How pick up and move to a new city (and have a job)
February 5, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

How do I look for (and land) a job on the other side of the country?

I'm a lifelong (45) resident of a suburb of Chicago looking to make a major life change and relocate to the Pacific northwest. All the jobs I've ever worked in (more below) were found through local networking, so I have no idea how to start an out-of-state job search.

I've worked in many fields and I have experience in many others. Currently I work in fundraising for a well-known non-profit organization (who has affiliates in the part of the country I'd like to move to, but they are all independently operated, i.e., no simple "transfer" to another office.) In the past, I've worked in research for a university, spent nearly 20 years in IT (tech support, hardware tech, and most recently database development), but those skills are not current. In addition, I do freelance work as a graphic designer and photographer. I'd like to focus more on the latter, but in this economy, I understand beggars can't be choosers and I'm open to anything that pays a reasonable salary ($40k+). I have two degrees (associates in accounting, and bachelors in business management and accounting) and an incomplete masters (about 75% complete) in organizational leadership.

I really need to find a position before I move as I am not in the financial position to wing it. Divorce a few years ago left me with a significant debt and my current position pays enough to keep me that way.

I'd appreciate comments from any of you who have made similar major life changes. Thanks!
posted by AstroGuy to Work & Money (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Craigslist is an okay place to start, as well as LinkedIn. Have you tried the Gates Foundation? Just find one of their recruiters on CL. Make a list of other companies you might like and start contacting people. Email anyone you know from the past who is in the PNW, you never know.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:30 PM on February 5, 2012

Try reaching out to local (pacific NW) headhunters as well as working your connections on LinkedIn. I've made transfers to CA from Chicago and then back as well as to another midwest state and back to Chicago. For all but 1 of the transfers I did travel for interviews. The one I didn't I went without a job and served (usually can make 30-40K) until I found something (1-2 months post move). Also, if companies know you are coming from out of town they will just require the 1 interview so that saves money.

I also work for an agency. That said, it's difficult to get your resume read without a local address at times so your job search needs to be really specific to your skillset and your resume should rock all of the key words in the job description.

The best bet at landing a job period is to go through connections (linkedin already discussed, agencies, headhunters) but then also go directly to the employer website. You can use the search engines to find the openings but then link directly to the company website when possible to apply. The biggest suggestion I can make is to tailor each resume sent to each job description applying to. This is very time consuming but can increase your call back rate 10 fold I promise.

Good luck, with persistence and lots of resources and work (independantly and through others) I am sure you will land something. It can take up to 6 months even with the best of searches so keep positive!

Also, a side organization note. Keep a spreadsheet of where you apply, job description/title, and company contact. Even if you do a phone interview send them a thank you email via linked in to connect. You never know when you can use a connection (or they could!) in the future.
posted by MyMind at 8:50 PM on February 5, 2012

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