There’s no better way to show you’re serious about moving to a place than by physically being there. Make an effort to spend 3-5 days in your new location—or take a few short trips over the course of a couple of months to schedule interviews and meet contacts. The most effective strategy that has been proven to work with hundreds of my clients requires approaching the new job market from 3 angles:
First, develop relationships with professionals in the industry/geographical location of your interest ahead of your trip by establishing a direct contact via LinkedIn, phone, email, introductions from your network. Then share your travel plans and schedule coffee appointments with the individuals you identified and connected with earlier.
Second, set up appointments with as many staffing firms as possible. There are thousands of recruiters in every major metropolitan area and part of their daily duties is to be talking to candidates. According to the American Staffing Association’s website, more than 90% of companies in the US use staffing firms, and 40% of employees looking for their first job or who are reentering the job market have done so by working with a staffing company. A good staffing firm will get your resume and set up an interview to talk about your skills, your goals, and the job you are applying for. Resumes don't always do a candidate justice, and a good recruiter is almost like a job therapist - and will draw out of you information relevant to the position(s) that you may not have thought to mention in your resume. Recruiters also have jobs that aren't posted, and after talking with you may recommend you for something you didn't even know was out there.
And third, to broaden your outreach even further, attend networking events every day while on your job search trip. Every major city offers plenty of networking opportunities every single day of the week. Networking groups are diverse, both in the style and types of attendees. Some are casual, whereas others are formal. Some are national, whereas others are regional. Some are run by large organizations, and individuals run others. While the list of differences is lengthy, all networking groups share a common goal: To bring career-driven professionals together to create connections and share ideas.
Read on to find out how to make the most out of your job search trip and land a job in a new city faster.
Start Building Relationships Before the Trip
One of the biggest downsides of leaving your current city is not being able to fully utilize the local network you’ve spent years building. So, it’s important to start building the foundation of a new network in your new city before you take your job search trip. Use LinkedIn to target people you would like to talk to and start building relationships. Find something in common i.e. industry, profession, volunteer interests, academic background or hobbies. Let them know what you are looking for and ask for advice. The key is to start way before your scheduled trip so when the time comes to set up coffee appointments and say the magic phrase “I will be in town on from Wednesday through Friday next week and would love to grab coffee” you’ll stand better chances to secure those appointments.
Write a Personalized Note to Get a Response on LinkedIn
Your Approach: Don’t Ask for a Job, Ask for Advice
Step 1: Start with a Specific Title (when writing an InMail)
Fellow Sales Professional Seeking Advice or Aspiring Project Manager Seeking Advice
Step 2: Introduce Yourself
When you see someone you don’t know but are hoping to speak with, you usually give him or her a one sentence background:
I’m Tony, our mutual contact [name] recommended I reach out to you.
I’m Tony, we’ve never met but we work in the same industry and your career progression resonates with what I am striving for in my own career.
Don’t skip this step, be proactive and write a quick intro. Whether you use this sentence to include your mutual contact, where you’ve met, or your shared background, tailoring your intro for the specific contact shows that you’re serious about connecting with him or her.
Step 3: Get to Why You’re Writing—and Fast
I’m reaching out because I need advice. I’m in the midst of ______ and have some questions about ______.
I was wondering if you’d be willing to spend 5-10 minutes to talk to _____ [fill in the blank, e.g. aspiring project manager]? The construction project management field is not easy to break into and I wanted to hear how you got to where you are right now.
With this line, we tap into the human psychology and everyone’s desire to talk about themselves.
Suggest meeting for coffee. This works especially well if you have a mutual connection.
I will be in Atlanta from Wednesday through Friday, would you be open to grabbing a coffee? I greatly appreciate your time.
Step 4: Wrap it Up and Say Thank You
Might you have time for a brief conversation, I’d greatly appreciate your time and expertise.
This thank-you is crucial.
Set up appointments with recruiters
Forbes worked with analytics firm Statista to compile two lists of America’s best recruiting firms. The first set ranks 250 executive search firms, defined as companies that place executives in positions with at least $100,000 in annual pay. The second ranks 250 professional search firms, which place employees in roles with less than $100,000 in annual income.
See the two lists of America's Best Recruiting Firms 2017 here:
Use this template to start conversations with Recruiters via LinkedIn or phone:
We’ve never met but your profile came up when I was looking at the list of the top recruitment professionals in the San Francisco area on LinkedIn. I am weighing my options for a career move [or you can say that you are relocating to San Francisco], and I will be in town from Wednesday through Friday next week. I would very much welcome a dialogue with your firm. Can we set up a time to talk/meet next week?
Or simply start your message with the following introductory statement:
As my family prepares for our cross-country relocation to Boston…
Simple and clear.
The best time to schedule a meeting
Recently, Quartz reported on a study done by YouCanBookMe, a company based in the U.K. that makes scheduling apps for businesses. After analyzing data from more than two million responses, they determined that Tuesday through Thursday afternoons and Friday mid mornings are the best times to schedule a meeting. Not too early and not too late (in both the day and the week) mid-afternoon and mid-week meetings might just be the ideal time to meet.
Any time on Monday and late in the afternoon on any day of the week are usually the worst times to set up appointments. For the best outcome, try to avoid the times when people are too busy or too tired.
Psychology Today published an interesting article on this topic titled When's The Best Time To Get A "Yes"? where Harry Beckwith J.D. explores ways to get someone to make the decision you want from them and shares the research on this matter.
Prepare and practice your pitch/introduction
In today’s world of sound bites to be able to articulate your qualifications, your value proposition quickly and with clarity is key to the job search. It needs to be rehearsed and practiced. Change the content to suit the occasion. The pitch you give at a stand-up networking event could be different from the one you give at the recruiter’s office.
Version 1 – A 3-point value proposition statement (30-60 sec. delivery)
Suitable for interviews, conversations with recruiters and face-to-face situations where a slightly longer introduction is acceptable.
1. Who are you? [name]
2. Your experience to date in one sentence. [ e.g. Business Development professional with ____years of experience in A, B, C in ____industries]
3. What value you provide [what problem do you solve]; How you do it uniquely [your technical competencies]; Whom you do it for [your target companies/audience]
Version 2 – A fishing line consisting of up to 15 words
Most appropriate for networking events, cold job search calls and brief introductions.
Your fishing line is a ten-to-fifteen-word statement that succinctly, precisely describes your target company and the problem(s) you help them solve. It does not include your solution. Hold that in reserve. Your fishing line is meant to “hook” them and create a conversation. Wait for the question.
A powerful fishing line takes time to perfect, but you can create a serviceable version in 20 minutes or less. The key is to communicate the two parts of the fishing line – your narrow target/company and the tightly-defined issue you address/problems you solve – in up to 15 words.
Plan to attend networking meetings
Networking is the best way to find a job because:
• People do business primarily with people they know and like. Resumes and cover letters alone are often too impersonal to convince employers to hire you.
• Job listings tend to draw piles of applicants, which puts you in intense competition with many others. Networking makes you a recommended member of a much smaller pool.
• The job you want may not be advertised at all. Networking leads to information and job leads, often before a formal job description is created or a job announced.
From breakfast networking to industry-specific speaking engagements and round table events to happy hour networking meetups, you will find many events happening daily in every major city. This is your chance to connect with dozens of people within a one or two our timeframe.
There is a number of popular networking events organized nationwide by: Network After Work, Business Journal Events, Internations or NetworkNite among many others. And in the digital age, countless websites and apps to help people connect are right at your fingertips. Here are some of the top networking and event sites:
Meetup: Meetup is available in thousands of cities. A group can create a page on Meetup and advertise upcoming events or "meetups." You can find groups for Harry Potter fans, avid hikers, those who share your career interests or just about any other interests you can think of. It's a great tool to meet people in your city and find people with similar interests. Job seekers can search for industry events and networking opportunities.
Eventbrite: Eventbrite's mission is to "bring the world together through live experiences." The site accomplishes this by allowing organizations to plan, promote and sell their events. Eventbrite is simple to use. Type in what you are looking for and in what city. It's great for job seekers looking for industry-specific events.
Eventful: Eventful is very similar to Meetup. It's a digital media company that connects people to events they might be interested in. All you have to do is type in a location and keyword, and events pop up.
Lanyrd: Lanyrd allows you to add events, discover conferences and track what events your contacts are attending so you know the best occasions to network.
Expand your outreach and grow the number of Job leads by joining local Social Media groups
LinkedIn Groups https://www.linkedin.com/groups/ have made it very easy to connect with professionals living in your geography of interest and working in the same industry sector as you. Most major metropolitan areas have groups that will be both geographically and industry focused (e.g., Portland Accounting and Finance Professionals, or San Francisco Fashion Industry Professionals). Once you’re in these groups, pay attention (and contribute) to the discussions going on, search for people working at companies that interest you, and introduce yourself to those you’d like to know. Reach out to the Facebook community by joining local groups and staying actively engaged in conversations.
The Muse recommends five specific things you should do once you join a Group that can seriously boost your job search and career.
1. Engage in the Discussions
Benefit: You may meet valuable people in your area or industry, and you can begin to position yourself as someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, and engaged in your field.
2. Post Your Own Questions, or Share Content
Benefit: Another great way to brand yourself as someone who knows her stuff and likes what she does. You can imagine that people who hate their chosen field or aren’t very good at what they do are not spending much time “talking shop” in industry-specific LinkedIn Groups, right?
3. Check out Jobs Specific to Your Field
Benefit: Most Groups have separate sections where members can post open positions that they feel would be specifically relevant to that Group’s membership. And plenty of recruiters post in niche Groups with the hopes of finding narrowly qualified, local talent. You may find the perfect job that isn’t widely advertised elsewhere—and even have an in with the recruiter or hiring manager (remember all those discussions you’ve been starting?).
4. Contact (and Connect With) Fellow Group Members
Benefit: Other than the obvious benefit of knowing that person, by approaching through the shared group affiliation, you seem less like a cold call and more like “one of my people.”
5. Consider Starting Your Own Group
Benefit: You don’t just look like a thought leader, you look like a leader. And could enhance your opportunities to meet incredibly interesting, helpful people.
Be ready to answer the relocation questions
Think through the answer to the question “Why do you want to relocate?”
The interviewer wants to establish what your motivations are in being prepared to relocate and to get some insight into your decision-making processes, i.e. they want to establish that you really have thought through this issue.
So why do you want to relocate? Is it just because this job is an opportunity too good to be missed? Is it because relocating will take you closer to certain family or friends? Has your 'other half' perhaps had to relocate to the same destination? Maybe it's because you have children and you want them to be closer to better schools/the countryside/the seaside. There are many possible reasons why you might wish to relocate. Be prepared to answer this question.
Emphasize you are willing to relocate at your own cost.
When you are planning on relocating, how you handle this conversation can be tricky. For low and mid-level positions, where there may be many local qualified applicants, you can risk being screened out. Candidates for senior positions or applicants for jobs with a shortage of qualified candidates will have a better chance of being considered for a job in a different location and receiving a relocation package. Employers will be more likely to consider someone who is already going to be in the area, though, so they don't have to deal with the logistics and expense of moving a new hire. If your budget allows, mention that you are more than happy to travel, at your own cost, for a personal interview, and that you also plan to be responsible for your own moving expenses. Here are a few ideas of what to say:
My wife and I are planning to relocate (or, even better, “are in the process of relocating”) within the next two months to the Seattle area to be closer to her family…
…I will be traveling to Seattle for a conference (or to find an apartment or to network with local college alumni) in two weeks and would be available to meet at that time. However, I would also be glad to travel, at my own expense, for an interview at your convenience. Please know that I also have resources in place that would allow me to relocate and begin work immediately upon hiring.
I’m currently in the process of relocating to New York City, and can be available to interview with 1 week’s notice, and to start in the position within 3 weeks.