Long Distance Job Searching
April 7, 2011 6:41 PM   Subscribe

What, if anything, can I do now to have a productive - and hopefully successful - job search six months from now?

Odds are I'll be moving back to my hometown in the fall, after almost 15 years away from it. It will be a move of >1000 miles. Think of my hometown as being a "company town," albeit one of the biggest "companies" (if you want to call it that) in the nation. There are industries that serve this "company," and other industries that benefit from being geographically close to the "company," and yet more industries that have nothing to do with either but apparently enjoy the crappy traffic and bad weather. In other words: a potentially big pool of places to work, even in this wintry economic climate. (FYI: my interest in working for "the company" is zero.) This is in the United States.

I am operating under the assumption that I won't be able to actively job search (as in, apply or interview or seriously talk to anyone about positions) until I'm there, since I won't have the paid time off from my current job to fly there on a moment's notice for anything face-to-face, nor is that really within my budget. In practical terms, no job that I can realistically get would pay my interview travel or moving expenses. Even assuming I could line up phone interviews before my move, it would be an awkward thing to take care of during work hours (no privacy). I'm also a little hesitant to do phone interviews, unless I can be convinced that as a phone-interviewee I would have no handicap compared to a person who is being interviewed in person for the same job.

Therefore I want to use the time I know that I have beforehand super wisely since I have the luxury of some planning time. What should I be doing RIGHT NOW to allow me to hit the ground running once I have moved?

Assumptions you can make: My budget & I can tolerate about a four to six month search once I am there. Housing and food are not an issue. I am a generalist more so than a specialist - although I could lay claim to specializing in one or two things, I am trying to cast a wider net than that. I have a handful of friends left in my hometown who I could probably count on for referrals or leads, but I can't expect them to find me a job. I've already begun making a list of specific places in the area that interest me and look like they're hiring (i.e. not in bad financial shape).

(mini-question: any practical or insider knowledge about what's hot and what's not, job-wise, in the "company town" is also appreciated!)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Write and polish your resume. Print lots of copies. Research the companies and possible jobs in your hometown thoroughly. Learn about what those companies are doing and what problems they're confronting. Ask the friends you have there to put you in touch with other people in your hometown so you're building your network. Line up and conduct informational phone interviews with them. Ask them to put you in touch with yet more people in your hometown. (Eventually, one of those people may have - or know of - a job for you.) Put yourself on LinkedIn (if you're not already) so people can find out more about you.
posted by DrGail at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're planning on casting a wider net, try to find ways of doing other tasks at your current job. I.e., if possible, treat your work as a vocational degree and do things on the job that would teach you, if not actually how to do something, at least how to talk about it. Really helps out in the interview if you know the basic vocabulary of a related task, even better if you've done it (even if it's only once).
posted by mammary16 at 7:22 PM on April 7, 2011

I moved from the UK to the USA in September last year. It took me, with no history or experience of working in the US, about four months to get a job. Here's what I did. Told people in the UK where I was moving to, got onto Twitter and did the same. I hunted down the higher-profile there and followed them to see what what going on. I went to sites like Meetup and joined groups I was interested in. I built a thing using Yahoo! Pipes to generate an RSS feed of job postings I was interested in from Monster, Craigslist, Indeed, etc. I checked that every day. As soon as I got to the States, I networked like crazy. I found evening events where people in my industry went to (hack days, book clubs, etc) and went to those to meet people and hand out business cards. I got some really good leads from those—people as well as recruitment agencies—and followed them all up. It was an agency that someone recommended to me that got me my job.

So, yeah, along with making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile is up to scratch, you've got to network. Here's a tip: if you don't have a Google Voice number, you should get one so you don't have to put your private number on business cards and recruiters' paperwork. I wish I'd done that, but didn't know about it as Google Voice doesn't exist in the UK.

Good luck.

PS: any typos are the iPhone's fault.
posted by TheDonF at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2011

Okay I would make sure I have a lot of internet access (laptop /location ) and a bunch of bookmarked job search pages so I can hit the seat in a the nicest library and start making contact with the resumes .

To give you an idea of where I am at - I actually foresee the need to apply for jobs if mine goes south and I am creating cover letters that I am holding on to in case of that eventuality - I am not sending them out - just creating them . At least I know if I need to search I am not creating my first cover letter (or , ugh , t-letter) I have attempted in the last um 6 years.

hen when you have the chance - take your aspirations and double them - then start slowly plotting the day when you feel you need to double them again .
posted by epjr at 7:55 PM on April 7, 2011

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