Job Search: How To Start Looking for a Job When Moving Out of State

CN_Marc_v1_eUPDATE:  A client who moved just found a job using these techniques. In her new city. In a “hard to land a job in” field. I hope you use her success experience to inspire you – and keep you going through the hard work and many months it may take to get where you really want to go!

So now let’s talk about you and your new job.

When you’re moving out of state without a job lined up, how do you find a new job? Is there anything you can do from a distance even if you can’t afford to travel back and forth? Luckily the answer to that last question is most definitely “YES!”

But you’ll need to be creative in your approach. And pull out all the stops in pursuit of networking contacts, job possibilities, and building local relationships to help you get settled in and connected.

Mounting a job campaign when you know you’re moving

This is the time to cast your net wide. Why close off possibilities you have no way of knowing about until you start to explore? Some possible sources of useful information, networking contacts, and potential jobs:

  • Look for people to connect with for information and leads. You can speak with them via phone and even Skype.
  • Contact your career center from college or grad schools, and see if they can help you connect.
  • Also use your alumni network directly to find people in the new town.
  • Tell people you know – friends, family, even former coworkers, bosses, school mates – about your exciting new adventure and ask if they know anyone in the new town.
  • Look for company names, people to contact for more info, etc. using Google searches and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Browse company websites in the new area. Look directly for jobs, but also for helpful information and names to contact.
  • Use LinkedIn for information gathering and networking:

=How To Contact & Connect with LinkedIn Members


More places to look

  • Contact recruiters in the new town. (NOTE: More likely to be helpful if you have a solid work history, but worth exploring.)
  • Check out local newspapers. Many are now online, even in small towns. You may even try contacting someone there. Explain that you’re moving and ask to speak with them about the local business scene and what’s going on in your field. I once wrote the publisher of a local paper when I was thinking of moving, and he responded with great info and an offer to speak with me when I got there!
  • Use job boards like Indeed or Monster for local job searches. If they have a jobs alert, sign up for them. But also use the listings to help you snoop out more jobs at these companies – and names of people to contact when you browse their site.
  • Find local champions to help! Use methods above to look for people who want to help you in your new adventure. The best approach is not asking for a job directly, but finding local relationships who will look for ways to help if possible. (TIP: Your story is what engages. Make it positive and excited about your future.)
  • Maybe contact local politicians, or the Chamber of Commerce, or local business development organizations, or local non-profits organizations in your field, or even national membership organizations like Kiwanis (or whatever) that you or your family have been part of.

A few more ideas

  • Contact someone at a religious institution related to your faith. I’ve actually written to ask about life in a new area, explaining that I will be moving there soon and gotten great responses. This can open up a network for you when you get there and even before.
  • Search online for local conferences in or related to your field. Even if you missed a recent one or can’t attend an upcoming one, there may be names of people and orgs you can sleuth from this. Maybe even attend one if possible, if you think you could make some good connections.
  • Look for local colleges or universities and see if someone who teaches there in your field (or something related) would be open to speaking with you. Again, this is NOT about asking for a job, but learning more about the local scene and finding more names of people to speak with.
  • Think about anyone or anything else that might help you connect to people and / or organizations in your new area. You never know when someone knows someone who knows someone, so don’t be so tightly focused on “the job” that you close off pathways to possibilities. Any relationship you begin, can also lead to career opportunities later – and help you deepen your local roots more quickly.

Most of all, don’t give up, don’t lose sight of your goals, and don’t ever forget how good you are even after many, many dead ends or rejections. It’s all a normal part of the process.

Job search tools for in-person networking

When networking in person, it’s a good idea to have a specially-prepared business card with your name, email address, maybe LinkedIn profile link, and a phrase of some kind like “Public health and safety specialist”. Or even a few bullets on the card, like a mini-resume. Then you can simply hand them out as you meet people and let them in on your exciting story of just having moved to Town X and looking for a job.

And speaking of resumes, make sure that you have a current one ready and waiting to send when requested. But don’t forget to tweak it so that it’s targeted to a specific job that you’re applying for or the field that you told the person you’re interested in!

Some final thoughts

Dig deep and be creative.  If possible, always try to get at least one more name to contact when speaking to someone. And please do your own thorough research first, so you don’t look totally uninformed about the local scene before you start networking.

Get clued in. Get linked up. And remember not to close off pathways before you can know where they might lead!

More helpful articles

=>  How To Find a New Job

=>  Resumes & cover letter help (plus targeted examples)