Even in an attractive job market, conducting a long-distance job search can seem overwhelming. It is hard to know where to start! The best approach to job searching is often a multi-pronged approach.
Step 1) Define your job search goal.
Just stating that you want to find a job in New Hampshire isn’t enough. It is too broad and unfocused and will leave you stumbling around ineffectively, causing your search to be far harder and longer than it should be.
- What type of job do you want? Doing what?
- At what professional level (e.g., entry level or senior manager)?
- What are some likely job titles for your ideal job?
- What industry or industries interest you?
- What size company/organization appeals to you most?
- Is there a particular region of the state you want to target?
- If necessary, would you be willing to live in state but commute to work in another state?
Answering these questions as precisely as you are able will help guide all your job search activities and will help bring your search to a fast, successful conclusion.
Step 2) Address the logistics.
The logistics of job searching long distance can be daunting. Employers will be hesitant to hire someone who doesn’t yet live in NH. Your distance can also be the cause of challenges when you are trying to interview. These are real challenges, but can be minimized with a few small changes to your approach.
A. Prepare your resume. Start by removing your current address. In its place note “Relocating to the area of (Name of Town/City in the area you plan to move), NH (Zip code of town/city).” For example, “Relocating to Dover, NH 03820.” With this simple step, you proactively minimize concerns that the employer may have about why you presently work in another state and are applying for a job in NH. The zip code is important as well, as applicant tracking software (ATS) uses it when sorting candidates.
B. Get a New Hampshire phone number and have it forward to your current phone. This is easy to do using Skype, Convoi, Vonage or a similar service. Listing a phone number with a 603 area code demonstrates your real commitment to moving and really will make a significant difference in the number of responses you receive.
C. While many employers now use Skype or other similar services for interviews, there are still times when you will need to be physically in the state. During the time that you are actively job searching, try to plan some trips to New Hampshire as frequently as you can. If travel costs are a factor, try reaching out to your fellow Porcupines and you may find one of them willing to host you during your job search trips.
D. Make some decisions now about how you will answer the question of why you are moving to New Hampshire. You can choose to answer this in whatever manner is most appropriate, but many Porcupines find it most effective to honestly but simply state that you have some good friends in New Hampshire and really admire our culture and have decided this is the state you want to call “home.
Step 3) Leverage the power of social media.
Keep in mind that you have an extraordinary advantage over other job seekers. You have a ready-built, eager-to-help network of Porcupines already living in New Hampshire. We encourage you to leverage this network as much as possible. How do you get started? Here are a few suggestions:
Facebook Groups to Join and Participate In:
LinkedIn Groups to Join and Participate In:
- Free State Project Professional Networking
- Free State Jobs Networking (not FSP specific)
- New Hampshire Jobs (not FSP specific)
What do we mean by participate? It’s simple. Engage. Talk with people. Networking is really all about building and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships. When someone asks a question, when you are able, answer it helpfully. In the FSP specific groups, remember that everyone wants you to be successful in making the move too. They will often bend over backwards to help you achieve this. So, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, state your goal of moving to NH and talk about your job search. Ask if anyone has ideas about companies you should reach out to. Also ask if they know of anyone in your industry or profession that it might be helpful for you to speak with. Would they be willing to introduce you? Do they have any other insights or recommendations?
Also, leverage your own professional network outside of the FSP. Talk to people. The more people, the better. Inform them of your plans to move to New Hampshire as soon as you secure employment. Explain your job search goals. Ask them if they have any advice, insights or recommendations that might help you with your search. Do they know of anyone you should talk with who might have more suggestions for you?
The more you network, the more successful your job search will be.
Step 4) Use the job boards to find job leads (but do it the effective way!).
Yes, checking the job boards should be a part of your routine. But when you find a job that interests you, don’t just send your resume off into the abyss of human resources. Instead, go back to the network you have been building on social media. See if anyone works for the company, used to work for the company, has another connection to them, or knows someone who knows someone who does. Your application will always be far better received if you have been personally introduced.
You should also spend some time learning about the company and the job, and tailor your resume and the cover letter you submit with it to show how your skills align with the job. Finally, don’t be afraid to follow up. By following up on your application a few days after you submit it, you demonstrate you have a sincere interest in the position. This will help you stand out from the masses of other job seekers who indiscriminately apply for every job opening they see, qualified or not.
Some job boards to consider, include:
Spend a minimal amount of time on the job boards. This is advice that is in direct conflict with how most job searchers spend their time. But “most” job searchers spend months in unfruitful, frustrating searches. We want you to be successful and join us in NH as soon as possible.
While you shouldn’t ignore the job boards, they should play only a small role in your overall job search. This makes sense, when you consider that only a tiny percentage (2-10% depending on the source) of all jobs are filled using the job boards. You will have much greater success in your search if you spend the majority of your time networking and researching and targeting specific employers.
Step 5) Reach out to headhunters and employment agencies.
Recruiters/headhunters can be a valuable source of job leads when you are searching for a new job, but don’t make the mistake of relying solely on them. As with job advertisements, only a small percentage of jobs are filled by recruiters. Introducing yourself to them is an important part of a multi-pronged search, but don’t expect them to perform miracles and find a job for you. Some of our participants have provided good feedback on these recruiters:
Step 6) Execute a targeted job search.
Put yourself in the employer’s shoes for a moment. In the past, you have tried posting job openings on the job boards and in return you have received a flurry of job applications, the vast majority of applications from individuals who aren’t even qualified and don’t seem to understand your company and the job they are applying for. It is a time consuming, costly process to sort through all of the applicants and then conduct interviews, and you may still not find the right person.
One day, you receive a note from an individual who has been referred to you by someone you know. She has clearly taken the time to research your company. She has used her network to talk with your current employees, past employees, and people who do business with you. She understands that when you hire a new employee, you are making an investment, and she has taken the time to think about how her skills and past experiences align with your needs. She is enthusiastic and genuinely interested in your company. She tells you that she is planning to move to New Hampshire soon and asks if she might meet with you by phone or when she is in town next time, two weeks from now.
As the employer, what would you do in this situation? It is clear which of the two approaches is more effective.
While we’ve saved this section for last, combined with your networking activities, taking the time to research and make a targeted list of companies that interest you and would be a good fit for your interests and qualifications, and then working that list, are the absolute most effective techniques you can use when searching for your new job in New Hampshire. How do you begin to make that list? Here are some suggestions:
- Use your network. Reach out on all the social media groups you joined. Create a post stating your job search goals as clearly as possible. Ask if anyone has any suggestions about companies that you might want to look into, even if that company isn’t currently hiring.
- Use GoogleMaps to focus in on the area you are hoping to relocate to. Taking commute times into consideration, draw an imaginary circle around the area. Now focus in on that circle and look for businesses in your target industry.
- Read print media for New Hampshire. Not to look at the job postings, but to read about business happenings in the areas that interest you. If you read about a company that interests you, follow up with some additional research and then put it on your short list. Some of the most prominent newspapers in NH include:
- Also consider subscribing to and reading:
- Use LinkedIn to search for companies in New Hampshire. Use the search bar to search for “New Hampshire” or other search terms. This is helpful during the initial stages when you are identifying companies of interest, but also use LinkedIn to research companies that have made it to your short list and to identify people in your network who have an association with the company of interest.
- Look through lists of New Hampshire companies. For example:
This content was prepared by Michelle Dumas. Michelle is a New Hampshire native and participant in the Free State Project with more than 20 years of experience in the employment services industry. Her company, Distinctive Career Services, LLC has created a service offering tailored to the needs of fellow Porcupines who are job searching in New Hampshire FreeStateJobs.com. Visit the site to learn more about getting help with the development of a custom job search plan, employer research, recruiter outreach, resume writing, LinkedIn profile writing, interview coaching, and more.