether they will pay for your travel expenses for an in-person interview. If they aren’t interested in paying for your travel expenses, you need to determine if it’s worth it to pay for the travel expenses yourself.

What are my interview options as an out-of-state applicant?

There are a few primary options:

      • Online video or phone call interview: This is an affordable, practical and convenient option for all parties.
      • In-person: It can be easier to make a lasting impression in-person than over the phone. If the company you are interviewing with doesn’t offer to set up an in-person interview, it can be a good idea to suggest that you can come to them in-person. Even if it means footing your own travel expenses, it can show an extra level of commitment on your part. That said, you will have to consider whether that is a reasonable and affordable expense for you to take on.
      • The company may have a custom option they are willing to pursue. For instance, companies sometimes will have a local, remote employee in your current area interview you. Ask them if you feel like a different option.

Who pays for an out of state job move?

Sometimes companies will pay for a new employee to move. Other times the employee is expected to move on their own dime. The expectations often depend on what type of position for which you are interviewing and what field you are in.

If you’re not sure what your new company’s expectations are, be direct and ask the company what you can expect.

How can a staffing agency help me find an out-of-state job?

Staffing agencies have connections with businesses. While some agencies have connections with only companies in specific locations, others have a wide range of clients throughout the United States. Consider reaching out to a staffing agency that can help place you in your next location.

Final Thoughts

Job hunting is stressful and uncertain, but it can also be exhilarating. Expect rejections and frustrations, but stay open to possibilities. Life has a way of working out. With hard work, perseverance and some smart tactical moves, you’ll find an opportunity.