Looking for a job from a different zip code may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is a little bit of adjustment and a focused strategy.

Set Yourself Up for Success

As with any job search, the more research you can do ahead of time, the better. Although you don’t have the luxury of being able to drive down local streets to get a feel for neighborhoods, there is a wealth of information online that can help give you a feel for the area.

You may already be familiar with Hoovers.com, the business research database with information on over 80 million companies, but try Manta.com as well – this search engine is focused on small businesses and may uncover companies and organizations you weren’t aware of in your new town. Requesting a “relocation packet” from your new area’s Chamber of Commerce is also a good way to gain valuable knowledge of your new city.

Employ Help On the Ground

Do you know anyone living in the area you are targeting? Perhaps one of your friends or family lived there in the past? Tap into your network for behind the scenes scoop if you can. Ask if they might know anyone you can contact as well for information.

Hiring managers may sometimes disqualify you based on location alone, so by using referrals, you can increase your chances of getting an interview. Additionally, you could also include the address of a friend or family member on your resume, but be prepared! An employer may ask to see you within a very short timeframe, and those last minute plane tickets can be expensive!

That being said, if you are asked for an in-person interview and can swing it, by all means make the investment. I once had an employer ask for a Skype interview, but knowing the potential awkwardness of that situation (bad internet connection, barking dogs in the background, not being able to make true eye contact) I decided to cash in some of my frequent flyer miles to make the trip in person. It paid off in the end, as I did receive an offer. This may not always happen, so it has to be a risk you feel comfortable taking.

Be Upfront

If you don’t know anyone in the area, make sure to include an additional statement on your resume such as, “Relocating to Chicago in August” so recruiters are aware.

Don’t let then discount your resume simply because you aren’t around the corner! Address your upcoming move in your cover letter as well. These days, it is rare for companies to have large relocation budgets (if they have any at all!) and more often than not, an employer will not be able to fly you in for an interview. Let them know you are in the process of relocating and look forward to meeting with them, “when you are next in town.” Are you moving to be close to family? Or is your spouse relocating? It’s not a bad thing to express this in your cover letter, as it will paint the right picture.

Show Your Enthusiasm

Showing an employer you are excited about a potential opportunity is always important, but even more so when conducting a search from a distance. Hiring is a major investment, and an employer wants to know they are making the right one. When applying for positions, don’t hesitate to show your enthusiasm. Let employers know you’ve done your research and are confident you are the right person for the job, despite the distance.

Updated: 21/03/2017
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Erika is a career development professional with over 15 years of experience in both corporate and higher education settings. Her current role is Assistant Director of Career Education at a private university in Chicago, Illinois. She also works with individuals on strengths discovery, interviewing skills and networking. She can be reached at careerplayground (at) gmail.com

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