For many of us, COVID-19 has not only impacted our daily lives, but also where we are living. This could result in significant changes to your job search, especially if you are no longer local to where you were planning on searching. As someone who has successfully completed two job searches across the country, I am here to assure you that a long distance job search can be done and to share some of my insights.
Before you even begin your search, you need to do some research about where you are planning to relocate. It’s important that you are familiar with the area because it’s going to be your new home! Think about things like accessibility to public transportation, rural versus city locations, the weather, how locals spend their time on weekends, and anything else that is important to you. This research is also important because employers want to know that not only the job is a good fit for you, but also that the new location will be. If they are unsure that you are familiar with the location, they may worry that it won’t be a good fit and that you will relocate again soon.
You should also plan to research your moving costs – which unfortunately can be pretty expensive. There are many ways to get your belongings across the country; one of the cheapest that I found when moving was shipping through Amtrak. Spend time researching which method to move (pods, moving trucks, shipping, etc.) is best for you and shop around for the best prices. You also want to consider the cost of living in your new city including housing, utilities, gas, and groceries. Once you know what your expenses will be, you will have a better idea of what your salary requirements are.
Now that you have your research out of the way, it’s time to focus on the search! Here are my tips to get the most out of your long distance search:
- Network, network, network! This tip is especially important if you are searching for positions in a location in which you have limited contacts. Employers often prefer local candidates, so having a robust network in your target area can give you a competitive edge. A great place to start is by making connections with BC alumni through Eagle Exchange. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your target area, as well as to join local industry LinkedIn groups.
- Include your plans to relocate in your cover letter. An employer might wonder if you are serious about relocating or if you have compelling reasons to do so. You can remove this doubt by being straightforward about your intention to move. If you are planning a trip to the area, include the dates you will be there and available for an in-person interview.
- Be ready to talk about relocating in your interview. When I was interviewing for jobs in Boston while living in California, every single employer asked me some version of the question “Why are you planning to move across the country?” For me, I was relocating to be closer to my family and to where I originally grew up. Everyone has different reasons, but make sure you are able to articulate your reason in a compelling and professional way.
- Be prepared for a virtual job search. It is likely you will be conducting your interviews via phone or video interview and you will need to consider things like: Do you have a place to conduct video interviews with a plain background and stable internet connection? Have you practiced maintaining eye contact on virtual platforms? Check out How to Conduct a Virtual Job Search for everything you need to know.
Many of our coaches have firsthand experience with long-distance job searches. As you navigate the process I would encourage you to make an appointment with a career coach to discuss your search. You can also check out our Job and Internship Listings page to get you started on finding opportunities worldwide.