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How to Land a Job in a New City Before Moving

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Maybe you just graduated college and want to move from a university town to a larger city, or perhaps your spouse needs to transfer to an office across the country. Either way, the dilemma is: Do you move first and look for a new job once you are settled (which could mean going months without an income), or do you look before moving? There's a lot of upside to landing a job before moving, including having the ability to look for housing close to work and greater financial security. Though a little tricky, here's how to do it.

Use a local address, if possible

While you should be transparent during the interview process that you are relocating, the tough part is getting your resume past screeners (human and machine) and landing an interview in the first place. Organizations are moving to automated systems that scan and reject resumes before it even gets to HR or the hiring manager. Meaning if the job isn't remote, some HR departments often set the default screener questions to kick out applicants that don't fall within a certain radius of the city. To get past this, whenever possible, use an address of a friend or relative in the new city. When it's time for an actual conversation with the company, you can explain your situation in greater detail.

Build a professional network

LinkedIn is a great starting point to connect with companies that could be a potential job fit. Make sure to update your profile to indicate your preference for jobs in the new city and take advantage of the other features of the social network, too, including LinkedIn Groups this will help you connect with other professionals and mentors. Outside of LinkedIn, join local chapters of professional organizations — you'll boost your chances of finding your dream job, and it will also help you connect to similar professionals in real life once you land in the new city.

Be willing to travel to the interview

If you live in California and want to move to New York, this could be a hassle but is one of the most critical elements to securing a new position. While many firms have moved to phone and video conferences for the first round of interviews, you've got to be prepared for a trip to meet the potential new boss and the new team. Unless you are an entry-level candidate fresh out of college, the in-person interview will be less about assessing skill-level (they probably already think you've got the skills to do the job if you made it past the first round), and more about understanding your personality and how you'll fit into the corporate culture.

Consider temporary work

Luckily for those in many professions from accounting to marketing, there are specialized placement agencies and recruiting firms that work to fill short-term positions and are always in need of qualified candidates. These positions may be a week's worth of work or three months, but it's a great option to keep some income flowing while you are in the middle of the relocation process.

Take your job with you

Even though fast Wi-Fi and ample video conferencing services theoretically eliminate the need to be gathered together in a single office for most corporate workers, the dream is not quite a reality for most of us. The stats show that most telecommute only one or two days a week, rather than full-time. However, if you are happy with your job and it's one that doesn't require you to be present to accomplish mission-critical tasks, talk to your manager and see if it's an option they are willing to explore.

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About the Author

Kristin Amico is a career and business writer who spent more than a decade managing creative teams at digital agencies. She has written for The Muse, The Independent and USA Today.