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Finding a job in a distant city takes planning, patience, and perseverance. Here are some strategies for making your next cross-country career move a smooth one.
Here are some strategies for making your next cross-country career move a smooth one.
Maybe you left your heart in San Francisco, or perhaps you think that the Windy City is the perfect place to jump-start a career. Whatever your reasons for relocating, you've got your work cut out for you if you're long-distance job hunting. Here are some strategies that can help make your cross-country career move a smooth one.
Do your homework
Don't forget to research the cost of living, because it's a nasty surprise when your new paycheck doesn't cover expenses. Use one of the tools available online, like Salary.com's Salary Wizard to find out how much you'll need to make when transferring from Boise to Baltimore.
Word of mouth connections
Both times, Garner began her quest for a new job by researching the philosophies and reputations of specific PR agencies before making initial contact via email. "If it happened that I knew someone, I used my contact as a springboard," Garner says.
Having an inside contact is especially critical when interviewing across the miles, says Karen Jorgensen president of Jorgensen HR Corp. in California. Companies are often reluctant to consider out-of-state candidates because they fear these candidates will take any job as a stepping-stone, only to jump ship to something better. "They'll be more likely to take you seriously if you've been referred by a trusted employee or friend," says Jorgensen.
If you don't have local contacts, don't be shy about making
some. Attend job fairs, contact your alumni association for a
list of graduates in the area, and mine local branches of
trade associations like the American Marketing Association for
additional leads. Once you have a contact database, you can
begin to send out introductory cover letters and resumes.
"And use a local address if possible," says Jorgensen.
Lining up multiple interviews on a short trip takes planning, flexibility, and luck, but it can be done. When Karen Converse wanted to make her move from Denver to San Francisco to advance her career in advertising account services, she crammed 17 interviews into three days. Like Garner, Converse called everyone she knew in San Francisco to get names of professional contacts, then set up job interviews over the phone or by email. Her persistence and initiative paid off. "Once I arrived, I set up additional interviews in between other interviews from a pay phone," she says. "I didn't have a job offer when I left, but I followed up when I returned home and landed two solid offers--both with moving expenses."
Risk and reward
Emily Farber says it's worth going out on a limb for the city you love. "Go to where you want to be," says Farber. "It's risky, but it opens up a whole world of new opportunities." After Farber graduated from business school at the University of Denver in 1997, she wanted to move closer to her family on the East Coast. She chose Boston as her future home and began searching for jobs there in financial services, but was shocked to find many Boston firms reluctant to interview her.
"A lot of companies didn't believe I'd be seriously looking from the Denver area," recalls Farber. Frustrated, Farber took the plunge and moved without a job, landing a full-time position soon after becoming a Boston resident.
If you take Farber's route, you might have to pay your own way or take a less-than-perfect job at first. But if you're committed to making the move, in the long run it will be worth the extra effort.
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