How do you approach an out of state job search?

bgc235's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 67

How do people approach out of state job searches when they are out of college? I know that employers have a strong preference for local candidates when it comes to entry level jobs but if a candidate were to travel 1500 miles at their own expense to interview for a job, would that level the playing field between that candidate and a local one or would the out of state one still be at a significant disadvantage? What are some things you guys have done to maximize success for out of state job searches and how would you recommend that I approach it? I'm generally talking more along the lines of a 200-300 mile radius but if the right opportunity came up 1500 miles away I would consider flying out to meet with them.

Comments (54)

Mar 28, 2016

I would like to know also... In the process of interviewing out-of-state position right now.

Mar 28, 2016

The biggest challenge for out-of-state recruiting is convincing the company you have a compelling reason to relocate. They want to make sure that you are "sticky". They don't want to hire you and then you find out you hate the area and leave after one year. The best way around this is to convince them you are targeting the area for a particular reason (whether that be for family, professional reasons, etc.).

Beyond that, you could book a one-day trip to that particular city and try grabbing lunch/coffee with a person from a few different companies you are looking at.

Or you can do what I did when I relocated. A company (not the one I'm working for) emailed me and said they wanted to do an initial phone call to gauge my interest. I replied: "Thank you for the opportunity to talk with your company. I will actually be in town next week if you would rather have a face-to-face conversation. Otherwise, I'd be happy to chat on the phone." Let's just say that before that email, I was not planning on being in town :)

The company really liked that and said they would like to do a face-to-face. While there I ended up having a conversation/interview with the entire team (ended up being a first/final round rolled into one).

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Apr 4, 2016
RE Bootcamp:

The biggest challenge for out-of-state recruiting is convincing the company you have a compelling reason to relocate. They want to make sure that you are "sticky". They don't want to hire you and then you find out you hate the area and leave after one year. The best way around this is to convince them you are targeting the area for a particular reason (whether that be for family, professional reasons, etc.).

Beyond that, you could book a one-day trip to that particular city and try grabbing lunch/coffee with a person from a few different companies you are looking at.

Or you can do what I did when I relocated. A company (not the one I'm working for) emailed me and said they wanted to do an initial phone call to gauge my interest. I replied: "Thank you for the opportunity to talk with your company. I will actually be in town next week if you would rather have a face-to-face conversation. Otherwise, I'd be happy to chat on the phone." Let's just say that before that email, I was not planning on being in town :)

The company really liked that and said they would like to do a face-to-face. While there I ended up having a conversation/interview with the entire team (ended up being a first/final round rolled into one).

All of this is great advice and I can personally attest to both. You need an actual reason to be there and you need to be super flexible in your schedule and traveling to make it there to show that you're interested.

Mar 28, 2016

network your way there. much easier than applying directly. research the area before you meet with people and be able to talk about different neighborhoods and growth/projects going on in the city. should win you some points and show you're serious about making a move.

as for interviews, companies tend to pay for your flight and board.

Mar 28, 2016

First and foremost. Perseverance.

I relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles and at first it was extremely challenging (for said reasons above). Why would a company give some guy living over 2,000 miles away a chance at a position where there are numerous qualified local candidates with stellar resumes? Ultimately you need to convince them that, although you live in X city, you are destined to be in Y city in the near future. Your largest hurdle is to convince the firm to treat you as a local candidate. Once you accomplish this, it's no harder than looking for a position in your current city.

This means you need to have your story down pat - you need to have this rehearsed so you know it like the back of your hand. If you don't have a story other than you want a lifestyle change - then make one up! Point being is (like what was mentioned above) that you don't want a company to feel you "just want a change" and 6 months down the road you find out you hate it here. don't have any friends. broke up with your previous long distance gf. and will most likely give a 2 weeks notice. If this happens, the company literally wasted thousands of dollars on you, lost productivity of others given new hires are usually dead weight for the first 3 months, and pissed them off at even giving you a chance.

Other tidbits of advice (that are probably a given):

1) tap into your alumni network. Odds are you have at least a few people from your school in the industry that you are working in living in your target city. This is by far the best start for your next job hunt. Hopefully whoever you connect with knows a recruiter, or at a minimum knows of a job opening that was passed their way.

2) most likely you are going to be traveling on your own dime, so be sure to try to structure interviews that correspond with other interviews. Even if you haven't gotten to the point where you have interviews, reach out to people and tell them you would love to pick their brain over a cup of coffee. Say you will be in town next month, and have the afternoon open and be ready and willing to fly out for literally a cup of coffee.

3) be careful with your current job, you don't want to spook them with a bunch of vacations. It was a challenge flying out to LA regularly and not letting the powers that be know I was up to something. Most companies won't interview on the weekends, but if you can, try to structure soft interviews (coffee, lunch, etc.) on the weekends. Also, try to schedule as many interviews as you can via skype!

4) don't give up! If you really want it, then it will happen. End of story.

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Mar 29, 2016

I just did this last year and it's really basically putting the cart before the horse out of necessity. Some points...

Like someone else said above, convince them you are a local candidate. I told employers I was relocating to their city in the next year for my husband's job (not totally untrue, but he can work anywhere). When asked my time frame for moving I said the exact dates are flexible, but definitely "this year".

Plan on visiting that city at least once every few weeks and then network, cold call, and email to get informational interviews. I would say "I'll actually be in town the week of July 5 if you have any time to sit down." Then would buy my plane ticket based on their availability. Plan on eating the cost of a few tickets when someone inevitably has to reschedule. If they asked why I would be in town I would say "house-hunting and other business" to reiterate our commitment to moving. I wouldn't recommend the opposite approach of asking "when can you meet me?" and then making your plans around that because it makes you seem like you aren't totally committed to the city, but more interested in just getting a job. Ideally you'll be able to line up two or three informationals in one trip but not always. One time I spent $500 on hotel and air fare and then another $150 to change my flight because the guy I was meeting with had to change our meeting time. It was worth it though because it got me my job (top investment sales brokerage shop).

It definitely takes perseverance but it can be done. Good luck!

Mar 30, 2016

"are you going to stay?" Is the question everyone is really trying to figure out when you are an out of state candidate. I've done two serious national job searches. One 5 years ago and then one last year when I decided to move from debt to equity and wasn't sure I could make the move internally. I received offers each time, but didn't accept an external offer the last round.

When made the move from TX to the East Coast 5 years ago, everyone kept dancing around the question, but I could tell that is what they were trying to guage. The year before the company had paid to move a Director across the country and he had quit 6 months later because his wife hated the city we live in (I'm in a southern satellite office). They weren't interested in repeating the experience with an Analyst. Luckily, I knew this information (this is why your network is important). I was pretty blunt at the end of my in person interview when they asked if I had any questions/final thoughts and just laid everything out for them. I figured that if they had gone through the expense of flying in 2 people from NYC to meet me and then flying me in from TX for an interview, then I was pretty close to an offer, but they obviously still had concerns and If I could easily obliterate the obstacle, then why not.

I told them that I had noticed a theme throughout the day (I interviewed with 10 people) and it seemed like the biggest concern about my candidacy was after I moved, I was going to decide I hated the city and then want to move back "home." I then went through all of the reasons why that wasn't the case. I'm still with the company two promotions and 5 years later.

One things I've found is using a head hunter is really helpful. If you convince them you really want to move/are going to stay, the company will accept their word on it and you have an easier time getting interviews. Those companies will also generally fly you out on their dime - I've actually never encountered one that didn't after a couple of phone/video interviews. They have all also let me schedule Thursday night flights for Friday interviews and then stay the weekend (I've paid for hotels Friday/Sat night) and fly back Sunday so I could spend some time in my prospective new city.

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Apr 2, 2016

Seems like most advice above is geared toward experienced hires. I've had success with "stretching the truth" as an entry level guy.

At first, I was honest with companies and told them I'd need to find an apartment before relocating.. never heard back after pressing send on those emails. Then I started getting creative. One company was located near some of my family members, so on my resume I literally wrote "family in XYZ" in parentheses beside my address and they set up an interview. For NYC jobs, I used the address of one of my friends from college.

Years ago, the Wall Street Playboys wrote an article on their blog about lying about where you live to get an IB job in another city. Google their blog if you're not familiar.

Apr 4, 2016
Tbod:

One company was located near some of my family members, so on my resume I literally wrote "family in XYZ" in parentheses beside my address and they set up an interview. For NYC jobs, I used the address of one of my friends from college.

Likewise, this is fantastic advice too, sadly.

I was dating a girl long-distance for months and it finally got to the point where one of us had to move. I applied for jobs for 6 months, getting interviews and good responses but getting nothing. Finally just put her address on my resume and pretended like I already lived there and I got hired within two weeks.

Apr 4, 2016

In my last job search, I was trying to move to the midwest or west coast. Coming from Texas, I believe most employers see that as an even bigger hurdle than those coming from another state. I get the impression that most that leave Texas immediately try to return (or so that's what employers think).

But some interesting advice posted here.

Apr 4, 2016

Would second this thought. The flight risk back to Texas seems to be a stereotype that is often referenced regarding Texans looking to venture out of state.

Apr 4, 2016

Really doubt it would hurt your chances, i'm sure they'd just assume you'll find your way to work somehow

Apr 4, 2016

no

Apr 4, 2016

I had this same issue when I was re-locating between cities. It's really a catch-22 since listing your out of state address usually gives HR pause, but as you mentioned your work experience will show your current city. It's best to leave it on.

For internship recruitment, the fact that you're from out of town should be a non-issue. Most firms with established programs expect interns from around the country.

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Apr 4, 2016

No

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Apr 4, 2016

I'm curious about this too because when I start fall recruiting for my MSF, I plan networking both in NY (near my school) and CA (where I'm originally from). I have similar interests as the OP, but also am open to S&T.

Apr 4, 2016

Also interested in this subject -- if anyone has any feedback for the OP.

Apr 4, 2016

I was at UIUC, and used my campus address for chicago jobs. I'm originally from NJ, and used a separate resume with my NJ address for NY openings.

Used a friend's in Menlo Park for jobs in Cali, too.

Apr 4, 2016

Any other users have any input?

"Ambition and education is first and talent is second"- T.I.

Apr 4, 2016
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Apr 4, 2016