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Ask Brian- Long Distance Job Search

January 14th, 2008 · 6 Comments

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Reader John writes:

I’m looking to relocate (only three hours away from where I currently live) and have heard that some employers will just toss your resume if they see you are not local. I guess they think they’ll have to pay relocation expenses or don’t think you can interview easily. I don’t really care if they don’t cover moving expenses and I am available for interviews at their convenience. At the moment, I bury the following line, ‘I am relocating to *** and have the ability to meet at your convenience.’, in the third paragraph of my cover letter.

Is that enough or is there a better place to explain I’m looking to move to the area?”

Brian answers after the break:

Brian Sayz:

I’ll be honest with you, John. I don’t think three hours away is going to make that big a difference. I mean, some people commute 3 hours to work (insane, but it’s true)!

Long distance job searches are common. People do it every day. And imagine doing something like interviewing for jobs in California when you still live in New Jersey. People do that every day too. Those are much tougher than your situation because the employer knows they’re going to have to reimburse the applicant for a plane ticket and hotel room. So they really have to want to interview you in a situation like that. In your case, it’s just a car trip that you can do very easily yourself. Three hours away is really nothing, especially if you’re talking about locations within the same state.

So, I think you’re probably going to find out this isn’t as big a deal as you’re anticipating.

Put that information at the very end of your first paragraph

But since you brought this up, I don’t see why you should bury the line in the third paragraph of your cover letter. It’s important info. If I were writing your cover letter, I’d put that information at the very end of your first paragraph.

If you’ve written the cover letter properly, your first paragraph should be 2-3 sentences introducing yourself, declaring the position you are seeking at the company and briefly explaining your career history and qualifications. Something like this:

“In, response to your advertised opening in Someplace, I would like to introduce myself as a candidate for Name of Position. I am a seasoned and qualified Such And Such Professional with a proven track record of success doing X, Y and Z.”

Then, add on a quick sentence about your locational status:

“I currently reside in Timbuktu but I am in the process of completing a permanent relocation of my family to Minas Tirith. I am available to meet in person and discuss this position at any time.”

Then proceed with the rest of your cover letter.

Bonus Long Distance Job Search Tip:

Since we’re on the subject and I don’t want to do a whole separate post discussing this, here are some of the things I have seen people do when attempting a long distance job application:

  • Do you know anybody who lives in the area? Family, friends? Can you use their address temporarily for the job search? If so, that solves the problem right there. Don’t worry about the phone number. Cell numbers especially are all over the map these days. I haven’t lived in New York City for 3 years now, but the area code on my cell is still 917.
  • Declare in your cover letter something along the lines of “I will be in town for the next four weeks on personal business, so I will be available to meet anytime at your convenience.” The employer doesn’t have to know what the personal business is, or even if this is really true. As long as you show up on time, they’re none the wiser.
  • Bonus tip: I hate to use networking as the cure-all example to solve every problem, but if you’re really encountering resistance to your non-local status, that’s a situation where networking is invaluable. If you know someone in the company who can get your resume into the right person’s hands… Let’s just say, the phrase, “I have a buddy who is interested in a job with us…” can open more doors and overcome more obstacles than anything in the job search universe.

Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian- Should I Give Up On My Job Search?
  2. Ask Brian- How Long Should I Wait Before Following Up After An Interview?
  3. Ask Brian – Job Search During the Holidays?
  4. Job Search Hack- Organize Your Search Using The Rule Of Thirds
  5. Ask Brian – How To Find A Job Overseas?
  6. Ask Brian- How To Schedule An Interview When You Already Have A Job

Tags: Ask Brian · Job Search · Job Search January

  • John B

    Thanks for putting everything into perspective Brian. That makes a lot of sense and puts me at ease. Thanks for the additional advice too.

    … and love the way you slipped in the lord of the rings reference.

  • Brian

    Hope it helps, my friend. And if it doesn’t, please come back to the comments and let us know what you find.

    As to my nerdy references… yeah, I was going to go with “OZ” but then, I already knew I wanted to make a Laverne and Shirley reference for my next post. I figured I had better make it something most people would “get.”

    Weird how things turn out. LOTR was obscure when I was a kid. Now it’s the new Star Wars.

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  • Jason

    Thanks for the info, I am looking at getting a job in Chicago or the Twin Cities and I live in Dallas

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