How To Get Interviews As A Non-Local Candidates

How To Get Interviews As A Non-Local Candidates
by Lauren McGoodwin
Photos Joe Kathrina | October 31, 2014

“I’m currently living in Indianapolis with plans to move to New York and join my boyfriend. Ideally, I’d like to land a job before I move. I’ve got four years of work experience on my resume, but most employers still aren’t interested in interviewing me before I get to New York. What should I do?”

- Shannon, Indianapolis, IN

I totally get where employers are coming from on this one, especially when they are looking to fill less specialized roles. And in a city like New York—with so many talented people—I understand it even more. Most employers looking to fill less specialized positions can’t and won’t deal with non-local applicants because (1) they don’t want to pay for your travel expenses, and (2) they don’t want to waste any time interviewing someone that might not move. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that when New York employers come across your resume with your Indiana address, they trash it without a second thought. Because I am not by any means encouraging you to lie about your address—that never ends well—let’s talk about some other strategies to increase your odds of landing interviews.

One good strategy is to create in-person connections. Plan a trip to New York that gives you at least three work days of free time for networking. About four weeks prior to your visit (and eight weeks prior to your move date), schedule as many informational interviews and networking events into those three days as you can. You’ll want to reserve people’s time far in advance to make sure you make the most of your “networking vacation.”

Find people via LinkedIn, friends and contacts of friends that work within companies and/or jobs you’re interested in pursuing. During your conversations, feel free to be open about the fact that you have plans to move to New York and will be on the job hunt soon, but don’t flat out ask for a job. Just the simple mention will put it on their radar without making them uncomfortable.

Now that you have made a slew of New York connections, follow up with each person to thank them for their time, tactfully ask them to keep you in mind in case they hear of any new job opportunities, and attach your resume. You may or may not have interviews lined up by the time you move, but whatever the case, you have definitely given yourself a head start. Once you officially move to New York, follow up with your contacts again, letting them know that you’re officially a New Yorker, and continue to schedule as many in-person networking opportunities as possible.

Things will definitely start happening as you continue to connect with more people!