By Mary Jo King, NCRW, NCOPE

Many employers prefer to hire locally to avoid hiring delays and relocation costs. Some will program their applicant tracking software (ATS) to reject candidates with non-local zip codes. When you lose home court advantage as a job seeker, there are several strategies you can deploy to help you find work in a new location.

As an out-of-state candidate, here are a few techniques you may use, alone or in combination:

  1. Build and work a hit list of area employers that interest you; make contact (cold-calling) inside the organization. Remember, most jobs are never advertised and there may be open positions at any time. Hiring authorities love to press the Easy button!
  2. Contact recruiters in the area you’re targeting. Friends or business associates living in your target area may have recruiter resources for you. If you’re on your own, here’s a site to help you find recruiters working in the desired area: http://i-recruit.com/.
  3. Use the local city/state/zip code of a friend/family member or mail service provider on your career documents.
  4. Change your location on your LinkedIn profile. Hiring authorities troll LinkedIn looking for qualified local candidates.
  5. Indicate that your relocation is planned and pending in the cover letter.

Note, many of these strategies may cause you to sacrifice any employer financial support for the move, but employer-financed moves are also less likely in times of high unemployment.

Making personal contact with prospect employers remains a highly effective strategy for every job seeker, either after or in lieu of applying online.

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