I’m actively searching for a job in another state. How can I mention in my resume and cover letter that I’m open to relocation without getting overlooked?
Hiring managers are heavily concerned about the logistics, costs, and time required to hire and transition an out-of-state candidate. For that reason, they tend to favor local candidates who can potentially fill the role more quickly. This also creates a situation of less risk to the candidate, if the role does not work out. The exception may be a high-level or niche position that is difficult to fill, in which case hiring managers are more open to scouring other markets to find qualified talent. But for most people, that isn’t always the case. So how can you increase your chances of consideration?
Communicate that Relocating is a Priority
Position your relocation as a priority, and discuss it as if it’s already in progress. In other words, you plan to relocate regardless of whether you receive the job offer, and that can instill confidence. This doesn’t mean you have to be packed and on your way, but do communicate to the company that picking up and putting down roots in another city is not an issue for you – in terms of time, cost, and transition. Unless it’s stated, don’t ask if the role provides relocation assistance (compensation), as most do not. If it’s clear that you are already planning on making the move, and it’s not dependent solely upon you getting the job, hiring managers will feel more confident in your ability to make a swift transition.
Get Specific on Your Timeline
When broaching the subject of relocation in your cover letter, provide a definitive timeline around your availability so that there are no uncertainties. You can try saying something along the lines of:
“I’m currently in the process of relocating to New York City, and can be available to interview with 1 week’s notice, and to start in the position within 3 weeks.”
Companies that consider out-of-state candidates primarily want to be assured that it’s going to be a smooth and fast transition, as it’s a likelihood that they need to get someone into the position and up to speed fairly quickly. If you understand and can speak to their concerns in your resume and cover letter, you have a valid shot at being considered.
Bonus tip: if possible, change the location on your LinkedIn profile to reflect the market to which you’ll be relocating.
Reflect the Local Market on Your Resume
On the resume, a physical address is ideal, even if you use a friend’s that you can justify as a temporary “residence”. But if that’s not possible, instead of listing out your full address, you can denote the cities you’re targeting in your contact information line. For instance:
Los Angeles | Chicago | (617) 312-7892 | email@example.com
California | New York | (617) 312-7892 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Your primary objective is to communicate the message that you’re serious about moving and can do so fairly seamlessly. Companies understand that hiring an out-of-state candidate is an investment on both ends, so it’s even more important that you really communicate your interest in the role and the organization, and why you feel you’re an excellent fit. Not every company will necessarily require an immediate transfer, and in some cases, particularly with very niche and high-level roles, they may be openly recruiting out of state candidates to widen their own talent pool, and perhaps even offer relocation assistance. It will depend upon the level and specialization of your role, and relocation compensation is typically stated within the job description. I don’t advise asking for it unsolicited.
Out-of-state job seekers will commonly face the challenge of competing against local, accessible candidates. Position yourself for the best results by doing your research, preparing your story, and communicating your ability to meet the immediate needs of the role.
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Rev up your resume to relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.
Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Let's face it: All other things being equal, employers would rather recruit local applicants than out-of-towners. It's more convenient to schedule interviews, and there are no hassles or cost concerns associated with relocation. But according to Monster data, about half of all job seekers are willing to move for the right job.
If you are planning to move or are just open to the idea of relocation, follow these tips to get your resume noticed.
Add all target locations
List all potential locations in the Monster Resume Builder's Where Would You Like to Work? fields (in the Resume Settings section). In the same section, answer "yes" to the "Are you willing to relocate?" question. When employers search resumes, they have the option to include job seekers who both reside in or are willing to work in the selected locations, so be sure your name makes their hit list.
Mention relocation at the top of your resume
Use the Resume Builder's Summary field to specify your relocation availability. If you're targeting a specific area, a statement such as "Searching for a position in the Dallas area" gets the point across. If you're more flexible, include a line such as "Available to relocate nationwide" or "Open to relocation to the Northeast." If you have firm plans to move, you can say "Relocating to Chicago in March 2018."
Elaborate in your cover letter
Your cover letter is the perfect place to explain your situation. Here are a few ways to word your relocation preferences:
- Targeting a specific area: "Please note that I will be relocating to Los Angeles in March 2018. Your opening presents the precise challenge I am seeking, and I would welcome the chance to discuss this opportunity with you."
- Returning to your hometown: This shows that you have roots in the target location, so you're more likely to stay put this time. "Although I have been successful in my current position, I am eager to make a permanent move back to Boise, Idaho." Don't be afraid to use humor and mention something unique to the town, such as the home team or weather.
- Keeping your options open: "At this point in my career, I am searching for a position that would be a perfect fit, so I am open to relocating for the right opportunity."
Be available for interviews
If you're targeting a specific area, plan to be available in the location for a week or so to attend face-to-face interviews. Your cover letter can mention that you will be available for interviews in the location for a certain period of time. You may also suggest an initial phone interview, and then arrange to meet in person if there is mutual interest.
Consider offering to pay relocation expenses
Some professionals with desirable credentials are aggressively recruited, and some employers are more than willing to pay for relocation, offer spousal relocation assistance and even help find a new house in the new location. These professionals can usually negotiate an attractive relocation package.
Other candidates face a more competitive job search, going up against local job seekers who may have comparable qualifications. If so, consider that you may open more doors for yourself if you are willing to pay relocation costs. Use this as a selling point in your cover letter with a line such as, "Please note that I am very interested in your opportunity and am willing to incur all relocation expenses" or "I will be relocating to Jacksonville in May at my own expense."
Don't use someone else's address
Some folks try to get an edge in a long-distance job search by fudging the address. This can cause problems; if your current job is located in one city and your address is far away, the hiring manager will probably be confused or concerned that your address is misleading. More problems may ensue if you're called for an interview and you're unable to get there right away. Then there's the uncomfortable discussion that you don't actually live in town. It's better to be honest about where you're living and use the above resume and cover letter strategies to show you're ready to pack your bags for the right opportunity.
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