How to find a new job out of town

September 11, 2015

Landing a job in today’s economy is tough. It becomes even tougher when you have to look outside of your city, as employers are known to favour local candidates.

But sometimes you have no choice – you have to expand your job search outside of your city’s limits. Maybe you’ve been retrenched, or your spouse is moving. Perhaps health reasons are forcing you to move from a big city to a smaller town.

Whatever the reason, don’t be disheartened by the task ahead just yet. The out-of-town job search can be dealt with successfully if you keep these tips in mind:

Online strategies

Many recruiters and companies go online first these days when looking for a candidate to fill a position. This means it’s crucial for your LinkedIn profile to be current. You should also connect with industry groups in the city you intend on moving to and follow local companies too.

Extend your reach by searching for noteworthy companies and professionals on Twitter and following them too. Make yourself visible by providing intelligent replies to tweets and commenting on relevant stories.

Furthermore, conduct localised searches when doing online job hunting. Be as specific as possible. A move to Cape Town, for instance, would mean that you do a search for jobs in Cape Town, not the Western Cape. For even more specific results, narrow your search to suburbs. For this, you’d need to understand where suburbs in the city or town are, so that you know where the best areas are for accommodation searches once you land a job.

Be flexible

How wide a net can you throw? Of course this depends from case to case, but try not to lock down yourself too much with your choices. It is usually easier to look around for a suitable job, and only then think about where in the city you want to live. If you sign a lease somewhere first, then it makes it difficult to find the right job that just happens to be close by. This is especially applicable for larger cities like Johannesburg. For instance, you could start off with a wider search of security jobs in Gauteng, and from the fruits of your job search you then take your cue where in Gauteng you want to live.

For the interview

You have a reason for moving, so inform prospective employers of it as early as possible. You should in fact mention it in the cover letter. Telling the employer that you’re moving because of a family move, a relationship or any such reason shows that you are serious about relocating. This will put you ahead of candidates who do not state their reasons or those candidates without ties to the city or town.

If your reason has convinced the employer of your suitability for an interview, they’ll either ask you to come in for a face-to-face interview or organise a Skype interview. If it’s the former, offer to pay for the trip yourself and organise a stay for a few days, in case a follow-up interview is organised. If it’s the latter, be sure to follow the same etiquette as you would for a “real” interview – be there on time and dress appropriately.

Connect with people

Save yourself time and effort by employing the services of a recruitment agency operating in the area you plan on moving to. They’ll know the local market best and will be able to provide you with good advice, as well as great opportunities.

Also connect with old colleagues, professors or industry equals you know. Even if they are unable to refer you for a job, they might know people in your industry they could introduce you to.

Be prepared

Your new employer might pay for your entire move, but there is also a real chance that they’ll only fork out for a portion of it or nothing at all. Be prepared in either of these cases by developing a relocation budget and saving up for the move. This will also enable you to make it clear to employers that you can cover the move yourself, should it be necessary. You’ll instantly be a more desirable candidate, because you’ll come across as a dedicated and determined person. Such a person is always an asset to any company. Ensure you are that person.

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