LILY GARCIA: How to Deal

Lily Garcia: Have opportunity? Will travel.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Adapted from a recent online discussion with career advice columnist Lily Garcia.

Midwest -- for now: After a couple of years it seems like things are finally starting to pick up in my industry in a part of the country I am interested in possibly moving to (and where I may eventually going to grad school). The only problem is that I live a four-plus-hour plane ride away.

I have started to apply for jobs but I am wondering how to handle the possible interview process. Should I offer to do a phone interview before an in-person interview? Should I set up a trip ahead of time and include that in my cover letter when I apply for jobs?

I am okay with paying my own travel expenses, but I don't want to pay for multiple trips and not get a job. I also am willing to pay for my own relocation, but I don't know if I should tell a company that upfront during the interview. I don't want the fact that I live out of state to disqualify me for a job, but I also feel like I have to be careful about the amount of time and money I invest in the interview process, especially since I will still have to fund a cross-country move.

I know that moving now and looking for a job when I get there would be ideal, but I cant really afford to take that chance.

Lily Garcia: It is not unusual for employers to narrow the field of applicants based upon such factors as willingness to relocate. Most employers will happily grant out-of-area applicants an initial phone interview and then work around the travel cost issues if they are interested in moving forward.

In the meantime, if you have not done so already, I recommend that you clearly indicate in your cover letter that you are willing to relocate for the position. It would also enhance your application to mention plans to visit the area for several days in the near future.

This will not only highlight your interest in relocating to the area, but it will also create opportunities for in-person meetings.

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