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Resume and Cover letters for jobs outside of the local area

Jobs outside of the local area

Jobs outside of the local area just need a credible story to ease concerns

Jobs outside of the local area?

Last week, I blogged about the pros and cons of listing your physical address on your resume.  The next logical steps to think about are the tactics to find jobs outside of the local area.    

I have offered positions to many people who have lived outside of the local area despite a company’s downside to when bringing candidates in from outside of the local area:  

  • Relocation costs
  • Worry about how the spouse is going to survive the new environment with no friends or job
  • Candidates children leaving school and friends
  • The company could have probably had a much earlier start date with a local candidate

Many candidates struggle when applying for jobs outside of the local area and don’t know where to start.  Doubt and self-confidence only hinder the job search.  In my opinion, as someone who has hired many out-of-towners, all you really need is a good story and I don’t mean a fairy tale with a damsel in distress or dragons.  You need a story that conveys confidence to the hiring manager and the HR department that will alleviate all of the concerns they are going to have.  Alleviate those concerns up front and you will qualify yourself just as a local candidate.   Those concerns are listed on last weeks blog here.   

Eat your own dogfood

I and my wife live more than 30 miles away from our respective employers, (considered outside of the local area that we live.) so I know it can be done.  Not only do we live more than 30 miles away, consider these dog miles.  Many of our colleagues have never even heard of the country town that we live in and when they find out where we live the first reaction is:

  • You live the F**K where?
  • How long is that commute?
  • How bad is that commute?
  • Where is that?  Seriously????

We both landed multiple jobs outside of the local area in PoDunk USA over the years, so it isn’t a one-time fluke.  If Mrs. HRNasty can pull it off, so can you.  We led with solid and credible stories that would ease potential concerns before they came up.  They also happen to be the truth.   

How we eased potential concerns:

What I said:  “After HR, my big passion is fly-fishing for Steelhead.  (If my number 1 passion was Steelheading, I would be blogging about that)  The PNW is the center of the universe for Steelheading and I live on a river in the epicenter of Steelhead knowledge.  Anywhere in Seattle, you are going to have a 20 to 25-minute commute regardless of whether you take the bus, walk or drive.   I figure that another 15-20 minutes onto my commute to be able to live on a river in the epicenter of knowledge of what I love to do is easily worth it.”

I have a pretty good car stereo, Sirius radio, and I love listening to podcasts.  I also have the Pimslers language tapes.  I figure with an extra hour a day, I can do something productive with my time.”  

What Mrs. HRNasty explained:  “I have a long commute, but it is a reverse commute.  It may be 40 miles, but there is only 1 stop sign on the entire commute because we live on a country road.   I can travel these 40 miles in the time it takes most to travel 25-30.”   

What I said:  “In regards to the commute, I love the quiet time.  It is the only time of the day I have to myself.  If I am at home, I will check email, do the laundry, wash the dishes, or mow the lawn.  I am not able to just sit and watch TV.  With a commute, I get to just chill out.  Upbeat music on the way to work to get psyched, and mellow music on the way home to wind down.”

Say all that with a smile and you will have your peers wondering why they aren’t your neighbors.   

You don’t fish and you would have to take the bus?  Maybe the following will help: 

  • “I love to read.  Right now I am reading (recite a business book BY NAME or something related to your industry).  Occasionally I will take up my guilty pleasure and read some fiction.  My commute allows me to read / or listen to books on tape and this isn’t something I am going to do at home or at work.”    
  • In Seattle, some forms of public transportation have Wi-Fi.  “I get 40 minutes of uninterrupted time to get work done. 40 minutes on the train is probably equal to 90 minutes in the office or at home.  There are NO disruptions.  I can wipe out all of my emails, or work on Powerpoint slides coming into work.   I can concentrate on projects during the day and get caught up on email on my commute home.”  (What employer doesn’t want to hear this?)
  • “My phone is a hotspot and with my laptop, I can wipe out my email before I get to work.” 

Some companies pay for public transportation.  You get work done, save on parking and are living green.  It’s the new black.   

What?  You don’t want to just apply for jobs outside of the local area, you want to apply out-of-state and don’t think anyone will read your resume?

First and foremost, do not put your mailing address on your resume.  Again, my reasons here: 

In your cover letter, your last paragraph should give me comfort about relocation.  You do not need to convince anyone that you are going to be the perfect fit in this single short paragraph.  You ONLY need to ease enough tension and create enough curiosity to get the recruiter to pick up the phone and give you a call. 

I recruit into Seattle, so these are the things that will ease my mind when talking with someone looking for jobs out of the local area:

  • I have always wanted to move to the Pacific North West and am planning on relocating to Seattle.  I love the outdoors, specifically mountain biking and hiking.   As an avid cyclist, hiker, steelheader. . .
  • I am looking to relocate to a larger city.  As a father with two young children, Seattle is very attractive because of the great school’s systems.   I am going to move to Seattle where my children can see some diversity and culture through a different lens. 
  • I live in an area where technology is not as strong as it is in Seattle.  I will be relocating from “non-technology” state here because I know that to take my career to the next level, this is what I MUST do. 
  • I am going to be relocating to the West Coast to be closer to my family.  (If you live on the east coast, are applying in the state of Washington and have family in Oregon or California, I will buy it enough to pick up the phone.  You will probably NEVER actually see your family in Oregon or California, but it is a solid and plausible story.)

In each of the above scenarios, I am implying that I am already going to move.    There is a difference between “I am going to be moving to Seattle and am interested in Acme Publishing” and “I want to apply at Acme Publishing”.  Again, you don’t need to convince anyone, you just need to ease enough tension such that I will pick up the phone. 

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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