Dealing with Relocation on Your Resume

People relocate for a number of reasons. Career opportunities, quality-of-life issues, family obligations, and health requirements are some of the major ones. Whatever the catalyst for your move, there will be some barriers to overcome. They include the following:resume relocation

  • Accessing job opportunities as quickly as the “local” competition.
  • Arranging time off from your current employer for interviews.
  • Keeping travel expenses associated with your interview jaunts to a minimum

Your employer-to-be will have some barriers to overcome as well. In the employer’s case, they are more mental than physical. For instance, employers sometimes react to long-distance candidates in the following ways:

  • They are wary about an out-of-town candidate’s commitment to moving to a new area.
  • They perceive local candidates as more settled or better connected in the community.
  • They sense that out-of-the-area candidates are difficult to contact and require extra work to schedule for interviews.
  • They associate additional expenses with relocation.

Resume Relocation Strategies

Here are a few resume relocation strategies to help overcome the mental hurdles employers might have with your long-distance candidacy. These strategies will also help level the playing field in competing against local candidates.

Use an 800 number

An 800 number is an effective and inexpensive tool for candidates who want to relocate. It removes some of the mental barriers an employer senses because of geographic distance. Place your name, a toll-free 800 number (or, as 800 numbers run out, an 888 or 877 number), and the words available for relocation at the top of the page. The 800 number will serve you well if you’ve gone past the “move date” and resumes are still floating about on employers’ desks.

resume-header-examples

Other Resume data fields

You can place the rest of your data fields, such as address, fax, e-mail, and so on, at the bottom of the page. If you’re headed to a specific geographic area, say so. Also include a projected move date because it will make you look more serious about your plans. Here’s an example of how your header might look:
resume-header-example

Then, at the bottom of the resume, provide your current address. This is a psychological strategy that gives the employer an opportunity to be impressed first by your qualifications before seeing how far your cross country trek might be. Here’s what the footer would look like:

resume-header-template

Another strategy is to use a header that provides your name, telephone number, and e-mail address and then omit the rest of your address entirely from the resume. The employer might wonder whether you live in the next county or nine states away. However, by doing this, you might earn a preliminary telephone interview instead of being peremptorily dismissed because of distance.

resume-header-sample

Use two addresses: your current address and a “message” address

The message address can be the address of a friend, fiancé, or family member in the area you will be moving to. If you don’t have a contact in the new area, hire a service to do the job, such as Postal Annex or Mailboxes Etc. Try to avoid a post office box number. It’s unlikely that employers will contact you via snail mail for an interview. Unfortunately, this mode of communication is typically reserved for letters that say, “Thanks for your interest. We’ll be keeping your resume on file” Nonetheless, use an address in your target area. It will give employers the impression that you’re serious about your relocation effort and that you have some immediate connections within the community.

In the next example, note the words current address and relocating mo/yr (use the actual dates) to explain both addresses.

resume-header-samples

Include a telephone number

If you don’t use an 800 number, do include a telephone number that gives employers the option of making a local call to leave you a message.

The message number can be the telephone of a friend or family member in your target area. It will negate your efforts if an employer calls for you and hears, “There’s no one here by that name. You’ve got the wrong number”. Also, make sure you have some system for messages to be immediately relayed to you. The goal is to promote, rather than prevent, accessibility.

Now that you’ve got your contact information formatted, it’s time to move on to the next step in your resume format.