Tips for conducting a job search in another market

I get to talk with talented professionals every week who want to relocate another city but want to do so with a job in hand.  Making the decision to move could be based on the desire to be back in their hometown, to have a change of lifestyle, to accommodate cost of living, or an infinite combination of other reasons.  In all cases, moving to a new city AND conducting a job search is a pretty monumental project which is daunting to even the most experienced professionals.

First, know that it can be done. But, you must think through this adventure strategically.  Much like planning to ascend Mt. Everest, your move to a new city and a new job starts well in advance of packing the moving truck.

1. Decide on your target location before preparing your resume

Finding a job in a new market will be a unique process based on the region or city you wish to pursue.  For instance, looking for a job in NYC is much different than doing a search in Bedford, Oregon.  The landscape is vastly different, as are the people and the companies.  As a result, your search approach must be in line with your target market.  Even your resume will use words that are “in-tune” with your desired locale.

2. Research the market

You should deep-dive into your desired city.  Become a distant “local.”  This step will start up to a year before you relocate.  Read the local business news, set up a job alert for the local area, make note of companies or industries that are hiring, and take a look at some of the most active meetups nearby.  Knowing whether and which jobs are in high or low demand will drastically change your strategy moving forward.  Learn what strengths you have that will be a bonus in this new locale.  Decide which companies might be of interest to you going forward.

3. Build your network

If you want to relocate “home” you probably already have something of a network – time to rekindle old connections.  If you are moving to a new market then you’ll need to start from scratch.  Join your LinkedIn alumni or Facebook group and start making connections to locals with whom you share a common mascot – it’s a great conversation starter!  Ask for advice from these new or reignited connections – find out what it takes to become a local.  It is always easier to get a job if you have people who know and can recommend you.

4. Take a couple of scouting trips

Once you’ve made some connections and compiled a short list of potential companies it’s time to take a trip.  Make it a work week and set up as many meetings as possible with company connections, personal connections, former classmates and a realtor.  Take time to look at neighborhoods and real estate/rental costs in relation to the companies you would ideally like to work for.  What will your commute look like?  Based on your target area, what will your salary requirements be – AND, are they realistic?

5. Begin to “look” local

Now that you know more about your target city you can begin to look more local.  You’ll use localized words and phrases when you talk with hiring managers.  A dead giveaway for me is when people use “the” in front of a highway name.  In Colorado we don’t say “the 70.”  Pay attention to the conversations you have and ask questions if someone uses a term you are not familiar with – ask a LOT of questions.  It might make sense to change your location on social media to your target city.  If you have family in your new location you can use their address in order to make you look local.  It always makes me wonder how serious a candidate is when they apply for a job but list a different state as their current address.

6. Assert your value proposition

The cleanest way to relocate is to look for a job that is very close to the one you already have.  Trying to change careers AND change locations is like trying to leap TWO buildings in a single bound.  You’re more likely to get the hiring manager’s attention if you can do the job she needs done without any ramp up.   Show them how you can move seamlessly into the position and bring immediate value to their organization.  Also, take a look at the Global500 list.  Companies who have hundreds of locations are more likely to embrace remote workers so it really doesn’t matter WHERE you live.

7. Remove objections – both yours and your target company’s

Get rid of big toys like campers, boats, motorcycles and other things that won’t fit in a moving truck.  These are barriers to your move – and are replaceable in your new location.  Make it as easy as possible for your next manager to get you on board and on the clock.  Plan on saving as much money as possible to relocate – you aren’t going to get the entire cost covered and you don’t want a few dollars to keep you from your new dream job in your new dream city!  Sell your house – even if that means moving into a rental and storing your stuff for a period of time.  Having a local address shows commitment and removes the question as to whether you are really worth the company’s time.  Prove you are ready for this new job and this new chapter in your story!

Relocating and starting a new job is one of the toughest projects you can take on, but it can be done.  With some careful planning and forethought you can achieve your goal and begin your next new adventure!  For more thoughts on making a move to Colorado visit us here!