How To Find A Job In Another State

By Chris Kolmar
Nov. 13, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

While it can be difficult to find employment in another state, it’s not impossible. And if you’re determined, it can be one of the best decisions you can make.

Moving, and all of the concerns that arise with it, can feel stressful and chaotic, but we’re here to help.

Whether you’re looking to move to a state with better job prospects or you’re moving for personal reasons, this guide offers 12 crucial tips for your job hunt to help you quickly and easily land the perfect job in another state.

Why Someone Might Want a Job in Another State

There are many complicated factors involved in why people move from one place to another, but there are some common major reasons.

One of the biggest reasons is because of a spouse or partner. Many people move to be with their partner who recently got an out of state job or to establish their own family and household. Or they may have had a recent change in marital status (such as a divorce) prompting a move.

Others may move to be closer to family or friends. Or they may simply want a change of lifestyle.

Still, others may be moving directly because of their career prospects. Some people may find that their current location does not offer many opportunities for career advancement, and they may seek out a state with more job growth or more positions open in their field.

12 Tips for Finding a Job in Another State

  1. Research. To find an out-of-state job, you need to be both knowledgeable and well-prepared. If you are looking for a job in a new state but not quite sure what that job or that state may be, now’s your time to figure it out.

    If you want a good starting point, research which cities are looking for outside talent. These will generally be moderately-sized or up-and-coming cities trying to establish themselves by welcoming newcomers. Also, look up which cities have opportunities for growth in your specific industry of work.

    If you already know which city or cities you plan to move to, research its culture and job market. Find out what the city is like and which companies are significant players or big employers within the state.

  2. Finalize your decision. Once you’ve done your research, finalize your search area. Narrow down your prospective move to one to three cities, no more than that. Three prospective cities are more than enough to keep you busy, and more than that may be a bit too much to juggle as well as a sign that you may not be too sure about this move.

    Figure out why it is you’re moving. And figure out how you will explain this reasoning to potential employers. Keep in mind that the reasoning you give to your potential employers at interviews needs to indicate your certainty about the move.

    Potential employers like to hear that you’re moving because you have family or friends in the area you’d like to be closer to, that you’re moving to be with a partner or spouse, or that you’ve visited the area a few times before and fell in love with it. All of these indicate certainty about relocation.

    Employers don’t like to hear that you’ve never visited the area, don’t know anyone in the area, or that you’ve been considering moving for only a short period. Employers will not be willing to move forward with your application if they have any reason to believe you could change your mind about moving.

  3. Check your current employer’s options. If you feel comfortable telling your current employer about your plans to move, they may have some options available to continue working with you.

    If your employer has offices located near your city of choice, you may very well be able to transfer to these locations. Or you might also have the option of transitioning to working remotely, so that location is no longer an issue, and you are free to move as you please.

    You can even check job postings through your company website before telling anyone just to see if there are positions open for you. If there are, you can then go through the process of formally requesting a transfer.

  4. Optimize your out-of-state cover letter. For finding out-of-state jobs, your cover letter can be one of your most essential assets or one of your biggest hindrances, depending on how you approach it.

    The trick is to write a cover letter that explains your dedication to moving regardless of whether you get the job. Your cover letter should (in part) explain your situation and drive home the point that you are 100% sure about relocating.

    Even if your move is dependent on finding the right job, you need to sound as though you’ve entirely made up your mind. Companies do not want to hear that you are only considering the idea of moving, as they won’t want to waste time and energy on an interview.

    If you’re willing, you can even mention that you will cover your own travel expenses to increase your chances of being hired.

  5. Be strategic with your resume. One of the biggest worries of workers seeking out-of-state jobs is that companies may quickly pass them over when hiring managers see their non-local address.

    You may even be tempted to put down a fake address, but we don’t advise this. Employers will find out that you aren’t a local candidate when you set up the interview process or do a background check, and your unwillingness to be truthful with them won’t bode well for you.

    The best strategy involves stating that you will be relocating directly in your contact information, in place of your address. Something like “Will be relocating to [CITY] in [MONTH/YEAR].” Make it sound like a done deal. This tells companies that you are not a local candidate but that you are certain about your move.

    In the body of your resume, highlight your unique or niche skills and abilities. Anything that your average local candidate may not have. This presents you as a rare and valuable candidate, one that they would be likely to go out of their way for.

  6. Search online. Find and keep tabs on online job postings in your city or cities of choice. You can use job search boards like Zippia to quickly and easily find openings in specific industries and areas.

    Use social media – especially professional social media sites – to seek out job postings and reconnect with your network.

    You can even work with a recruiter or a staffing agency in your state of choice by looking through online directories and getting in contact.

    The internet is going to be one of your best assets for out-of-state job searches.

  7. Use your connections. Use your connections, network, and mutual contacts to aid in your search. They can help you find openings in your new city or state or even get a leg up on local candidates by having someone who can vouch for you.

    If there’s anyone you know (or know through someone else) who’s already established in your new location, they may be able to let you in on job openings, act as a reference, or even offer assistance with your move.

    If you’re wondering how you might find locals to make connections with, we’ll have more on that later.

  8. Sign up for mailing lists. Another step you can take to find opportunities before you start formally applying for jobs is to sign up for mailing lists.

    Mailing lists offer email alerts for new job postings in your area of choice, and they can be a big help in saving you from checking on your own every single day for new listings.

  9. Submit applications strategically. Only after you’ve finalized all your research and decisions, updated your resume and cover letter template, reached out to your network, and searched online, then you can start strategically submitting your applications.

    It’s important to have everything figured out and organized so that you’re ready to start the interview process as soon as possible. Ideally, you want to start your application process a few months before your move so you can have everything squared away and begin working as soon as you’ve moved.

    Do your part to prepare for your tentative move at this point. If you land a job in your city of choice, you’re going to want to be ready to go ASAP — so figure out where you will be living, how (roughly) you’ll be getting there, and all the details of your move.

  10. Use your first interview to assure confidence and certainty. Once you get invited for your first interview, it’s time to show your potential new employer that you are determined and laser-focused. Reassure them that you are 100% serious about working for them and 100% sure about relocating to their city.

    Specify that you are only looking at certain positions and only looking in this specific city. If they think you’ve been applying to every job in the city or feel you’ve been applying to every software developer position across America, they won’t hire you.

    There will be several interviews to see if you are the right fit. See if you can organize the majority of this process over the phone or through video conference, but don’t make it seem like you’re never interested in meeting and interviewing face-to-face.

    Ask if they cover travel expenses during the interview process and if they hire you. Keep in mind, though, that this is not likely for entry-level jobs or workers.

    If you do visit for an interview, try and be strategic about scheduling. If you’re interviewing with multiple companies, see if you can schedule them all during your visit.

  11. Be flexible. The interview process may get a little bit tricky as there are many things to consider with an out-of-state interview, so it’s essential to stay flexible during this time.

    There may be time-zone differences that you need to consider, and you may need to make yourself available at unconventional times. If the company wants to meet you for an in-person interview, work with them to figure out how you’ll travel to their location (and whether or not they’ll cover the costs).

    You’re going to have a more intensive process than a local candidate, so be prepared and flexible for that.

  12. Keep your options open. If you’re determined or dead set on moving, and you can’t seem to find the perfect job for you, it may be time to broaden your horizons. You might have to reconsider your options and make a new plan.

    Consider taking a temp job in your new city as a way of establishing connections and as a good starting point for your career. You can also consider fully remote work or work that doesn’t require you to be in any particular location, as they don’t care where you’re coming from.

Find Help in Your Extended Network

As with most things in life, this process will be a lot easier if you can find someone (or a lot of someones) to help you. Here are some ways you can go about finding people and building your out-of-state network.

Go through all your contact lists – phone, social media, anything – and see if you have any friends or acquaintances who live or have lived in your potential new city. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help out if you approach them kindly and politely.

If you already know you have close friends or family living in the area, ask them for help. If they don’t work in your specific industry, they may know someone who does who would be able to offer some assistance.

You may even have a college alumni network you can check to connect you with alumni in your new city. Try contacting your university’s career development center.

How to Move to Another State

When you’re finally ready to make your move, there are some basic things you should keep in mind to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Research the tax codes, average salaries, and living expenses of your new city and plan a budget based on your research. If you’ve already landed your job and know your salary, factor that into the calculations.

Reach out to local friends and family for help in moving and adjusting to your new life. They can help you figure out your living situation or give you a place to stay temporarily while you look.

Research moving companies and plan the logistics of your move and how you will be transporting your things.

Finally, enjoy this new chapter in your life! Moving can be stressful, but it can also offer an opportunity for building a new life. So enjoy your new adventures.

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Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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Topics: Get The Job, Guides