How to Start a Long-Distance Job Search

Jun. 15, 2017 How to get Hired, Moving to Seattle


Are you itching to move to Seattle? You’re not alone. Roughly 1,100 people move to the Seattle area each week, as reported by the US Census Bureau. For many, moving to a new location means finding a new job, but how does someone conduct a successful long-distance job search?

Set Reasonable Expectations & Goals

In a perfect world, most want a job waiting for them when they arrive, but that’s typically not the case. Make sure you set reasonable expectations for yourself; be sure to save up enough money before moving to cover moving costs, living costs, and a couple months rent. This will give you ample time to find work and get income through the door.

If you’re someone who thrives on the concept of goals and deadlines, set a goal to save a certain amount of money by a specific date to help you stay on-track.

Share Your Plans in Your Cover Letters

Are you familiar with the famous saying “honesty is the best policy”? Keep that in mind as you write your cover letters when you’re applying for jobs that are in Seattle. US News & World Report says long-distance job seekers can increase their chances at getting an interview with an employer by including key information in a cover letter, like:

  • Being able to come ahead of the move to interview for the position
  • Covering their own travel expenses for an interview
  • Moving earlier than planned if they receive a job offer / being flexible to starting as soon as possible
  • The date at which they’re planning on moving to the area (regardless of job offer)

These small statements decrease the number of questions employers have about the candidate, which may increase the chances of being contacted by a hiring manager. We are inclined to agree. Address any potential “red flags” with the hiring manager in your introduction email and / or cover letter. Though this offers no guarantee that you’ll find a job, you’ll at least be on the radar, especially if you are a highly-qualified candidate.

Tap into Your Alumni Network

If you’ve attended college, you likely have an official alumni association or network that you have access to as soon as you graduate. An alumni association is essentially an organization within a university dedicated to providing resources for graduates including: networking events / parties, special savings on products & services, and funding (or discounts) for professional development programs, should you choose to continue your education. Alumni associations have such high value that they are ranked nationally and can be a deal-breaker for recruiting future students.

Consider attending an event or emailing the association to inquire about alumni that may have moved to the Seattle area. The alumni network is so vast, with (depending on the size of your university) thousands of new members each year. You never know who knows who until you ask; after all, having a warm lead is better than one that is ice cold.

For Lacking Alumni Associations, Do Your Own Connecting via LinkedIn

If you don’t have an active alumni network, LinkedIn can be a powerful place to forage connections with Seattle-area alumni. Don’t be afraid to add these people on LinkedIn, including a message to tell them about your long-distance job search. A good example message could be: “Hi there, fellow Bulldog! I’m going to be moving to the Seattle area in August & would love to connect with fellow University of Georgia alumni. I noticed you’re from the class of ’06 – I was ’08, myself. Who knows – maybe we crossed paths and didn’t even realize it!”

Sync-Up with Recruiters Before and After You Move

Alumni aren’t the only people you should connect with prior to your move. Seek out staffing and temp agencies that specialize in filling the types of positions you want. For example, Parker is an excellent resource to connect with for customer service, HR, and admin support roles in Seattle.

While we don’t advise connecting with a recruiter several weeks before making your move, it would be a good idea to email an agency or two within a couple of weeks of your move date. In your email, make sure you mention your move date, the kinds of positions you’re open to, what neighborhood you’ll be moving to (if you already know), and an up-to-date version of your resume.

It’s unlikely a recruiter will be able to line up interviews for you immediately, but this is simply because many hiring managers expect local, readily-available candidates. When you do arrive, touch base with your recruiter(s) so they can immediately start considering you for positions.

A Real-World Example from our Team

Our Recruiting Coordinator, Sarah Kirschner, made quite a leap – moving to Seattle from South East Asia; and though she started a long-distance job search from across the Pacific, she didn’t hear a peep from hiring managers. It wasn’t until she moved and synced up with staffing agencies that processes started moving. Sarah says that working with a recruiter gave her “insight into how the interviews went, how to send multiple thank you letters, and the encouragement I needed to land multiple offers.”

When it comes to moving to Seattle, Sarah believes “it is a must to connect with a firm you trust and that works for your background. If you are relocating to Seattle, reach out a week prior so you can feel comfortable to have movement in the hunt when you land. I can safely say after a year of living here that this is a thriving job market; just get here so we can place you!”

MOVING TO THE SEATTLE AREA?

If you’re moving to the area soon, consider partnering with Parker to find work. We offer both short-term and long-term contracts, which can help generate income while looking for your perfect fit; additionally, we offer contract-to-hire roles and permanent placements.

Your Seattle job search starts now. Submit your resume to Parker today »