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Expanding Your Job Search Geographically

Q. I am a senior finance professional and have been looking for a new job for the last three months. I am not finding anything so far that fits locally and my wife feels strongly about not moving, at least not until our youngest finishes high school in three years. At what point do I have to start looking out of state? Do companies typically allow commuting these days or will I be expected to relocate?

A. Many finance professionals in the Boston market can appreciate your dilemma. The local market for finance professionals did shrink and alternatives seemed to be limited. There are a few things to consider as you conduct an effective search.

First, successful job searches do not occur one at a time. You need to run multiple tracks at the same time, meaning you need to look for local opportunities and those out of state now. Running separate searches would mean delivering one message at one point, and a second message at a later date; you would double the work. Be careful not to give off an impression of desperation.


Meet with networking contacts and after discussing your expertise and professional accomplishments, you might add, “I hope to stay in the Greater Boston market, but I am not limiting my search. I’d be happy to look at other locations as well.”
People understand the family priorities associated with a job search. You may find employers who have multiple locations where a job can begin before transferring to headquarters, or a position that requires significant travel, but not a full relocation.
Companies will look at long distance commuters – people who commute for a week at a time and go ”home” Thursday or Friday night and return Monday morning; however, their experience tells them it will not last. If the family doesn’t follow, most people continue to look for a better (meaning local) opportunity, and move quickly. Be sure to stress that you will be successful in this kind of employment situation; perhaps you have ties in the area and a concrete plan to move in the near future. Three years might not be considered short.
In the next few months, double up your networking activity, broaden your LinkedIn geographic reach, and practice the statement about locations of interest. Research companies that have Great Boston area locations that may not be headquartered in the area.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners
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