I’ve being getting more inquiries from jobseekers who are looking for a position which would require them to re-locate to another province/state in their country OR another country altogether.
As we all know, the job search is challenging enough. Adding the long-distance component on top of it – especially if that means going to a different country – makes it even more challenging for many reasons.
The reality is that most employers prefer to hire local candidates because it’s easier, less risky, and ultimately less expensive to do so. Employers might consider relocating someone if they haven’t been able to find a suitable candidate after a long search.
If you are determined to target positions that would mean relocating, that’s fine however, you need to have realistic expectations about how this will play out.
A long distance job search has many obstacles
The first big obstacle is the employer’s resistance to hiring a long distance candidate. Even when you make efforts to address their concerns, it’s a bit of an uphill battle even at the best of times.
The second big obstacle is going to be your résumé and Linkedin profile. Even if they have been optimized using the most up-to-date strategies, the fact that you live in another location which requires re-location is problematic.
If your physical location and phone number give clues that you are not within close proximity to the job location, you likely will not be selected even if you are the best qualified candidate.
You could remove the physical address and remove the phone number and just go with an email address, but your résumé will most likely not come up in a database search since location is typically a top selection criteria used in a search string.
By purposefully removing this critical information from your résumé header, you are in effect announcing that you likely don’t live anywhere near the job and will be passed over, so you haven’t really accomplished anything.
I have written about possible strategies you can use to get around these situations. Click on this link to learn more.
If your résumé does come up in a search because you are using a local address and/or phone number (maybe a friend or relative) and you are lucky enough to have the Recruiter or Hiring Manager reach out to you, the first question they ask will probably be “Where do you live?”
Failure to answer this question confidently and with great response to rebuttals will probably take you out of the running.
As for your Linkedin profile, you’re going to run into a similar problem with respect to showing where you “live”.
You could make your location match that of the target position, but you must be able to address this with the employer who is going to question this tactic because it comes across as “sneaky”.
As you can see, it’s complicated and you will need a strategy that’s not going to look like you’re lying to people and even then, you will have a lot of explaining to do.
If you are determined to find a job that requires you to move far away, you better have a great reason to subject yourself to this because it can be a long process for “regular” folk who aren’t considered a “rare talent”.
Unless you are willing to just pick up and move to the new location and hope that you’ll find a job in the not so distant future, you need to have an effective action plan.
Your #1 objective
You need to make it as easy as possible for the employer to interview and hire you by addressing and ideally eliminating their objections.
Don’t send out your résumé for a long distance job search until you have thought about these things, have formulated a plan, and are able to clearly “prove” to the employer that what they consider obstacles are not obstacles for you.
While some employers will hire people from other countries without ever meeting them in the flesh, the vast majority want to meet the candidate in person at least once and that’s assuming they can get all the key stakeholders to participate in the interview process.
As you can see, this could be a scheduling nightmare which is precisely why employers aren’t too enthusiastic about long distance hiring.
7 questions to ask yourself
#1: How are you going to take time off to interview in person?
If you are currently working and can’t quit your job to make yourself 100% available, how much time can you realistically take time off work to interview?
This is a problem for local candidates who live within a short commute, so coming from a long distance will be perceived as more of a problem.
A location that you can get to and from within a day might not require too much time off, but if the job is located far away, you could be looking at least a few days of your time and that’s assuming there’s no delay at the other end.
#2: How much potential risk are you willing to assume?
What if you’ve are literally taking off in the place to meet the employer, but at the last minute, they can’t meet with you or decide they are no longer looking to fill the role?
Trust me, I’ve seen this happen with people who accepted an offer, sold their house and car, got on the plane with their family and pets, and 30,000 feet in the air, the employer pulled the plug. Ouch.
This is why you need a back up plan so you’re not wasting valuable time, money, and energy.
A good strategy is to combine the business trip with a personal vacation or visit with friends so when the meeting doesn’t transpire, you would have been there anyways, so you didn’t really lose anything.
A better strategy is to line up at least 3 interviews during the trip, so that if 1 or 2 of them cancel, it’s not a total bust.
To alleviate the employer’s hesitation about you as a potential candidate, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you can take off the required time to interview and be clear about how much advance notice you need to get to the interview.
The fact that you can’t get to an interview on a moment’s notice might automatically disqualify you from the running, so be prepared for that.
#3: How are you going to get to the location to interview in person?
The employer won’t necessarily cover the expenses of bringing you in for a meeting and this is definitely something you should not bring up unless you are invited to an interview.
You should put money aside to cover the costs of transportation, accommodation, meals, and other costs to get you there and back.
To make yourself more attractive as a potential candidate, you might want to clearly express in your career marketing documents (especially the cover letter) that it’s not a problem for you to interview at the employer’s location because you are either going to be there anyways or you are willing and able to cover the expense of getting there.
When you are offered the interview, you can find out if they will reimburse you for at least some of the expenses but don’t rely on this as an option. If you get any reimbursement, consider it a bonus.
#4: Are you legally able to work where the target position is located?
There’s no point in relocating anywhere until you have confirmed what kind of documents you need that would qualify you for employment.
I’m no expert in these matters and every region and country is different so I recommend you consult the appropriate organization to give you the correct information.
#5: Is your education recognized?
If a specific degree, diploma, certification and/or designation are key job requirements, you want to ensure that what you have will be considered “acceptable” by companies you are targeting since each location might have different stipulations.
You could have your education and credentials assessed by a reputable and accepted body of authority to ensure to determine their equivalency. If the results are favourable, you can add this information to your résumé, cover letter, Linkedin profile.
If your credentials are not recognized in the location you want to relocate to, you should find out what is involved to acquire the required education before you start your job search. You could start taking the necessary courses and training and then add them as “in progress” and show the expected completion dates on your résumé, cover letter, and Linkedin profile.
The big move!
#6: Are you really able to relocate if you get the job?
If you are “single” with no dependents, then relocating is a bit easier. If you’re in a relationship or are married, and/or have a family and pets that would have to relocate with you, it’s way more complicated.
The general rule of thumb in the hiring world is that if the spouse and/or kids aren’t 100% on board, it won’t work.
The first thing you have to do is to get everyone to agree to the relocation and figure out what that would look like for all parties involved.
For instance, maybe you would relocate first and then your family would follow after your kids finish school.
Once you’ve figured out a realistic scenario, you can share that with the employer to demonstrate that you have a realistic plan in place that will be least disruptive to the hiring process.
#7: Where are you going to live?
The other thing you must consider is where you are going to live should you get the job.
This is something you should have researched well ahead of time to determine what the costs are, how long it would take to find accommodation, what is involved in renting or buying, etc.
It might be necessary to organize temporary accommodation with a friend, family member, or some kind of short-term rental situation until you find a more permanent living arrangement.
If you can show without a shadow of a doubt that you’ve got your living arrangements covered off and you won’t be taking up valuable work time looking for a place to live, that will make the employer feel more confident about a relocation.
Don’t rely on applying to job postings!!!!!
As you can see, a long distance job search is a complicated endeavour and should not be taken lightly.
The best way to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible is to get your “ducks in a row” first and then when you are as prepared as you can be, you can start sending out your résumé.
But here’s the thing – applying to jobs postings is the least effective tactic especially for a long distance job search.
The second the Recruiter or Hiring Manager senses you would be required to relocate, they will more than likely not contact you for the interview.
What you need to do to boost your chances is to reach out to the Hiring Managers directly which will put you in a better position to address the relocation issue so that it isn’t a concern and your résumé is moved forward through the process.
Networking is a much more effective way to uncover “hidden” jobs and to generate interviews, but it does take time and a certain level of confidence to be successful.
I wrote about networking in previous articles. Click on this link to learn more.
Optimize your career marketing documents
And of course, no job search is complete without a strong résumé and cover letter which you are going to need whether you are applying to job postings or reaching out to companies directly.
If you are relocating to another country, your résumé might need to be re-written to meet the country’s required formatting, design, and content requirements.
If there was any time that you need an amazing cover letter, now is it. The cover letter is where you can proactively address all those objections that I’ve talked about in this article.
Make sure that you clearly express that you are not only willing to relocate but able to and then include the details that shows that you have figured out how you’re going to get to the interviews, how you’re going to relocate, where you’re going to live, etc.
The problem with many candidates is that they say they are “willing” to relocate but they don’t do their due diligence to find out what’s involved. What happens is, they decline an offer at the 11th hour because the reality was too scary. Or they take the job, relocate, and then quit as soon as they find something where they used to live.
Knowledge is power!
This is why it’s in your best interest to invest a good amount of time in doing the research to understand what’s really involved and then have realistic expectations moving forward.
I highly recommend you retain the services of a career professional to help you with a long distance job search. One wrong move can get you disqualified from the running. Feel free to contact me here.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I leverage over 10 years recruitment and sales/marketing experience to create attention-grabbing résumés, cover letters, and Linkedin profiles that help job seekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired. You can learn more about my story here and about how I can help you here.
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