How to get a tech job in a different city

April 15, 2016

So you want to move to a different city. But you don’t want to move before first securing a job in the new city. That makes sense. But how do you actually do it?

I’ve had to do this, too. Let me share with you how exactly I accomplished this and lessons I learned from the experience:

1. Don’t focus your effort applying online, on job sites

If you were planing on going on companies’ job sites and apply there, don’t start your effort there. Why? Because companies receive your application and see that you’re in a different city, many will assume you applied by mistake.

You’ll have a higher chance of getting rejected applying this way.

2. Research the local market rate (salary)

Understand what the market rate is for your role and experience level. Your market rate will differ from city to city. Have a salary realistic expectation in mind when you’re speaking with companies or recruiters. Asking for the right number is crucial for your application:

If you ask for too low, companies may think you’re less experienced than you actually are.

If you ask for too high, companies may reject your application because they think they can’t afford you.

Few websites to help you:

3. Get in touch with local recruiters – over the PHONE

  • Call local recruiting firms – yes, over the phone.
  • Tell them you’re looking to relocate.
  • DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR RESUME ONLINE before speaking to them.

Some of the great recruiting firms who have been SUPER helpful:

4. Don’t rely on referrals

Recruiters do NOT like to share your profile with other recruiters – because they want to be the person to get you a job and get the commission payout.

For example, let’s say Mega Recruiting Corp (fictional) has multiple offices all across the U.S. and you know Bob from the LA office. If you call Bob and tell him you’re looking to move to Seattle and you’re interested in jobs in Seattle, it is in Bob’s best interest to try to get you to interview in LA. Most likely, Bob won’t try to refer you to anyone in the Seattle office – even if he says he will. What he will try, however, is to try to sell you awesome-sounding jobs in LA and try to get you to interview there.

That’s why you call the local offices directly.

5. Be prepared for these questions

  • Why do you want to move to [new city]?
  • How soon can you relocate to [new city] after receiving a job offer?
  • What’s your salary expectation for jobs in [new city]?
  • Do you need companies to pay for your relocation expenses?
  • Do you need companies to pay for you to travel here for interviews?

Good luck with your job search!

Ryan Harijanto

Head of Engineering. Former Sr. Engineer @Netflix , @HotelTonight , @Shutterstock. Previously a Senior Systems Engineer at Netflix, currently technology advisor and board member for emerging companies. Diverse technological knowledge and understanding of various industries.

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