Below is an interview I conducted as a professional resume writer with a reporter who was asking questions about out of state resumes and candidates wanting to relocate.
What tips do you have for candidates who want to relocate but struggle to find a job in their soon-to-be new location? Maybe they don’t have an address of a friend or family member to put down – do they remove the address entirely? A good rule of thumb for any job hunter is to leave off your address completely. It’s always best to just utilize your email, home and mobile phone numbers, and LinkedIn URL. With all of the security issues online and privacy matters happening in today’s world, it’s best to leave off your physical location on your resume. If you are interested in a specific geographical region, you can add on the city and state only. If you’re an out-of-town candidate, you can add on a city and state of your desired location (or mention “Relocating to City, State”) and let the recruiter/hiring manager know via the phone or email interview that you can relocate and be available in that open requisition’s location.
What are the chances of their resume being overlooked with an out of state address? Do you prefer them to put “relocating to xyz” or a different statement? Absolutely you must put a statement similar to “Relocating to City, State” on your contact section. I’ve seen first-hand as a recruiter when colleagues would dismiss candidates without ever speaking to them due to their address. I would remove any of these red flags and let them know more about your locale during the interview.
Do you require them to explain they’ll pay their relocation costs in their cover letter or application? Do not mention this because their may be opportunities that will pay for relocation so you do not want to miss out on any benefits either. Leave off your address if you choose not to add at least your targeted city and state on your header.
How do they bypass being overlooked when applications require their current address? There is no way around putting your full address down when it’s required on an application. Lying on your application will get you terminated without questions. In this case, I would either put down an address of a friend, or just bite the bullet and list your current address, and hope there’s a text box for you to comment “Relocating to City, State.”
Which address takes priority in what you see first, their application or their resume? Application. If I am reading a resume, I am not as concerned about the address as much as the candidate’s credentials, qualifications and work history. An application is much more detailed and expansive and will almost definitely have the address more noticeable than on a resume.
How can we help candidates be more successful in obtaining positions in the state they’re relocating to without having to move their first and potentially struggle? I have been through this personally in fact back in 2007 when I relocated to Los Angeles from Cleveland, and had my company back then, Johnson Controls, pay for my relocation. I knew I wanted to move west, so I started looking for work in the LA area 6 months prior to the move. I would send out resumes as normal utilizing any and all avenues, as well as reaching out to recruiters in that region for assistance. Recruiters are a wonderful resource and will work for free for the candidate! Once I received interviews, I was able to explain to them my situation and that I was able to travel for in-person interviews on my own dime. I ended up getting an offer from both BP in Long Beach and Johnson Controls in Whittier, which I was then able to leverage for negotiating a higher salary and a relocation package. The key is to start early and make it a job to find a job. Don’t give up either, determination is key when you’re already a little behind the ball since you are physically not near your targeted area.
What companies (size, industry, etc…) are most likely to hire out of state candidates (aside from tech positions)? Definitely larger organizations, as well as companies requiring more niche of an employee. I once recruited for a large energy company needing dozens of specified engineers in a small western area, and they were willing to go nationwide for their search. Depending on your role, the industry and its trends, the types of candidates already in the area, and the company, many factors play into the decision as to whether the company will hire an out-of-state candidate. Companies with money will typically make this type of move over the mom and pop company who may not even have enough money to spend on the requisition’s advertising costs, let alone relocating an out-of-towner into a new role.
What should be removed from their resume? Any red flags including your current address, and possibly the city/state under your experience section. If you’ve lived in Ohio for 15 years and that’s the only cities on your resume, and now you want to live in a Florida, you can leave off your city/state under your experience. This will help take eyes away from locations and let them focus on more important things, like your resume’s messaging, and your accomplishments.
What platforms should they focus on? I find that Indeed and LinkedIn are the two best platforms online these days. I would setup job alerts on Indeed so once a role is posted that you’re targeting, you will receive an email and ability to apply sooner than other candidates. It’s key to get in as early as possible before you fall to the bottom of the pile of resumes.
What strategy has worked for you? Networking online and utilizing free resources like local career coaches, recruiters and government-sponsored career resource centers. Get your name out there in your targeted area, because you never know who might pass your information along to someone hiring.
What advice do you have? Stick with it. Don’t give up. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. You will most likely have to go months before gaining some traction and momentum in your job search. Don’t let a location issue deter you from finding your dream job in your dream location. Remove any notion that you cannot be in that new role within two weeks of offer acceptance. Let the reason you didn’t get the job to the competition is that they were a better fit in this particular situation…not that your city/state was “too far” for the recruiter/hiring manager to even bother calling you to inquire. Get the recruiter/hiring manager on the phone, wow them with your input, than let them know your geographical situation, and let them get excited to get you onsite without worrying about logistics just yet.
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