What is your advice for someone who wants to do a long distance job search on a specific job interest? I am about to graduate with a Master’s degree. I live in in Iowa and am interested in getting a job near Dallas, Texas. I have experience working with other cultures and countries and am interested in working in higher education (e.g., as Study Abroad Adviser), non-profit, government, or private business.
I won’t lie to you – long distance job searches can be really challenging; just how challenging will depend upon the field you wish to enter.
In low supply-high demand fields (like many technology fields), and “needle in a haystack” searches (where the qualifications sought are unique and hard to find anywhere) employers have to look beyond their backyard for candidates. They know this, they budget for it, they do it. They don’t have a choice.
When employers have to compete just to get candidates, or when they have to court/woo talent to get them to consider their opportunities, they will do so because the market demands it.
If there is a sufficient supply of qualified talent geographically close by, employers have no great incentive to look beyond their own geographic region. In these cases, if you are not in that geographic region, you will bear the cost and responsibility of getting there to network and interview.
Employers are under no obligation to look nationally for candidates or to pay candidate expenses to interview or relocate for a job. They do reimburse for interview travel and will pay for relocation when they need to do so in order to get the candidate(s) they want.
Higher education (particularly for entry and mid-level staff positions) does not typically pay for interview travel expenses or for relocation; nor do non-profit organizations or government institutions. Businesses do so only when they have to.
I know this sounds a bit bleak, but people do conduct successful long distance job searches. I’ve done so myself at multiple points in my career. It’s not easy, but it is doable.
So – what do you have to do?
Know the market you are targeting really well
Do your research. In your case, get to know the DFW employment market really well.
What are the target employers for you and the kinds of positions you are seeking in the cities you are targeting? How do they recruit? Most universities have online application systems and will post new opportunities to professional association and trade publication career websites. So, if you want to work in higher education, pay attention to jobs in your field at your target institutions on the Chronicle of Higher Education Careers website and some of the other targeted resources on our Resource Links page:
Academia/Higher Education Resources
The Chronicle of Higher Education Online Job Board
National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Position Announcements
National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP) Job Announcements
PhDs.org – Finding a Job
Student Affairs.com Position Listings
Cultivate a network of professional contacts who are in your target markets and/or can connect you to people in your target markets
Work your network! Who do you know that can help you? Who do they know? What do these folks know about you? How can they help you?
Looking for a job is a lot more than scanning ads and submitting applications. It’s about building and managing your brand among the right audiences so you can get the chance to tell your story. And, when you get that chance, you have to . . .
Be ready to tell employers why they should hire you
Needing a job is not a qualification for employment. Possessing the education, experience, skills and qualities an employer needs IS a qualification for employment. Don’t confuse the two.
Also, check out some of my recent posts on this topic. I think you might find them helpful