How to Mention Relocation in a Cover Letter
When you are planning on relocating, how you handle this conversation in your cover letter can be tricky. For low and mid-level positions, where there may be many local qualified applicants, you can risk being screened out if you submit documents with an out of the area address.
Candidates for senior positions or applicants for jobs with a shortage of qualified candidates will have a better chance of being considered for a job in a different location.
Employers will be more likely to consider someone who is already going to be in the area, though, so they don't have to deal with the logistics and expense of moving a new hire.
However, if you phrase your cover letter correctly you can get your application considered by prospective employers, even if you currently live outside of their region. First of all, keep the focus on your qualifications for the job rather than on where you live. Secondly, make it very clear that you are planning a move to the new location. Finally – if your budget allows – you can mention that you are more than happy to travel, at your own cost, to their campus or office for a personal interview, and that you also plan to be responsible for your own moving expenses.
Note: You will find career counselors who advise omitting your physical address on your resume and cover letter entirely, both because this may lessen your chances of consideration and because of potential identity theft.
However, many hiring managers will still perceive such an omission as a “red flag,” wondering why you have omitted your address even as they note that the latest job mentioned on your resume is located 1,000 miles away from them. Until omitting physical addresses on professional resumes becomes commonplace, it’s probably best to be upfront and explain your current address and relocation plans.
How to Mention Relocation in Your Cover Letter
You typically will benefit from directly addressing the fact that you are moving in your cover letters. This will make it clear that you are not applying just as a way to get to the new location. However, your main rationale for applying for any job should be the nature of the work, followed by the appeal of the organization. So, while you may decide to mention your relocation in either your first or final cover letter paragraph, a statement that addresses your interest in the job itself should precede any reference to the fact that you're relocating.
Option 1: Mention it at the Beginning of Your Letter
This type of statement can be included early in the first paragraph of a cover letter.
Example: "It was with much excitement that I learned of Maximum Communications’ search for an Associate Marketing Coordinator. I am highly interested in consideration for this position, since it would enable me to apply my project management skills and also would tap my passion for event planning.
The recent trajectory of growth at Maximum Communications, including your latest addition of Pepsina as a client, further stimulated my interest in applying for this position.
My wife and I are planning to relocate (or, even better, “are in the process of relocating”) within the next two months to the Seattle area to be closer to her family, so the timing of this job opening is ideal.”
Option 2: Mention it at the End of Your Letter
Perhaps the best way, however, to address relocation is to incorporate a statement in a final paragraph which mentions traveling to the area. This a) allows you to focus on the job and your qualifications themselves at the beginning of the letter; and b) gives you more time to make it clear that the employer wouldn't be responsible for your travel costs, moving costs, or any other expenses.
As mentioned above, organizations usually expect to fund travel and bring in candidates from outside locations to interview for senior and hard to fill positions.
However, for more entry level jobs there may be a preference for local candidates.
Example: "I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this position. I will be traveling to Seattle for a conference (or to find an apartment or to network with local college alumni) in two weeks and would be available to meet at that time. However, I would also be glad to travel, at my own expense, for an interview at your convenience. Please know that I also have resources in place that would allow me to relocate and begin work immediately upon hiring. Thank you for your time, consideration, and forthcoming response.”
Tips for Job Hunting When You're Moving
Need help with your job search when you're planning a move?
These top 10 tips for finding a job in a new city will help you get started.
More: Job Search Tips for When You Want to Relocate
Here are some tips to help you in the job hunt if you're a trailing spouse.
Ask your current boss about telecommuting or working in a different office. You may be surprised at the response. If your job is something that is done sitting in front a computer for most of the day, your boss may be happy to keep you on board, even if you move a time zone away. If that's not a practical long term solution, you can also volunteer to telecommute for 3 months to help them while they find someone new to replace you. It's a win-win situation, as you have an income while you look for a new job, and they get a smooth transition.
Ask your spouse's company for help. Lots of companies have spousal relocation assistance, and some companies that don't will be happy to help you anyway. They want you to be happy because an unhappy spouse means that their employee will be less likely to be happy with the move (and they need your spouse to be productive). Some bigger companies will even give you priority if they have a position that fits your skills. (Generally, this only applies for big companies because they don't want you and your spouse working in the same department, or supervising each other.)
Network! This seems really hard when you're moving someplace new. You don't know anyone local! Well, of course you do. You know your real estate agent, your new neighbors, the people at your new church, and the people back home. Society is quite mobile. Just because you met someone in California, it doesn't mean they don't know someone who is hiring in Ohio. Keep talking to people.
Be honest -- but not too forthcoming. The problem with looking for a job as a trailing spouse is that title means that you've put your spouse's career as the priority. There is nothing wrong with this -- and two career couples often have to make a decision over which person's career is going to have priority. There is some fear that if you state in your cover letter, "We transferred here with my wife's job," that they may think, "Uh, oh, and will he quit in 2 years when his wife gets transferred again?" On the other hand, not having a job because you relocated with a spouse's job is seen far more favorably than "I relocated because I thought, 'I've always wanted to live in Cleveland!'" So, you need to balance that out, and have an answer as to "What brought you to Cleveland?"
Give yourself some time. Even though the job market is improving, it will take time to find a new job. Go into the search with that in mind. It's a lot less stressful if you've given yourself a realistic time line. Also, be realistic in what is available. If you're career has been in a specialized field that isn't popular in your new town, you may have to adjust your expectations and even your career goals.
Start now. You don't have to wait until you've shown up in the new town to start looking. Start looking as soon as you've agreed to move. Include the explanation that you'll be moving at the end of March in your cover letters so that the recruiters aren't freaked out by your out of state email address. Put your cell phone number down as your contact number because that can come with you. (And if it can't, get a new cell phone plan immediately so that you don't lose out on opportunities because of a disconnected phone number. Yes, most contacts will be initially via email, but don't take that risk.)