Fortunately these days, the task of finding a job in another state is less of an uphill battle than it used to be. However, there are still real challenges to securing a position from a distance. Now, it also depends on industry and company size. Larger companies are going to have offices all over the world, perhaps, while smaller companies are going to be regional boutiques that will be harder to uncover. In either situation you need to be prepared for challenges so here are my steps for how to find a job in another state:
Identify a location
Where do you want to go? If you work for a larger organization, ask around to see if they have offices in your desired state. Talk with your managers about requesting a transfer. If you work for a smaller company, still consider asking your manager if there are any opportunities to start a new office in your desired location or if they can provide any help for you to relocate. This one is sensitive depending on your supervisor. Some are more open to helping their employees transition than others. If you are a supervisor, please consider being the former.
The next step is to get the lay of the land by researching. Google will be your best friend! There is so much information out there now. Look up governmental websites that give you forecasting on the current and expected job market. Also get the rankings of ‘best cities’ to move to — just to see where your new location stacks up. Gather all the information you can, good or bad. How is the housing market? What is the city known for? For example, Houston = oil and gas; Hollywood = entertainment; NYC = finance. That doesn’t mean you are necessarily looking at these well known markets and industries – everyone still needs a grocery store or their hair cut! But knowing this kind of information can help you understand the culture to best position yourself for the change. Also, use websites like glassdoor.com and vault.com to get company/salary information.
Next, if you are still convinced that you’d like to relocate, it’s time to make connections. Please don’t fall in the dark hole of randomly applying to everything you see. It’s easy to do and it feels like you are making progress. However, these days, 10% of people find jobs by applying online. The success factor is networking. During this step, making an appointment with a Career Coach can help. A career coach can help you formulate a networking strategy and work with you to make productive connections.
The more connections you make, the more reach you have. Start talking to friends, and friends of friends, and cousins, and aunts, and grandparents. Weak ties and acquaintances can also be a very good resource during this stage. Update your LinkedIn profile and use the ‘find alumni’ tool. This is the alumni database from the university or college you graduated. You can search by location. Re-kindle those old connections. Don’t be afraid to reach out, most people are willing to help. Professional organizations can help too. Find a professional organization that is in your current location and also has presence in your desired location. Reach out to the organization in the new state to create more connections.
I honestly recommend that you put the majority of your time into networking rather than applying online. However, applying online can work so don’t completely ignore it. People still get jobs this way, but I think you will reach burn out or discouragement faster by only applying online. Once you have made the connection and someone has asked you to apply, that is when you pour your energy into the application process. You’ll have to update your resume and customize a good cover letter, but hopefully this is a formality rather than the first time someone is considering you.
Save for expenses to visit
Hopefully by this stage, you have secured an interview. Save some cash to pay for flights and hotels for the interview. Some employers do skype or online interviews now; however, I would be prepared to make a visit. Plus, it’s a good way for you to scope out the area, get a feel for the actual culture of the office, and gain all the information you need to make a decision.
Finding a job in another state and relocating takes time. Prepare yourself for a journey with ups and downs and keep your eye on the prize to make it through. Good luck!