Moving On

By Lindsey Novak

July 21, 2014 5 min read

Q: I've wanted to move out of state all my life but always found excuses to not follow through. I was too attached to my family, friends and surroundings. Now I am ready to let go and start anew, but I want to be smart about it. I have a brave friend who chose a state, packed her things into her car, and moved without plans. I am not that brave. I am good at office management, with excellent organizational and administrative skills, regardless of the industry. How do I minimize my risk and ensure success?

A: Everyone has a different tolerance for risk, so don't worry that you are not so daring as your friend. To ensure a successful outcome from your move, Joslyn Osborn, recruiting director at Vaco Los Angeles, a direct hire and interim consultant placement firm, suggests taking charge of the process and completing these activities.

Contact people in your existing network, especially those well into their careers, and tell them of your plans to move and your desire for contacts in the new area. You never know whom people know, and they may know recruiters in your current area who are connected to recruiters nationwide. Conduct a Google search for recruiting firms by using the type of industry plus the desired city or state and the type of firm you would like. For example, "accounting recruiter Seattle," "health care recruiter Dallas," "advertising recruiter New York," etc. Contact the firms directly, and use your social skills to connect.

Recruiters appreciate connections that could help them fill openings, whether full-time or contract positions. Osborn says job candidates with mid- to senior-level career experience should consider contract-consulting jobs to break into the new area. A firm specializing in certain fields and industries can help place experienced professionals in local positions. As a new professional in the area, you may have to open yourself to opportunities that will at least get you in the door of a company. It will then be up to you to prove your worth.

Post a well-written, descriptive resume on Indeed, which is an online job board aggregator; Indeed pulls jobs from company websites, as well as from independent job boards. Make sure to use words classifying your level and range of experience in each position and industry so your resume will attract specialty and company in-house recruiters for appropriate jobs.

When applying directly on companies' websites, tailor your resume by using the specific words listed in the job's qualifications. Also, connect and maintain involvement with local alumni and professional associations and organizations, and attend their functions to get to know people. Stay active on all social media sites, as well. Your immediate goal is to build a new local network in the desired location. Keep in mind that building a network doesn't mean meeting people to ask for jobs. Networking is conversations and relationship building. If you are not comfortable with social business chatting, consider attending Toastmasters, a national organization to help people improve their speaking skills.

LinkedIn is an important tool when you use your entire resume to create a detailed profile. Osborn suggests using a functional resume style for changing careers rather than a straight chronological one. This allows a person to brand oneself in the headline. For example, "Public Relations" can lead into a secondary headline naming the industry and specific experience under the heading, such as "Restaurant Openings and Special Events."

Post status updates and relevant industry content, and join industry groups in the new area. An interim placement firm can also offer options, such as temporary consulting contracts. This is an entry into a company one might otherwise not have. The candidate can then show his or her value through the work product (which can be positive or negative, depending on the quality of the consultant).

Lindsey Novak's weekly column, "At Work," can be found at

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