Here's how to make your long distance job search work
A long-distance job search presents several impediments. Apart from the fact that it restricts your availability for a face-to-face interview, recruiters tend to prefer local candidates since hiring them involves fewer costs and they are considered less likely to quit their jobs for better opportunities in other places.
Yet the fact remains that relocating is sometimes inevitable, whether it’s because you currently don’t live in a city where the jobs are or you just want to make a geographical leap. Whatever the reason, a smart long-distance job search strategy can greatly enhance your chances at landing work in a city before you actually move there.
Here’s what you to do:
First, determine which city you want to relocate to
In many cases, this decision may already have been made for you; for instance, if your spouse has been transferred to a certain city, you will likely look for a job in that same city. But when that decision hasn’t been made, it’s vital to research the place and find out if it’s right for you. What is the job market like? How different is the culture? Is the city safe? Undertake a visit to the place and suss out these things for yourself. If that’s not possible, read the local papers for an insight into the place.
Research to know where are the jobs available
Take advantage of the Internet to research the job market and find out where the openings are. A report like the Monster Employment Index, for instance, provides a monthly analysis of online job demand in the Gulf region, and identifies countries that are recruiting. Once you’ve shortlisted locations, seek out recruiters who hire candidates for your industry in that locality and build a rapport with them. Register on a credible job website like Monster.com and use the location filter to find relevant jobs.
Consider - who are the people that can help?
Networking becomes even more crucial in a long-distance job search where you will need all the help you can get—from assistance with finding a job, to finding a house, to help with settling down. Scour your social media database for contacts and tap into both professional and personal links. Reaching out to your college alumni that may be working in the city is another good move. Also don’t hesitate to get in touch with industry bodies and chambers of commerce, many of whom are welcoming and helpful to professionals who seek them out for assistance.
If you plan on visiting the city where you’re looking to move, set up informal meetings in advance with any individuals who can share insights into the local job scene.
Think about - How will you do up your CV?
Recruiters tend to back off when they see an outstation address so try and include a local address in your CV. The address of a relative, friend or somebody in your professional network are all fair game. If you don’t know people in the city, mention your current address but state upfront that you will be moving by a certain date. Incorporating a line like “Moving to Dubai in June” lends credibility to your CV while also letting the employer know that they are dealing with somebody from outside.
Reflect on - How will you frame your cover letter?
Use the first couple of paragraphs to summarise your skills and explain why you will be a good fit in the organisation, leaving the bit about relocation for the end. In the final paragraphs, mention that you are interested in moving (eliminate the reason—you will probably be asked about it in detail if you make it to the interview stage) and mention the dates you will be available for an interview.
As mentioned earlier, recruiters aren’t too keen on outstation candidates because of the costs involved in relocating an employee. If you do not expect a prospective employer to foot your bills for the interview and relocation, this is where to mention them. Stating explicitly that you do not expect the company to pay for relocation expenses will clarify any doubt they may be harbouring in their minds and could help level the playing field with respect to local candidates.
You’ll be asked ‘Why do you want to relocate?’ So have an answer ready
Recruiters will naturally want to know the reason for your relocation so have a plausible story ready. Narrate your story with enthusiasm and conviction at interviews.
While it’s quite possible that that reason for your relocation is unsavoury — for instance the desire to get away from a painful memory— never say anything that may lead a recruiter or potential employer to believe that you're relocating because you feel it’s being forced on you. Ensure you portray it as a positive decision on your part, driven by the fantastic opportunity you feel the job represents.
A long-distance job search isn’t easy but not impossible either. Above all, have patience—things may take a little longer than usual to work out, but a smart strategy and a little luck should see you through to a new job in the city of your choice.