Moving to find work

I answered a question on LinkedIn about nationwide job searches and moving to find work. That subject comes up regularly. Therefore, I’m posting the answer here with some minor edits.

In this market, you have to recognize that it’s not the employer’s problem that you live out-of-state. The company is likely to have plenty of good candidates. That said, it’s incumbent on the applicant to be available, flexible, and willing to make it work.

You need to do all of that without whining to the employer, who often has doubts about not hiring a local person anyway. Be prepared to be on the work site quickly, if you get the job. The logistics of moving is your problem. You aren’t being hired to be babysat, and it’s not up to the employer to make life convenient for you.

Does that sound harsh? Many people with solid experience, degrees, and good skills are lined up for jobs. Some of the best opportunities may not be local. One person I know got three offers out-of-state, but nothing local came through.

If you are unemployed, you have to decide whether having a paycheck, benefits, and a tight budget are better than being uninsured, on unemployment, or out of unemployment. Start thinking about the possibility of other locations as soon as you need to look for work. You’ll be in a better position to make it work if you don’t wait until your resources are exhausted.

Family matters are a personal issue. Some people can, and will, take a job and simply state that it’s a necessity. Others can’t deal with family pressure when there’s dissension. Know where you stand before you try to make a move this big. If you are asked how the family feels about the move, you probably can’t lie that well.

Always check the cost of living (COL) before looking for jobs in a new area. Can you really take a job at the same salary and move to an area with a 28% higher COL? Price cheap living options in a new job location. Do you have a camper? Check for small RV parks with cheap monthly rates, and look at studio apartments with utilities paid. Then, reduce your current budget to bare bones. Know where you stand. Also, be sure you are a person who can live on a shoe-string and maintain absolute control of the budget. Locate resources before the interview and be prepared to move quickly and make informed decisions.

Also, if a job offers relocation, be sure to ask what that means. A relocation of $7,500 may cover relocation for a single person with a small apartment, but it may not even cover the moving van–much less the incidentals–for a family with large home. Relocation no longer automatically means a full package deal. Remember, it might take a long time to sell a home too.

There are questions you need to answer before you make a commitment. Are you willing to live apart from the family for a year or more? Will the salary allow you to pay for travel home? Can you rent your home and manage the maintenance from a distance? Do you have friends or family who can act as property manager–without straining the relationship? Is the job in an area you want to live? Or, is your goal to be employed in your present hometown when the economy improves? Do you understand that once you take a job out of town it may be harder to get one in town again–especially in the near future? You’ll be in the same position–again, in reverse. Does your spouse have to work? Is he/she willing and able to relocate? These are just some of the key questions.

If you present yourself with confidence, the employer’s misgivings will be greatly reduced. The fact that you’ve done your research and have answers for his concerns further assures him/her of your ability to handle the changes. If you’ve been through successful relocation previously, be sure to point out those successes too.

The fellow with three offers out-of-state took one of those and ended up making more money than he did before he was laid off, even when there wasn’t a job to be found locally. It’s all a matter of what a person is willing to sacrifice to make it work. Any nationwide/international search requires planning, organization, and sacrifice. There will be unexpected changes and challenges.

You may need to pay for the interview travel costs yourself too. Don’t count on softening the employer on that. Don’t interview for anything you don’t really want either.

Get Job Application Feedback Online

According to one article, Career Builder and Monster offer features that give feedback to job applicants who use their online services to apply for jobs. This offers you the opportunity to see how you compare to other applicants that use those services. It won’t help you learn anything about people who don’t go through the same service. However, this could net some valuable information. Just keep in mind that you need to use these services judiciously and correctly. Read the article linked to this post for more details and good tips.

Online job searches are best done with an organized plan and with resumes that are customized for the job and set up specifically for electronic processing. Using appropriate key words and a bit of SEO work can help your resume make it to the top of the pile too. Don’t overdo it, but don’t try to use a one-size-fits-all form either. If you need help, it’s worth a few dollars to get it done right. You can use those examples to learn to do it yourself once you see a professional do it.

People with higher-level technical and executive searches, who want to manage their own search, can still benefit from having someone help with the writing and planning and tracking.  The new features on Career Builder and Monster may, or may not, be of benefit. It depends on the industry and type of search. Today, electronic searches are waged all the way up the line. Networking is great, but a good search can find unexpected opportunities too. The people I talk to tend to use both.

What job is best for students?

The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent article for students and parents. If you are helping a student find work or if you are a student seeking work, read this article. Things have changed, and the rules and ideas most parents grew up with no longer apply. You’ll come away with a new perspective and an better understanding of the market for underage workers.

Students, if you parents don’t “get it”, take a look at this article. It may help you validate your opinions when you talk to your parents. If they don’t think it’s still valid, check the employment statistics for people 18-30. In 2014, only 54% of the people in that age range were able to find work.

When You’re Unemployed and Underage

Resumes for Students

Students, and parents, need to get past the idea that it’s still easy for kids to get a quick summer job at McDonald’s or run around the neighborhood mowing lawns. Times have changed.

Labor laws are so cumbersome and difficult to monitor that some businesses just don’t hire kids of certain ages anymore. Neighbors don’t want the liability of kids working around their homes with or without power equipment, and they don’t want to give access to anyone when they aren’t home. Where does this leave kids that want and/or need to work?

First, you–the student–must accept the fact that you have a great deal of competition. Your competition may be willing to cut their hair, wear a tie, and work on weekends, even when it means missing a great party. The nature of the working world is that employers can call the shots and demand whatever they want. There are more workers than jobs. Even adults with many years of experience and advanced degrees are working longer hours for less money.

Second, you need a good resume that points out what you have to offer. Resumes for students create a challenge. It is possible to have a resume at any age. Include clubs and student activities, special awards, short-term jobs, volunteer projects, special interests or summer workshops. All of these things help build a profile of a person an employer wants to hire when you look for your first job.

Third, talk to adults you know about providing references. Tell people you know that you are looking for a job. Ask for references from anyone you’ve worked for, or with, that can testify about ability, skills, and responsible behavior. If you can’t think of anyone, volunteer for a project at a church or school. You will need a reference or two that aren’t family. It is a bit of a dilemma, but you can find ways to build references.

Watch for more tips and information for students of all ages. Keep checking back and send in your questions. If you have questions, other kids do too.