I often work with candidates who want to move to a specific city, but they don’t want to relocate until they have landed a job.

And therein lies the rub.

In any market, and especially in a down market, securing a position in another location is very challenging.

Why? Several reasons spring to mind.

  1. It’s all about the Benjamins. Organizations don’t necessarily have money lying around to pay for a flight/hotel for out-of-town candidates. If they do have the budget to fly candidates in, they usually reserve these funds for senior positions.
  2. It’s a pain in the you-know-what. It’s easy for a DC-based nonprofit to arrange for an interview with someone who lives across the moat in Arlington. But try arranging it for someone who lives across two time zones in Spokane.
  3. It’s a matter of time. If organizations need to make a quick hire, they are going to start by looking in their backyards. Sometimes they just don’t have the luxury of expanding geographic options.woody-allen

Ok, Claire. I smell what you’re steppin’ in. So what’s your point?

My point is that landing a job in a city is worlds easier when you are actually there.

A friend of mine learned this first-hand. After long-distance job searching for quite a while, he decided to take the plunge and move to the city where he wanted a job. He enjoyed many glorious nights in discount hotels and hauled around his entire life in two Fiat-sized suitcases, but he landed a gig.

He later summed it up to me this way (and threw in the Woody Allen quote for good measure):

“ ‘80% of success is just showing up.’ And it’s so much easier showing up for interviews if it doesn’t involve flying!”