Long-Distance Job Search Tips for Returning to WNY!
By Joe Stein
With the weather turning colder and the holidays already upon us, the thoughts of many ex-Western New Yorkers turn to “how can I return back home?” 2009 should be an especially busy holiday season as many who left Western New York for perceived “greener pastures” are now, due to our current national economy, longing for the relative stability of our area.
Performing a job search from a geographically distant area can be very challenging. A job search conducted from outside the area can have some interesting additional obstacles but is very doable for a savvy Job Seeker.
- Do your homework ahead of time. Determine what areas and companies you would like to focus on. Western New York tends to lag behind other areas in terms of Compensation, so use an online salary calculator to determine what the difference between your area and WNY is. Another point of research, during these economic times, is how mobile will you be to leave your current area. If you own a home, have a sense of how long homes in your area are taking to sell and can you afford the price they are going for. Make the determination of whether the move is doable prior to initiating your job search.
- Someone wishing to return to WNY should be prepared to cover the expenses of some or all of their relocation. Most WNY employers do not budget to assist individuals financially in their attempt to come back to the area. Anyone who has moved knows how expensive it is, especially when you are traveling a distance. If you plan on absorbing the cost of your relocation and are using an out-of-the area address, clearly state that in your Cover Letter. This needs to be very noticeable, as many Recruiters will quickly reject any Resumes from out-of-town applicants if no relocation is available.
- Do some research and determine what expenses from your job search are tax deductible. That will allow you to save receipts and claim the amount you are entitled to receive.
- If you plan on returning to WNY, then you should rekindle all of your networking contacts. This may be especially helpful in finding positions that have relocation available, as your network contacts may have inside information. Plan on making new networking contacts by contacting different organizations, such as the Chambers of Commerce, in the areas you are interested in. Either directly or through their website, most will be able to provide you valuable contact information and perhaps even job leads. If you are a college graduate, make sure you are a member of the Alumni Association. Colleges can provide valuable career services and job leads. Often, Hiring Managers will favor (either consciously or subconsciously) graduates of the same school were they attended. Plan to contact the state employment office in the area you desire, to determine what resources they may provide to assist you.
- Reach out to your family and friends who will probably be your hardest working ambassadors, as they attempt to bring you back home. Consider using a WNY residence from your personal network, especially if you are in a situation where you can quickly make it back to WNY for an interview. This will eliminate the aforementioned situation where a Job Seeker is immediately rejected based on their out-of-town address. At the interview, you can inform the Recruiter that you are from another area, seeking to rejoin WNY while letting them know of your plan to absorb the moving costs. You can go even a step further and remove the geographic references of your current and past employers.
- Consider using a staffing company. These companies may connect you with a desired area employer in either a “permanent” placement or in a temp-to-hire situation.
- In your interview, do not be afraid to play up all the wonderful things about WNY and how you want to return. WNYers love to hear about how great the area is and what better person to hear it from than someone who left and wants to come back. Emphasize whatever is truthful to you, such as the lifestyle, the people and your family. This will provide the Hiring Manager with a context as to why you desire to return. It will also help to dispel any concerns they may have that you will want to leave again in the future.
- For some Hiring Managers, securing someone from out-of-town can be very appealing. This is because there is often a perception that someone who has been outside the area carries with them some breadth of experience that someone who has been in WNY all of their life may not possess. The thought is, that this person may bring with them some different ideas gained from spending time in other organizations or geographic areas. A job seeker should speak highly of the experience they have gained, but avoid sounding like you have a level of arrogance or are bragging.
- The WNY area is becoming much more Internet orientated when it comes to posting employment opportunities. The wonderful part of WNYJOBS.com is that a person can be outside the area and search positions in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Chautauqua and Rochester. Review our website regularly (or have a friend or family member mail the paper to you) and consider posting your resume for Recruiters to read.
WNY loves to welcome back individuals who have left the area at some point in their lives. Doing a long-distance search can be challenging, but the end result of returning back home will make it well worth it. Stay diligent and be positive during your job search and surely you will be successful.