I’m wondering how to approach the job search from outside New York.
I’ve heard so many different answers on this, most saying it’s nearly
impossible to land a magazine job without actually being in the city.
But I’ve also heard of others who manage to land interviews without a
New York address. What’s the real deal?
I currently live in Tennessee, but am relocating to New York at the
end of next month. Will employers ignore my resume because I do not
have a New York return address even if I’m willing to travel for
interviews between now and my move date?”
This is a great question, and one that I come across often. The short answer is that yes, it is difficult to characterize yourself as a serious candidate for a magazine job in NY if you don’t currently live here. First, there’s the prevailing sentiment that everything outside of New York is barren desert and that no other work experience will translate. If you get past that hurdle, however, there is still the challenge making it clear that you can and will make yourself as available as needed. When we post jobs, we need them filled yesterday, so waiting a month for an out of state candidate to pack up, find a place to live, and relocate isn’t exactly what we recruiters are hoping to do. And relocation assistance? For most companies, and except for executive-level positions, giving you money or resources to help you move is so 20th century.
Basically, when I see a resume that I like, there are two things I want to know when it comes to location: that you can come in to interview within 48 hours and that you can start work 2-3 weeks from an offer being accepted. If both of these criteria are met, we’re good to go.
So to give recruiters what they’re looking for, there are two strategies you can employ that can greatly help your chances.
1. Keep it vague. Don’t list your address on your resume (which many resume experts say you shouldn’t be doing anyway.) If you only have your work experience, a phone number and an email address, you’re not screaming to the recruiter that you’ll need special handling. If you go this route, when a recruiter calls you for an interview you don’t want to surprise them with your relocation saga. You need to be able to schedule an appointment and make sure you can get there. It’s OK to say that you’re in the process of relocating and that you’ll be there in a couple of days to interview. Just make it clear that you’re handling it.
2. Cover (Letter) it. If you list an out of state address, or if it’s clear from your work experience that you’re currently employed in a different locale, open your cover letter with the following statement (or a close approximation): “Though I am currently located in Tennessee, I am immediately available to interview in New York with 24 hours notice, and will relocate at my own expense to begin work in 2-3 weeks should an offer be extended.” Don’t get flowery with your language. Just state the facts that we want to see. If I see a resume with an out-of-state address and there is no mention of relocation in the cover letter, I assume it’s something the candidate either can’t/won’t do or something the candidate just hasn’t put enough thought into.
So yes, there is hope for landing a job when you’re not a local. Just make sure that you are being clear in your intention and your availability and – I can’t stress this enough – be honest. Don’t promise more than you can deliver in terms of your availability. If you keep these tactics in mind, your location shouldn’t stand between you and your next job.
Questions or comments about this topic? Let me know below – I’d love to hear from you!