by Dustin Nelson
I’ve been no stranger to change this last year. My two biggest changes were graduating from college, and trading a small Montana town for Portland, Oregon.
Anyone who has graduated from college can probably attest to the fact that trying not to fail your last semester of college, while also navigating your first grown-up job search is no small task. Trying to move to another state for said job adds to the overwhelming sensation of tug of war over your impending future.
Luckily, in our modern age, the marvels of the internet allow us to project ourselves into a conference room hundreds or even thousands of miles away via Skype and other video conferencing software. However, there are still several factors to consider when searching for a job or internship out of state. Which is why I now bring you, 7 Tips for Landing an Out-of-State Job.
1.) Be Open Minded
It’s easy to get tunnel vision when thinking about the future, but don’t let it happen. It’s important to be willing to say “yes” to opportunities and career paths you may not have considered. In the modern world of communications, it’s difficult to know exactly what communications and public relations jobs entail. Trust that your job may evolve and that you may be best for something you never considered.
2.) Do Your Homework
This is essential. When communicating from far away, the company you are interested in working for needs to know how badly you want it. Research the company so that when the time comes for an interview you can answer the questions in the context of the specific work that company does. It also doesn’t hurt to take notes on potential interview questions beforehand.
3.) Show Your Personality
From first contact, through the last interview, be yourself. I know it’s a cliche, but seriously, do it. Your credentials will speak for themselves and as long as being yourself is the best, most professional version of yourself you’re going to fare much better than just trying to be what you think they want. Most professional jobs and internships require close contact with co-workers and it’s crucial that they like you as a person, not just for the work you do.
4.) Be Available
When looking for a job from afar, staying in contact is key. Companies have a lot of candidates to screen, many of which they are meeting in person. You cannot run the risk of being invisible. Check back early and often. If they send you an email, respond as quickly as humanly possible. And let’s be honest, in the age of the smart phone, there’s no excuse.
5.) Shine in a Video Interview
It’s likely that as a poor college student you won’t be able to travel for an interview. No problem! Skype to the rescue. However, the video interview presents a new set of challenges. Energy and “vibes” are very real, and they’re much easier to communicate in person. Smile and dress the way you would if the interview was in person, this helps keep you in the right mindset for the interview. Just because you don’t have to wear pants, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I’m not kidding, put on pants. Preferably nice ones.
6.) Bring Something New to the Table
In a professional field, most of the candidates for a job have the same qualifications. It’s important to remember that the things that make you different, the skills that may not seem to apply to this job, may actually land you the position. It’s important to find how all of your skills are applicable. For example, I have a background in journalism with a strong focus on writing and editing as well as some event planning experience. When applying for public relations positions, my writing and editing skills were what I sold. These different skills are what set me apart and landed me my job at AM:PM PR.
7.) Have Confidence
This seems like a no-brainer, but there’s a reason the term “fake it till you make it” exists. However, faking will only get you so far. The bottom line is that if you know you’re right for the job, then you are right for the job. If you know it, make sure your future employer knows it.