Long-Distance Job Searching: Tips for SuccessSeptember 6, 2013 in Work & Internships
When I was in college, I was looking for a job on the opposite side of the country. Thankfully, I secured a position with a humanities non-profit in Seattle, all from the comfort of my room in Massachusetts. Looking back, here are some tips I learned:
Use Your School's Alumni Network
This tip is especially useful if you're hoping to relocate to a place where you have no connections. In all likelihood, someone living where you want to be has graduated from your school (note: this may not be true if you go to a small or regional school). Ask your school's career center if you can access the alumni network, and contact people living in your chosen location to discuss where to search for jobs.
If your school doesn't have a formal alumni network, you're almost certain to find an informal one on LinkedIn. Through LinkedIn and my alumni network, I spoke to numerous Seattle-ites who helped me secure a position.
Be Proactive With National Job Postings
Finding long-distance job postings online isn't hard at all. SimplyHired and Indeed, for example, provide a seemingly endless supply of open positions. The challenge, though, is submitting a résumé that turns into an interview. To make that happen, try to make a personal connection with someone working with your desired employer.
For example, to land my position, I spoke with a recruitment professional in advance about what the organization did and what types of positions were available. Talking to someone about the company or organization shows that you're really interested in working there, which distinguishes your resume from the other few hundred that were submitted.
Consider Starting With an Internship
My cross-country job search was for an internship, and I had no problem securing multiple, though unpaid, internships in Seattle. If employers don't have to pay you, they will be much less hesitant to hire you. With an internship, you have the chance to prove your employment-worthiness while networking in your desired locale at the same time. If money is an issue, considering trying to secure grant funding. My college, for example, offered a competitive pool of $3200 grants that helped me finance a summer with a humanities nonprofit.
If job applications from afar aren't yielding much success, consider moving and conducting your job search from there. Even if money is an issue, you can secure a barista job at a nearby coffee shop while looking for something that interests you more. While the Internet and social networking have made long-distance job searching easier, they haven't made it fool-proof. You will get much farther being able to meet prospective employers in person, and you'll get a better idea of the opportunities available.
In an increasingly connected world, long-distance job searching is becoming more and more common. Moving from coast to coast, or country to country, isn't as rare as it once was. Though there's never been a better time to look for a cross-country job, long-distance job searching isn't perfect. Being patient and persistent, though, is likely to pay off. Good luck!
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