Your resume is extremely important in finding a job and is the biggest factor in whether you get the interview or not. Living in one state (or country) and applying for jobs out of state makes it even more vital.
And one of the biggest hurdles is how to list your location on your resume when applying for jobs in a different state.
A question on this topic was emailed to me by a reader last week:
Hoping you can help. I’m living in San Francisco and trying to move to Denver. The problem I’m running into is that I’m not receiving any interviews and I’m guessing it’s because there are local applicants that are equally qualified. I believe I can interview better than them and prove myself but I need to get into the interviews. My address and phone number on my resume are a dead giveaway that I’m living in the Bay Area. Do you recommend that I lie on my resume to get a job interview?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of both options so you know what you’re up against. Then keep reading because there’s a third option that works pretty well too and you won’t want to miss it.
When applying for jobs out of state, one strategy is to use a friend or family member’s address in that city, or just list the city without a street address on your resume. Or make up an address. Lying on your resume will probably get you the initial phone interview, but there are a few problems with all of these tactics.
This option is simple, and chances are you’ve already tried it. Accept that some employers won’t want to interview you, but continue to list your full out-of-state address on your resume.
Some companies only consider local candidates. This will limit the number of opportunities you’re able to interview for. Not every company will be open to interviewing you, even on the phone.
Still, I would try this option for a couple of weeks to start my job search. It’s a good place to start because it’s the safest, assuming you can get some companies willing to talk to you. The only risk is spending time applying for jobs and finding out you’re not getting enough responses or interviews.
If that happens, you’ll need to consider other options. That’s where option #3 comes in…
This option is great if you don’t want to tell a flat out lie, but you’re not getting enough interviews telling the truth on your resume.
Here’s what to do… Put your name and phone number on your resume, but don’t list an address. Where you’d normally put an address, instead say something like “Relocating to Denver in March 2017”. (replace ‘Denver’ with whichever city the job is in).
Using this approach to apply for jobs in a different city or state should get you a higher number of interviews without having to lie about where you currently live.
This is still a bit of a lie, since you’re probably not going to relocate without a job offer, but it’s also quite true- your goal is to find a job in the new city, and your plan is to relocate to that city if you can find a suitable position.
This will get you the greatest number of phone interviews and will keep your resume out of the garbage pile.
If you have an interview and they ask about this (they probably will), you can tell them you plan on relocating either way but you are trying to secure a job beforehand. That will put their mind at ease and quickly convince them you’re serious about finding a job in their city.
Just like Option #1, there’s a chance that you could lose out on relocation assistance if you say you’re moving to their city no matter what.
It’s not very likely but it’s possible.
With most companies, they’ll still offer to help if it’s a part of their benefits package though. Very few companies will try to weasel out of paying relocation assistance. The ones that do, you probably don’t want to work for.
So this method has a lot of potential and very little risk. I recommend giving it a try.
Now that you know what to do… you’re probably wondering how soon to start applying for jobs. If so, check out this article on timing your job search. I wrote it after a reader who is relocating from New York to Texas emailed me asking this exact question.
Also, make sure to leave a comment below if you have a question or if you’ve tried any of these options.
UPDATE: If you’re job searching in a new city, I think you’d love the step-by-step interview guide I just created. Each interview counts for a lot when you’re relocating; I’ve done it first-hand and know it’s definitely harder than the typical local job search. But it’s still doable! If you want to go into your next interview feeling 100% confident and well-prepared, you’re the type of person I had in mind when I created this guide. You can read about it here.