Ask LH: How Can I Apply For A Job In Another City?

Dear Lifehacker, I moved from Melbourne to Brisbane three years ago and managed to survive not having a job for three months thanks to saving a small fortune before I moved. I’m now planning on moving back from Brisbane to Melbourne later this year. How can you go about looking for a new job or get job interviews when you’re two states away? Thanks, Mobile Hunter

Job search picture from Shutterstock

Dear MH,

The good news is that the world now recognises and is able to accommodate people who are moving for work.

There are lots of different ways you can facilitate the who application and interview process.

Most jobs for professionals will go through two or even three separate interviews. So, it’s likely that you’ll need different strategies for different stages of the process.

Start by being completely clear with prospective employers that you’re not currently based in the same city as the job but that you are planning to move. You might think having your current address in your resumé is enough but make it clear in your application letter as well. When I was involved in recruitment, the letter was my first insight into the person. If the letter didn’t grab me, I’d rarely read the accompanying resumé.

Make sure you understand the conditions for leaving your current employer. There’s sure to be a notice period that you’ll need to factor into your exit plans. Also, make sure you stock up some annual leave as you might need it to fly to an interview.

If it’s possible, try to arrange a trip to the job location. It might be an opportune time to plan a holiday or do reconnaissance for a place to live. Then ask prospective employers, through your letter to plan interviews while you’re scheduled to be there. Make sure that your window of availability is flexible. If possible, make it several days so that the interviewers can organise themselves.

I’ve been involved in interview processes with overseas candidates and Skype has worked well. If you attend a video interview the same rules apply as a face to face interview. Dress appropriately. Make sure the room you use is tidy and doesn’t distract the interviewers from you. Prepare in the same way as any other interview.

If Skype isn’t possible then the next best thing is a phone interview. If this is acceptable to the employer then it will suffice for a first interview. When you’re on the phone, don’t jump in too quickly during the discussion. When people can’t see each other, it’s easy to end up in a situation where the parties on the phone talk over each other. This gets confusing if there are three or more parties in a conference call.

As well as directly applying for roles, look for positions through recruitment agencies. The initial interview process agencies go through is usually standardised. If the agency has a presence in multiple states, then the employer can be assured that any candidates that make it through to them have been through the same screening regardless of where they’re from.

The best job interviews will happen face to face. If it’s at all possible, try to arrange things so that you can meet with your prospective employer. If that can’t happen, then video conferencing is possible with the phone a last resort.

What have other Lifehacker readers found has worked when looking for jobs in other states or overseas> Have particular strategies worked? What hasn’t worked? Do you have some advice for Mobile Hunter?


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