When it comes to a dedicated job search, I firmly believe that we have to be open to any and all opportunities available to us. We should take risks and apply for jobs we may be under-qualified for, jobs at companies we never thought about applying to, and even jobs in other states.
When I apply for a job, I never limit myself to opportunities exclusively in New York City, where I currently live. While I may be more inclined to accept a position close to home, I am open to the possibility that there is a job calling out to me in another state… even in another country, which my wife would certainly love. But while I keep an open mind to a possible move, I follow a set of rules before making rash decisions.
Here are some tips for job searching in other states (which also apply to other countries and cities within the same state that are several hours away — but that would have made for a ridiculous blog title):
1. Research Companies — At Vault.com, we stress the importance of research for any type of job search. If job seekers are looking for a job out-of-state, they should make sure they want to work for a given company before making that sort of commitment. Obviously, you can research companies at Vault, but you can also look up a company through the About Us section of the potential employer’s website. Simple Google searches can lead job seekers to news items about the firm that could make a company a more or less attractive place to work… and at the very least help you formulate questions for that important job interview. For more information on researching a company, click here.
2. Research the Location — Researching a company is just the first step. I remember interviewing for a company in L.A. I was unemployed and it was the height of the economic crisis in 2009. I was at the stage of my life when I would have taken any job in any place, so when they asked me if I was willing to relocate, the answer was an obvious “yes.” But when I couldn’t convey any knowledge about where they were located, how I would find an apartment, and how I would get to work since I didn’t have a car at the time, I was disqualified from moving further in the job search. (However, they ended up using me on a freelance basis that allowed me to work from NYC).
So, in addition to researching a company, it is important that an applicant research the location, too. You want to know where the company is located, how much rents are in the area, what places are even available to rent, what forms of transportation are available. You should also research aspects of the area that are important to you. I am spoiled by 24-hour diners, grocery stores, and drug stores. I love that the bars close at 4 a.m. and that there is a real night life in NYC. It might impact my decision if I did research and found out that everything closes at 10 p.m. and there is no diversity in terms of food and culture. Someone else may not care, but I would. So, researching those little things about a location might be helpful. At the very least, you want to sound knowledgeable about the area during an interview.
3. Research Costs — Moving to another state is not as easy as getting on a plane, train, or automobile and heading there. There is a lot more involved in such a move. If you’re thinking of taking a job out of state, you should also research the costs of moving — both the financial cost and the time cost. How much will it cost to fly in and out of another state for interviews? How much will it cost to transfer your belongings? Do you have enough for rent? Do you have enough for furniture should you decide to leave everything you own behind? And how long will it take you to relocate? This is important. You will be asked. Trust me.
4. Research a Divorce Lawyer — I’m just kidding. Sort of. Whenever I have looked for a job outside New York City, I have asked my wife something like, “How would you feel about moving to Nebraska?” Sometimes she is enthusiastic and says, “I’ve always wanted to live there.” Sometimes she just gives me a look, and I know better and continue my search. And sometimes she is a little more honest with her response and says, “How do you feel about finding another person to spend the rest of your life with?” You should always ask your significant other for their input before making a rash decision about your future, because it is tied to their future, too.
To sum it up, all the research you do is aimed at satisfying the employer’s questions during the job interview, but the research is also important to helping you decide whether or not to take that risk in the first place. The more research you do, the fewer surprises you will face and the less stress you will have when making that transition to a new home and job.