How To Find A Job In A New City: 6 Long-Distance Job Search Tips

Finding a new job is a challenge in itself, but when you’re trying to find a role that’s 1,000 – or even 100 – miles away, some new challenges arise. Most often, these challenges take the form of hiring manager biases, which stem from the concern that the hiring process will be lengthened by considering candidates that aren’t local. These biases can take out-of-town candidates out of the running before they even have a chance to compete.

So the question is – if you’re applying for jobs in a new city (like jobs in New York) , how do you ensure you’re not disqualified based on location? Your best bet is to be honest, but prepared. Hiring managers have to review hundreds of resumes, and if there are unanswered questions, or concerns about your viability as a candidate, they’re likely to just move on to the next resume. The goal is to address hiring manager concerns before they have a chance to hurt your candidacy.

Wondering how to find a job in a new city? These six important long-distance job search tips will help you through the process.

1. Present an impeccable resume

If you’re a top-tier candidate, it’s not likely you’ll be overlooked based on your address. Make it easy for the hiring team to understand your experience and your capabilities by including detailed points about your experience and your accomplishments. In addition, take the time to really vet the opportunities you’re applying for to make sure they’re a fit for your background.

One of the biggest questions candidates have is whether it’s worth putting their out of town address on their resume, or just leaving it off to prevent running into those biases. Just like everything in selection, there’s no right answer here – it’s a big deal to some hiring managers, and a non-issue to others. Be aware, though, that there are a dozen ways employers can find your current location (LinkedIn being the easiest), so if you do decide to leave your address off, it’s still best to address it somewhere in your application.

2. Address concerns up front

Include a line in your cover letter to address that you’re looking to relocate to the area. If you have a set date that you’re doing so, include it. If you’re applying via an online application system and there’s no area to address this, include it somewhere within your resume (preferably at the bottom). And as you start to talk to recruiters, bring up relocation casually towards the end of your call if they don’t mention it first. Let them know what your plans are and what your timeline is so they can plan and make decisions accordingly.

It’s true, addressing this up front does bring up the possibility that you’ll be disqualified based on your location. But the idea isn’t to hide information from an employer to get an interview – it’s to present yourself as the best candidate for the job, regardless of location.

3. Update your Linkedin location

Most LinkedIn searches by recruiters are filtered by location, so make sure yours reflects where you want to be. If you live in the suburbs and you’re applying for a job in the city, or vice versa, make sure your LinkedIn profile is set to the city metro area, and employers won’t be able to disqualify you over concerns about your commute. If you have your sights set on a new area, change your LinkedIn  location. This will make you available to recruiters looking just within their own city limits.

4. Be available

Whether it’s a time difference, travel restrictions, or cost, it’s significantly more difficult to interview in a new city than it is at a company down the road. If at all possible, make the suggestion to conduct the first (or second) interview via phone and/or video. It’s a common process today, and most employers will be accommodating as long as you can work with their schedule. You should prepare for a trip to the new area before you accept a role to meet the team and see the office, though, to ensure you’re making the best choice – especially if you’re relocating just for this position.

5. Set a timeline

It doesn’t have to be a set date, but you should have an idea if you’re looking at two weeks, or two months, before it would be feasible for you to start working. Take into consideration how much notice you’ll need to give at your current employer, moving time, and how long it will take to find a place to live. Be honest, not generous, with your timeline, as you may end up losing out to a local candidate who can get started more quickly if you add extra time for getting settled or exploring.

6. Prepare for the costs

Relocation expense reimbursement has been decreasing over the past few years, so unless you happen to work in a high-demand, specialized industry, or are interviewing for top-tier management roles, it’s not something that you should expect. Do your research before offering to travel, though – you don’t want to waste time or money on a role that isn’t going to be a fit. If you have plans to be out in the area, let the employer known sooner rather than later and they may be able to get you in while you’re already here. In addition, check out the salary ranges for jobs in your new city – it’s possible that they’re drastically different from what you’re used to, and you may be significantly over- or under-valuing yourself.


I’ve been there, and I know how tough it can be to figure out how to find a job in a new city – I even lost out on a job to a local candidate because she could start with one weeks’ notice, and I needed two! If you’re still not getting called for the right opportunities, consider working with a few staffing agencies in the new city. They’re a great way to get your foot in the door at well known organizations (it’s how I found my first job in Washington, DC!), and they can often serve as a resource for you in terms of getting to know and setting expectations for your new city. And don’t forget about LinkedIn – use it as a resource to connect with the right people at organizations you’ve identified in your new city.

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