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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thinking About Moving?

Think the grass is greener elsewhere? Miss your family? Here are some strategies to facilitate your long-distance job search:

1. Read your target city’s local newspapers, journals and publications on a regular basis, for job listings and relevant business news. Note which companies are reducing staff off, who is hiring, who just received angel investments, etc.

2. Join (and start attending the meetings of) at least one locally based professional association or the local chapter of a national professional association. In the Seattle area, is a great resource for networking organizations.

3. Plan to spend time in your new city, to conduct networking in person rather than just over the phone or on-line.

4. Develop a list of potential employers for whom you would like to work and for whom your background and experience are a good fit. LinkedIn, to do your research, including identifying the name of a hiring executive.

5. Send each of the employers a targeted, personalized letter and resume, linking your interest and qualifications to their area of focus. Try to schedule an exploratory interview even if there are no current job openings for you. You will be setting the stage for future employment should their needs change.

6. Consider short-term consulting gigs with area employers. When you meet employers, think about how you might help them by consulting. Do they mention any projects that you would be qualified to do? This would be an excellent way to establish yourself with locally-based credentials.

7. Use the city and state in your contact info, instead of your own. In a tight job market, hiring managers need not look beyond the local area for highly qualified job applicants. They seek candidates who are ready to work without much training, are familiar with the local market and competition, and perhaps have local contacts. Employers certainly prefer avoiding travel reimbursement and relocation costs.

It is important to demonstrate to the employer that you are committed to being in the area for the long haul, not just until the economy turns around. You may want to consider moving in with a friend for a while during your job hunt. Beware that if you are only pretending to have a local address, you may be caught when an employer wants you to interview on short notice or even during the informal ice breaking part of an interview, e.g., talking about the hometown sports teams and weather.

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