Economy & Jobs

Applying for Jobs Out of State: The Personal and Financial Borders

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For those of you who have spent time applying for jobs out of state, it may seem as if recruiters are looking for talent only in their immediate area. Locality is a small example of the difficulties that go hand-in-hand with an out-of-state job hunt. Tackling hurdles such as the cross-country interview process and the finances of relocation requires a strong understanding of your personal motivations and realistic expectations.

Your Personal Motivations

The key to effectively starting your out-of-state job hunt is to understand your motivations. For example, if you are looking to increase your income, the U.S. Census Bureau lists New Hampshire as having one of the highest median income rates in the country as of 2013 ($71,322), followed by Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado. If shaking off a long period of unemployment is your goal, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that states such as North Dakota, Nebraska, and Utah have the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Refocusing your search may increase your chances of landing a position.

Researching Cost of Living

A new state means new pressures on your wallet. Knowing how your move will affect your bottom line in regard to sales, property, and income taxes could help you save more. Beyond taxes, the cost of living also varies throughout the country. A higher-paying job in a city with a much higher cost of living might not put you in a better financial situation. Use a cost of living calculator to determine whether or not your higher salary will cover the higher price tag.

Preparing for Out-of-State Job Applications

If you have applied for local jobs, your resume may already include your current home address. Create a new resume for out-of-state jobs, and either remove your address or highlight your relocation plan under your contact information. Your cover letter can also accentuate your desire to move. Although many interviewers see an out-of-state recruit as an added inconvenience to the hiring process, being proactive and honest by sharing your relocation plans will help you get your foot in the door.

Financial Considerations for Out-of-State Interviews

Many out-of-state employers find it best to start with a series of virtual interviews, so make sure you have the right equipment and access to a quiet, professional setting. As you progress in the interviewing process, the age-old tradition of a face-to-face interview may come into play, and with it, the finances associated with travel.

In some cases, the potential employer may offer to pay for your travel expenses. When the offer isn’t mentioned, you can inquire or offer to split the travel costs; always be prepared to cover some or all of the expenses yourself. It is also acceptable to ask where you stand in the interview process. If it’s down to you and two other recruits, the chances of nailing the interview are high and more worth the investment in a plane ticket.

Be sure to keep track of your job hunting expenses by saving receipts. Depending on your situation, these expenses might be tax-deductible.

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

With an out-of-state job offer in your hands, relocation is the next biggest expense and your new employer may have you covered. Atlas Van Lines’ 2014 Corporate Relocation Survey states that roughly 51 percent of companies offer full relocation reimbursement, while only 7 percent of companies offer no reimbursement. This, of course, depends on the size of the company.

With more remote jobs entering the market and telecommuting becoming the norm, you may find your out-of-state job hunt to be less of a hassle in the future. For now, with the right preparation, research, and tools at your disposal, applying for jobs out of state can become a life-altering experience.

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Miranda is a financial journalist and money expert. She covers business and finance topics for a number of outlets, including for U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and AllBusiness.com. Miranda also does corporate work for companies like H&R Block and Equifax. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son, where she enjoys reading, travel, and the outdoors.