HOW TO WRITE A RESUME
WHEN APPLYING TO JOBS IN DIFFERENT CITIES
1. DECIDE LOCATION STRATEGY
First, you need to decide how up front you will be about the upcoming move to the prospective employers that are out of state. The good news is that most people stopped including their address on their resume a few years ago. This resume trend emerged because it really isn’t relevant to most hiring managers where you live – only that you can do the job and are a good fit for the company culture. So, consider the following when making this critical decision:
- Don’t lie. Lying on your resume about your address is always a bad idea. Really, because there are many opportunities for this lie to come out and the consequence will only get worse as the process progresses. Start on the right foot and you will always be in a better position.
- Confront the issue head-on. While noble, this may not always be the right strategy – particularly if the job requires local knowledge which means that you will be disqualified immediately. While other jobs may truly want an outsider to come in to provide best practices from another market. Thus, always be strategic and do your research because local considerations or preferences are not always disclosed in job postings.
- Focus on important details. The more important detail of any resume is whether you are qualified and a good fit for the role. Take the time to get the content right about why you are right for this role and leave the address/relocation issue for the cover letter (or interview).
- Recruiters are smart. If you make it past the applicant tracking system, a recruiter will be able to infer where you are geographically based on the other details on your resume (i.e. phone number, current employer, volunteering, etc.). They will almost always still contact you if your resume reads like a good fit for their needs.
2. EXPLAIN REGIONAL DETAILS
The details of where and who you work with may be lost on people in a different state. Make sure to take the time to explain these details in a way that is relevant to the potential employer in another state. When trying to spot the regional info in your resume consider the following:
- Relevance of the current employer (or school or client). People outside of your city (or state) may have never heard of the place where you worked or the school you attended. Provide a little context so that it is clear why you have relevant transferable skills.
- Role of politics. Legislative and regulatory landscapes at the city, state, and national level can look dramatically different in different regions/industries. Make sure to explain the particularly challenging landscape that you conquered if this information is relevant to your achievements.
- Size is relative. Numbers can change dramatically when moving between markets ( whether it is size of department, client size, sales, revenue, etc.). You should still include these numbers but consider framing them in a different way to keep the person’s attention (i.e. using a percentage instead of a straight dollar amount, reflecting increase, etc.).
3. ADDRESS TIME LINES
Timing can be a critical factor when applying to any job because it may make the difference between a fit or not. This is true even when not applying to roles out of state because there are many factors which can make a job urgent to fill (or pushing back the start) that have nothing to do with you as a candidate. So, consider the following when deciding how to incorporate your time frame:
- Moving without a job. Not everyone can do this or they may be forced to do it because of a significant others career demands. Unfortunately, the ability to move without a commitment may make or break your application in the eyes of some employers.
- Setting a move date. Include the date in your resume and cover letter if you know it as this will only help your application.
- Tying up loose ends at your current employer. Know this answer and if it is particularly long or short consider addressing it in your resume depending on whether it may hurt or help your application for a particular position.
- Relocation loose ends. Similarly address the elephant in the room that may keep you practically tied to your current city (i.e. selling a house, etc.) if it helps sell you as a strong candidate. However, be careful not to overdo this explanation or get too personal as such information is probably not relevant to the consideration of whether you are a good candidate for the job.
4. INCLUDE EXPLANATION IN YOUR COVER LETTER
A cover letter plays an important role when applying to jobs out of state. Make sure to provide one with every application to roles in a different city or state – even if the employer doesn’t ask for it (unless this is an internal role and then you’ll want to tweak your approach anyway).
Really, you do this because the cover letter is an important to tool to sell yourself as a good candidate while addressing any relevant details about your move. Think about the following when drafting a cover letter to go with your relocation resume:
- Discuss the why. Moving is always prompted by a reason and the employer only wants to know that you are committed to doing the role if you are a good fit. Again, don’t get too personal but be open about the why you want to pick up and move. Chances are that your explanation is far better than the guesses that may otherwise be running through the reader’s mind.
- Address the when. Timing can be everything. Whether you are in town for an interview or have set a move date make sure to include the dates in your cover letter. This will help your application and demonstrate commitment to the move.
- Explain why this role/this company. Each cover letter should include specifics about why you want to work at this company while showcasing why you are a good fit for the role. Be explicit about the why and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn when doing online research.
- Cover the how. Relocation is expensive and it may not be in the employer’s budget. Consider addressing how these costs will be covered if it makes sense with your search and the specifics of the position you are applying to.
5. DRAFT A SOLID RESUME
This is hands down the most important part of applying to jobs out of state. Employers today receive an average of 70 applications per job and over 75% of those applications are rejected immediately. That means in order to stand out (particularly when applying to jobs in another state) you must have a solid resume that conveys precisely why you are a good fit for the particular role. Consider the following when crafting a solid resume to use when relocating:
- Articulate the difference. Include a strong summary statement to clearly outline why you are a strong candidate and how you stand apart from the competition.
- Incorporate keywords. ATS only search through resumes for keywords that match the pre-set requirements. Make sure you are incorporating these critical keywords or your resume will likely never be seen by a person. (Read here for tips on writing a resume to beat the ATS).
- Achievements. Include a clear list of your results and call attention to what you have done to illustrate that you can do the job well for the employer.
- Industry experience. Make sure to incorporate specifics about your knowledge of the prospective employer’s industry.
- Specialties. Highlight your relevant specialties, certifications, or other unique knowledge to demonstrate that you are undeniably someone that should be interviewed for the role.
There are no easy answers to finding a job when relocating. The key is making sure that you put the time in to apply to many positions while making sure that the resume you are using sells you as someone the prospective employer must interview.
Not sure how your resume stacks up? Consider submitting your resume for a free analysis by the resume experts of the Contingent Plan. Your expert will review your resume and provide real insights into what you are doing right, what could be better, and make recommendations on how to improve the performance of your resume. Submit your resume today!