Your Career Q&A: Landing a Job in a New City

By Martin Yate Mar 6, 2018
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​Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.    

I currently live in New York and am looking to relocate to Atlanta. I am a human resource administrator with a master's degree in human resource management. I work for a church where I started the HR department. We outsource payroll via Paychex. I am limited in what I do here on the job as it pertains to HR. My ideal job would be working under a HR director, learning as much as necessary. My question to you is what is the best way to approach the interview process? My resume states that I live in New York but I am applying in Atlanta. Should I leave my New York address and state somewhere on my resume that I am planning to relocate. I am not sure how to tailor my resume. Help! 

Anonymous 

Relocation is always a challenge. The fact that you are moving should be in your cover letter or e-mail, and not on your resume. Alternatively, you can leave employer locations out of the resume, and you could also consider getting a cell phone number with an Atlanta prefix. 

As your primary goal seems to be building your career in a major metropolitan area that's new to you, target jobs that will give you the easiest point of entry. Based on your input these would be churches, community organizations, nonprofits and other charitable organizations. You can apply to other types of employer, but these particular targets will allow you to bring both skills and "industry knowledge" to the table. 

Other suitable targets would be companies that view their customer base as a community where communication paramount to keeping repeat customers—and that includes an ever-increasing number of companies. 

Finding Potential Employers 

Identify all possible employers that fall into each of your identified categories by using industry sector lists, databases and directories of churches, non-profits, social impacts etc. Your local research library can give you guidance for resources in all these areas (every library system has a designated research library). Additionally, Hoovers.com, Jigsaw.com and similar sites will give you almost complete lists of employers, but you will have to pay; a month's membership is all you will need to develop a list of potential employers—far more effective than relying solely on job postings. 

You will probably need to customize your resume for each of these different sectors, so create a folder for each identified industry sector and collect half a dozen job postings for a specific target job in each sector. You can then identify what will need to be in the customized version of your resume sent to these types of organizations. Repeat for each of your industry sectors, and you will have a comprehensive list of all potential employers in your target geography and how your resume should be customized for each. 

Cross-reference your professional association and social media groups for potential connections who work or have worked at any identified companies. Look especially for people who hold titles one, two and three levels above yours, as these are the people who will hire you. 

Now, working sector by sector, approach each potential employer in each of the four ways I explain in Knock 'em Dead 2017: The Ultimate Job Search Guide (Adams Media, 2016).  Approach every employer in a particular sector as closely together so that, once you have one interview, you can contact everyone else a second time and suggest a meeting because you are "in town for an interview with a direct competitor and you'd hate to miss the opportunity." This way you can turn one interview into many. 

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.

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