Sometimes the perfect dream job does not exist in the same town, city or even country. Sometimes the perfect job calls out from across lands and the seven seas. And sometimes a new city is the dream, and a job there is simply the means to make the move.
While this may appear to be an exciting opportunity, a long distance job search may prove to be a tad more complicated than finding a new job locally. However, these complications are far from insurmountable. Like all good things in life, this exercise too, requires focus, preparation and patience.
Whether the move is from Chicago to New York, London to Paris, or Taiwan to Sri Lanka, the following step-wise guide should prove handy while you are contemplating about how to get a job on distant shores.
Decide where to go. Narrowing options to a particular country, city or district is not only about checking places off a bucket list ‘fernweh’ style, but also about a careful analysis of the quality of life in the area. Housing, healthcare, climate, law and order and economic conditions are important factors to consider to avoid unpleasant surprises on arrival. The political climate can also influence work permits, long-term visas, social attitudes and cultural freedom. Various online resources rate cities by quality of life, and national consulates offer migration advice. If the destination city is not pre-determined by other reasons, such as a move to be with family or a partner, narrow relocation options to three top choices.
Research job positions and target employers in the destination cities. Some cities and towns offer numerous opportunities in a specific industry. Some cities are finance hubs, some tech hubs, and yet others are hubs for support services due to surplus manpower. Some cities also have global consultancy services, but these have adapted to local industries and influences such as oil, timber, agriculture or power generation. Research is not only important for a process of elimination, but also for selection. A new industry can be an opportunity to enhance a specialization and supplement work experience. A relocation can also provide new applications for a hitherto unapplied skill-set. A good goal for research is drafting a short-list of 20 potential employers and then identifying key people to target and contact.
Calculate all possible expenses associated with the move. Check differences in costs of living, exchange rates, and remuneration structures. A budget for relocation expenses whether to be borne individually or by the employer should be determined. Companies generally provide new graduates only a small, fixed sum for relocation expenses.
It is prudent to set aside some amount of savings to cover at least a six-month stay in the new place, in case things don’t work out.
Utilize technology to optimize the job application. Finding jobs in a new location can be uncomplicated owing to features like location filters on most job websites. However, as is the norm, very few recruiters actually offer to fly out candidates for an interview, so focus your preparation for a phone or a video interview over the web instead.
Adapt application documents to a long distance job search. For example, some corporate recruiters use candidate-scanning software, and these programs are set to filter out and eliminate candidates with far-away postcodes. To circumvent this, it may be a good idea to leave out the postcode from the resume. Recruiters may be more willing to consider a candidate if they see a local address on the resume. Consider providing a local address or P.O box if possible. An important tactic to show commitment to the move can be stating ‘pending relocation’ under the current address. Adding the remark- ‘pending relocation’ in the job application indicates conviction towards the move, beyond the prerequisite of attaining the particular job.
However, forwarding a low-impact resume as part of the job application will prove counter-productive despite effort, genuine intentions and interest. Use VMock.com, a SMART career analytics platform, to upload a resume and get feedback against 100+ parameters, within 10 seconds. Benchmarking the resume against global best practices in this fashion will optimize the long distance job search process.
Persuade target employers by addressing every possible concern they may have about considering a non-local candidate. Employers naturally view local candidates as safer bets, and save time and money by hiring locally. Forwarding a persuasive cover letter along with a powerful resume is going to be key to cracking a long distance job search. The key part of the personal message has to be the reason for the move. If there is a strong and genuine reason for the circumstances of the relocation, such as family or a partner, recruiters may be more willing to help. Again, it is important to avoid lending an impression that a move is being ‘considered’. Using affirmative statements, providing confirmed dates of availability, and undertaking expenses to appear for an interview can provide reassurance to the recruiters. For example, “I am moving to Seattle, and I will be there on the 5th. I’d like to set up an interview for the ___ position. Please find my qualifications and references attached.” is a more effective tone to take than “I may move to Seattle by the end of the year. Please consider my profile for any suitable positions.”
Create a support system in advance. If a cursory check of social networks does not reveal anyone settled in the chosen destination, try reaching out to an extended network by writing to friends. A first-degree network may reveal useful second-degree or third-degree connections that may become important contacts for accommodation and transport advice, recommendations, and even references for jobs. Reach out to alumni of alma maters, and also to former colleagues who may actually be delighted to be of assistance.
Consider visiting the destination well before moving to a new city. One trip for a recce at personal expense can make a tremendous difference. Hiring managers may be more easily persuaded if they know the candidate is unlikely to end up disliking the area and misleading them. Being in the city is also an opportunity to tap into local resources such as the chambers of commerce, local career fairs and conduct job search in person. Being familiar with the area is also going to help establish a connection, and reduce the feeling of isolation that accompanies a relocation. Consider making the move in advance to avoid the complications of job search, particularly if you are placed comfortably, financially.
Well-thought out research, an assertive attitude and a committed approach can together unlock a dream position in a far off location. However, the key takeaway for an effective job search strategy is the need for flexibility. Flexibility widens choices, and increases the chances of landing up in the right place.
Not only flexibility in expectations, but in availability as well, whether that means being ready for the hiring process or committing to be available on the starting date of the position. A job search strategy has to be designed around a forward-looking and broader thought process in order to ultimately appeal to a number of potential employers. One needs to demonstrate the willingness to go the extra mile and at times that can even mean, literally hundreds or thousands of miles.