Each week, TopResume's career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions like the one below from Quora and our Ask Amanda form. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for nearly 15 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: How do I address my desire to relocate for work in my cover letter and resume?
I'm about to start a job search and want to relocate. How do I approach the subject of relocation in my cover letter and resume? — April
Great question, April! Before you update your resume and cover letter for a long-distance job search, I suggest doing some online research to determine which job markets are healthy and have a decent number of job openings in your desired field. It's not enough to know you want to relocate to somewhere warm — search your favorite job boards to get a better sense of which locations not only meet your personal needs but also have a high demand for professionals in your line of work. Your current location will be less of an issue when your talents are in high demand.
Once you've narrowed your search to a few locations, dig a little deeper to determine which is the right place for you to live. Reach out to friends and friends-of-friends who live in the area and can give you the inside scoop on what it's like to live and work there. If possible, visit each city to get a feel for each area.
Also, make sure you can afford to move to each location. Use resources like Salary.com's customized salary reports and NerdWallet's cost of living calculator to estimate the salary range you can expect to earn in each location and determine if it will be enough for you to live comfortably in that area.
How to discuss relocation in your resume
Apply these relocation tips to your resume and LinkedIn profile, where applicable.
Edit the location details
If you've narrowed your search to a specific locale, include the city, state, and zip code in your contact details at the top of your resume. If you haven't worked in this city before, consider removing the location information for your employers within your resume's Work History section.
Update your resume professional summary
Take advantage of the professional summary section of your resume, space previously reserved for your resume objective statement, to address your desire to relocate. Include a blurb similar to the following toward the end of your summary: “Interested in relocating to the greater [location] area.” You can take it a step further and mention that you're “willing to relocate to [location] at own expense” to demonstrate to employers how serious you are about making such a move. If you're still on the fence about relocating for work, leave a line like this out until you've done your research and found a specific location that interests you and is a realistic option, given your career and the location's current job market.
Emphasize other aspects of your employers
Consider adding a one-line company description underneath each employer listed on your resume that highlights the aspects each has in common with the companies you're currently targeting for your job search. This could be anything from the company's size to its industry to the types of customers it serves. The idea is to downplay the location of each employer by emphasizing other attributes that are relevant to your desired employer.
How to discuss relocation in your cover letter
Your cover letter and the summary section of your LinkedIn profile are great places to add personal details about your desire to relocate that would seem out of place on a resume.
While technology is making the world smaller and smaller, employers still tend to favor local candidates over out-of-towners when all else is equal. Why? Because non-local candidates typically cost more money to hire (i.e. relocation costs) and are often considered more of a flight risk. Use your cover letter to dispel any false assumptions an employer may have about your decision to relocate.
Highlight your history
If you previously worked or studied in the area, or if you have family living there, incorporate these facts into your cover letter. This information shows employers that you're already familiar with the location and will be comfortable living there. In other words, you've already begun to lay down roots and are less likely to jump ship as a result.
Demonstrate your research
If you haven't lived in the location before, show the employer that you've done your homework on the area. When explaining why you're interested in the opportunity, drop in a detail or two that demonstrates what you've learned about the location and why it makes the position more appealing. By exhibiting the research you've done on the area, you're showing the employer how serious you are about relocating.
Indicate your family's support
While you don't necessarily want to go into the nitty-gritty details of your family, it doesn't hurt to mention that “My family and I are committed to relocating to [location]” to show your family's support of the move. If you're relocating because your spouse or partner was transferred to this location for work, be sure to specify this in your cover letter, as it may alleviate any fears the employer has about your genuine interest in relocation.
How to approach relocation in your cover letter and resume
Once you've updated your job-application materials to demonstrate your commitment to relocation, focus on developing a strong network of connections in your desired city to help you sidestep the ATS software and put your application directly into the hands of the recruiter or hiring manager.
Click on the following link for more tips for conducting a long-distance job search.
Need help positioning your resume for relocation? TopResume can help!