Tell me about the logistics of finding a job out of state.
January 12, 2015 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm Wisconsin born and raised. My wife and I have lived here for our entire lives, and I'm daunted by the prospect of moving and finding a job.

I've been unemployed for a while now, and my wife and I have been talking about moving from the harsh weather of Wisconsin to a more mild climate, so I've been thinking about seeing what the job markets are like in some of the other places we've been considering.

Some of the things I'm ideally looking for are online job boards specific to the city/ region (and, by extension, how in demand are my skill sets in these areas). How an interview would be conducted nowadays (phone, Skype/ Facetime, flying out?).

If it helps, my area of expertise is the management of IT Helpdesks and Customer Service call centers. I am trying to transition into a business analysis and/or project management as well. Though I have no certifications for those last two, I do have many examples of successful project development and completion.

I'd be grateful for specific information on these areas; Raleigh and Ashville in North Carolina, and Seattle and Portland to start. But we haven't limited our searches to these locations, so any general advice would also be welcome.
posted by quin to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My husband is in IT and we moved from MT to UT about two years ago when he found a job. He applied to a lot of things and eventually found a job as a contractor through a recruiting company with a big-brand company here. Once we moved and he had experience in the field it was easier to move to other jobs. He did phone interviews to be hired and they knew he was moving for the position and wasn't in town. I've heard Skype or other video interviews are also common. It was more entry level so they didn't pay relocation. We were lucky that some family pitched in for that. Then we did a lot of apartment research online and my aunt was able to scout our place and place the deposit then we signed the lease when we arrived. Though our backup would be a long stay hotel. Then we rented a u haul and towed our car behind it.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:56 PM on January 12, 2015

Not an IT person here, so I can't help on specific sites, but I've always used job board specific to my industry or expertise. I don't think job board by cities are so great and include a lot of low-level or totally unrelated jobs. I would check out IT boards or whatever. Every industry usually has one or two really popular, good jobs boards. I would be looking at that and looking for the ones in your preferred locations.

As for interviewing, you'll do a phone screen first. Maybe another phone interview or Skype after that. And then the final step is they will fly you out and interview you. I have been hired without ever meeting face-to-face, (I do think it's rare) but you'll be able to better assess if it's the right fit for you in person by seeing the office, meeting the people, and wandering the city. I think it's a good idea to mention you are actively looking to relocate or make it clear you are game to move.

As for Seattle, Portland, Raleigh and Ashville, I can only speak to Portland, which I spoke about here.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:07 PM on January 12, 2015

There aren't local job boards; even local papers contract with CareerBuilder or similar.

In order to *collect* data, you just go to whatever job boards appeal to you (I haven't had to look in a while, possibly Indeed is still the go-to?) and set up searches that email you results. That way you can set up one for Seattle and one for Portland and one for Raleigh etc etc.

Spend 2-3 weeks just watching. Hunt down more information on anything that looks interesting to you, just to get a feel for who's hiring and how they word it. Polish your resume to suit, and then post.

Here's the deal, though: unless you have some very specific skills, nobody's going to be feeling an out-of-town candidate. There's IT talent locally. Nobody's going to pay relocation unless you're C-level or maybe Director-level. Just getting an interview is probably going to take some hedging - put the local city on your resume and get a Google Voice number with a local area code. When asked (and you will be, because your most recent employment is going to be somewhere else), say you've already got family/obligations waiting for you there in Local Homecity, you just need to secure a job before you can put your last two boxes in the car and go. (Be ready to go.)

Assuming your wife works, you should probably both do this at the same time. One of you might end up going first, you'll need to discuss in advance how to work that. If she does not work, do your research before you choose a region - your Wisconsin salary history may not translate to covering housing and expenses in Seattle and Portland, and the West Coast may pay a smidge better than the midwest, but it does not cover the cost of living leap most of the time.

Sometimes companies never fly you out, especially if they already don't pay relo - basically the burden gets put on you to get out there and get along in the job, or the hiring company is out nothing but a little time.

my area of expertise is the management of IT Helpdesks and Customer Service call centers

Your best shot - even in a PM or BA role - will be in a similar industry to the one you're doing that for now. So, for example if you're running IT helpdesk for a office supply company, make a big deal about that industry familiarity to other similar employers.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:04 PM on January 12, 2015

Do you have any certifications? My husband got nowhere in his company until he got started on the Cisco train.
posted by Madamina at 10:29 PM on January 12, 2015

Do you want to work in Seattle? Apply at Amazon. They're, quite literally, hiring hundreds of people per month and they don't bat an eye at interviewing and flying in candidates from other states. Plus, at least one person I know has been given a small-ish relocation package. They have a rather large customer service organization, from what I've been told. Once you get hired, Amazon pays a good enough salary that you can find housing inside the city and they give you a transit pass so you don't have to worry about getting to and from work.

Not an Amazon employee, know several people who have gotten hired there.
posted by fireoyster at 12:54 AM on January 13, 2015

Here's the deal, though: unless you have some very specific skills, nobody's going to be feeling an out-of-town candidate. There's IT talent locally.

There's the Federal Government. Despite the poor news of the past couple years, Uncle Sam is still hiring and there are offices everywhere, all of which need IT support and often go overlooked by candidates focusing on the private sector.

I just moved from DC to CA to take a Federal project management (not IT) position; I was hired after a total of two phone interviews (one conducted while flat on my back at home due to a pulled muscle, one at a rest stop on my way out of town for a long weekend). So... it's possible!
posted by psoas at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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