Q: I am currently employed at a nonprofit as a grant writer. However, I am going to start, in the next year or so, a search for jobs in a different state.
What are some best practices for conducting a job search remotely? I will be able to travel there when/if needed, but I feel I may be at a serious disadvantage when it comes to networking in the region or making strong connections to the places I'd like to be. How can I minimize this disadvantage?
A: Conducting a remote job search is a challenge but not insurmountable, especially if you are comfortable using technology.
First, begin using online tools likes Linked In. You can begin to network online with contacts in the state or region of interest.
If you have family or friends in that area, reach out to these individuals. Developing relationships with contacts in the target area is critical.
Contact employment agencies in the area. Ask friend and family members for referrals.
If you have attended college, or lived in this area before, make sure that you mention this fact to prospective employers and contacts. Prospective employers will be less skeptical if they sense that you have roots in the area.
There are online job boards that allow you to target specific areas geographically. It would be smart to begin spending some time on these job boards now.
Develop contacts with professional and alumni associations in this new area. Spend some time online researching these organization online, and then, if possible, join.
Think about leaving your current address off your resume. Or include two addresses -- one that is current and one that is your future address. Often times, hiring professionals see a resume with an out of state address and immediately dismiss the candidate. They may think it would take too long for the candidate to relocate. Or they may fear they will have to pay your relocation expenses.
Also think about obtaining a new cell phone number with a local number that corresponds to your new town or city. This will indicate to employers that you have "made the leap" and are serious about relocating.
Explain in your cover letter that you anticipate moving (or even better, that you are in the process of moving) to your new state by a certain date. Think about adding "at my expense" if that is a financial reality.
Try to schedule some informational interviews via telephone. You will likely have to plan a job hunting visit to this new location. Try to be efficient as possible with this job hunting visit and fill that time with as many in person meetings as possible. Make sure that you have your 1-2 minute job pitch speech ready to go and perfect. This should include a quick summary of your background, skill set and what your next role might look like.
Like all job seekers, research the employment market before you make a final decision. Ensure that you are not moving to an area with limited opportunities for your profession. You also should ensure that your resume is crisp, concise and free of errors.