Q. Prospective employers in NH won't even look at my résumé because it is clear I am living and working in Idaho right now. Is there anything I can do to get around this?
A. When hiring managers receive a résumé from an out-of- state candidate, several of their first concerns are almost always the time, costs, and logistics of hiring and transitioning that candidate. It is less costly and much faster and easier to interview and hire the local candidate. While this is less of an issue for job seekers pursuing very specialized or high-level, hard-to- fill positions, the bias will still fall in favor of the local candidate, all else being equal.
So, when you begin actively applying for positions and submitting your résumé, is there anything you can do to improve your chances of consideration?
While you don’t want to be deceitful in any way, there is no reason to advertise your current location.
Remove your current address from your résumé. Including a specific street address on your résumé has become far less common in recent years, so not including one on your résumé won’t raise any red flags.
You should, however, include a city, state, and zip code. But, the goal is to reflect the local market in your résumé and convey the idea that relocation is imminent. This is important for practical reasons, which I will explain in a moment, and isn’t deceitful since you will make mention of your planned relocation in your cover letter.
Do you have a specific town or city in New Hampshire that you have targeted as your ideal new home? If so, this exercise will be easy for you. Instead of your current location, list your target location in the header of your résumé with other contact information.
Dover, New Hampshire 03820
firstname.lastname@example.org | linkedin.com/in/johnjobseeker
Why is this so important? City, state, and zip are important fields in the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in which employers and recruiters database incoming résumés. By including a local zip code, you help ensure that your résumé won’t be automatically culled out before a human even has the chance to read it.
You should follow this same practice on your LinkedIn profile. Go into the settings of your LinkedIn account and change the zip code so that it matches the one you have used on your résumé. When recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn to fill positions, zip code is a very important search field.
Did you notice the 603 area code in the above contact information? This is another easy way to reflect the local market on your résumé. It is easy and inexpensive to secure a local 603 phone number from a service such as Skype, and have that number forward to your current phone.
Finally, in your employment history, there is no rule that you must include the location of the companies you have worked for. Instead, completely remove the emphasis on geography by listing your employment history without location. Include only the company name, your job title, and dates of employment.
SALES ACCOUNT MANAGER | Acme, Inc. | 2015-Present
SALES ACCOUNT MANAGER | Acme, Inc., Boise, ID | 2015-Present
In your cover letter and other communication with employers, you should present the topic of your relocation as if it is currently in progress: “I am currently in the process of relocating to the Manchester area. While I can meet with you by Skype at any time, I can also be available for an in-person interview with notice of just one week.”
Presenting your move in this way has the added benefit of assuring employers that you are planning to relocate at your own cost and that the move is well planned and in the works. Applying these tips will go a long way in helping you to compete with local candidates so that you can begin lining up interviews. In a future column I will provide tips to help you manage the logistics of interviewing.
In this new monthly column, Michelle Dumas' goal is to put her expertise to work for soon-to-move FSP participants seeking to establish new careers and businesses in New Hampshire. She will do her best to answer questions about the New Hampshire employment and business environment, offer tips on how you can connect and network with other FSP participants, and support you with expert advice on job searching strategies – especially the particular concerns that people have when searching for a job from a distance.
What job search or business-related challenges are holding you back from making the move? Visit the FSP's LinkedIn profile and feel to reach out!
As a professional in the careers industry, Michelle Dumas has spent the past 20+ years consulting and coaching job seekers all over the world on diverse career-related topics such as résumé writing, job search strategies and techniques, career planning, online identity, interviewing, networking, and much more. She's supported countless thousands of job hunters in conducting successful job searches and have helped entrepreneurs in creating the personal marketing tools they need to pursue funding and launch new businesses. You can learn more about her and her expertise on her websites: www.distinctiveweb.com and www.freestatejobs.com.