Developing Your Career


Overcoming the Unique Challenges of a Long-Distance Job Search

By Greg Simpson on July 15, 2014

Last month, the Bureau of Labor statistics released its population migration study which reported that between 2012 and 2013, 35.9 million Americans moved to another residence.  Of those moving more than 500 miles, 48 percent were job-related. Are you considering relocation as part of your job search? If so, the move will present some unique challenges.

In the not-too-distant past, hiring organizations paid transportation costs for in-person interviews and picked up the tab for moving expenses. Today’s lean organizations are less likely to foot the bill or, for that matter, even consider an out-of-town candidate—unless he or she has hard-to-find skills or has demonstrated outstanding performance as a senior executive.

Relocation has a big price tag.  It’s estimated that organizations spend $9.3 billion annually in the U.S. on relocations with the average move costing $71,786.  So if you’re considering a move to another part of the country, here are a few tips for throwing your hat in the ring without scaring off a potential employer:

  • Set the stage.  Use your cover letter or initial phone call to convey that a move is already being seriously considered—rather than hinging the move on landing a job.
  • Expedite the interview process.  You may have to offer to assume responsibility for your own transportation expenses to the interview. Explain that you’re going to be in the area for pre-move business or to assess the housing market and suggest a meeting at their convenience.
  • Pay the freight.  While some organizations will negotiate moving expenses, accept that you may have to pick up the tab for the move.  Adjust your expectations to keep yourself in the running.
  • Emphasize your safety net.  Drop hints indicating your familiarity with the city and any relationships you already have locally.  Employers recognize that relocations are more successful when the new hire has established local support.

If the destination city is where you want to be, flexibility may be the best avenue to achieve your goal.  Competition for good jobs is still fierce; don’t let relocation expenses become a deal breaker.

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