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How to Get a Job Out of State

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The Sky’s the Limit

We live in a global society, and job-seeking on a national scale simply opens you up to a whole host of professional opportunities. Whether you’re looking to head out in your own direction following graduation, or you’re ready to make a fresh start mid-career, technology has opened a range of options for securing employment out of state.

Before You Get Started

Getting a job out of state involves a lot of moving parts. Before you jump in, consider the following:

  • Do you need to sell a house or give notice on a lease? If so, factor this into your job search and moving timelines.
  • Do you have children who need to get registered in new schools? You’ll want to research the quality of education in the areas you’re considering, as well as learn about school registration schedules and requirements.
  • Do you have a spouse or partner moving with you? Think about the necessity for a dual job search and what that means for your planning.

Also, calculate the costs of moving and relocation, such as transportation, utility hookups and deposits, vehicle registration, and unpaid downtime between when you leave one job and start another.

Where Do You Want to Go?

As you embark on a national job search, think about where you would like to live. Maybe you have a favorite vacation destination in mind, and you want to make it your permanent home, or perhaps you want a major change of scene or climate. Before you launch into your job search, conduct some research to make sure the areas you target will be a good fit once you get there. Email the chambers of commerce or tourism or economic development authorities in the areas you think you might like to work. Ask for relocation information, and chances are you’ll get website links or snail mail brochures and magazines that give you in-depth information about the areas you’re considering. Pay special attention to things such as housing prices, cost of living figures, crime rates and taxes. Knowing this information will give you a realistic idea of what it would be like to live in a particular area.

Research Companies in Your Field

The same informational packets you request as part of your regional search will also provide information about employment statistics, as well as describe the largest employers in a given area. This will help you decide if your employment prospects are good in the states you’re looking at. For example, if you’re in the software development business, you wouldn’t want to target a state or region that has a lower per-capita number of software development firms than other parts of the country.

Tip

Use your existing networks to get job leads―people like former classmates and colleagues can make great resources.

Join a National Job Search Service

Many online jobs search portals allow you to target your industry, select specific geographical areas you’re interested in and post your resume online. Using one of these services can help you identify the types of job opportunities that are available in specific areas, determine what the pay rates are like and what kind of experience employers are looking for. If you’re a recent grad, you may also ask a guidance counselor or job placement representative to connect you with leads outside your current state.

Make a Visit

Try to make at least one visit to the areas you’re considering moving before taking the plunge and accepting a job. Drive around neighborhoods, check out traffic and commute times, ask locals about climate, schools, public services―in other words, get as much of a feel for what it would be like to live there before committing.

Get to Know the Area

If the job you’re applying for requires an understanding of local or regional issues, make sure you educate yourself and can speak intelligently about them in your cover letter and in interviews. For example, if you’re applying for a construction job in the Southwest, make yourself aware of desert building trends and working in a arid, year-round environment. This approach tells employers you’ve done your research and will be ready to hit the ground running.

Start Applying for Jobs

Just as the internet has made it simple and efficient to apply for jobs locally, it’s just as easy to apply for a job out of state. Use your cover letter to let potential employers know you’re relocating, and explain what it is about the company or the region that you find appealing.

Tip

Some companies may shy away from out-of-state applicants because they want to avoid paying relocation expenses. Consider negotiating this item if you’re offered a job, and be willing to absorb some of the relocation costs yourself if it means securing the job.

Once you get an offer, refer back to your research before saying yes. A salary that went far in the Midwest might not cover your bills on the West Coast.