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I'm a US citizen trying to relocate to another part of the US. Right now, I'm using my current address on all my job applications and also my resume. I've read online that applying out-of-state can actually be a hindrance to you and that it's actually better to use a local address of a friend or relative in the area instead of your current one. However this was for jobs in general and not particular to software developer positions. How big of a deal is it that the candidate is out-of-state or not? Are there any special considerations for the software industry?

  • Only 1 in 8 members of my scrum team lived locally before working here. However, I think that's mostly a factor of the area I live in. Trying to relocate to, say, New York, is probably going to be much more difficult than relocating here to Alabama, just because of simple supply and demand. – Karl Bielefeldt Jul 15 '13 at 21:33
  • 'Jobs in general'? It's easier to get work in software than just about anything else. If you're trying to get an offer on day 1, this is the skill to offer. Get on LinkedIn and find an interest group in the area, post your bona fides, and make some connections. – Meredith Poor Jul 15 '13 at 23:42
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I've read online that applying out-of-state can actually be a hindrance to you and that it's actually better to use a local address of a friend or relative in the area instead of your current one.

This is not good advice. Just be honest, you'd be surprised how often honesty really is the best policy.

Just put in your cover letter that you are willing to relocate at your own expense if offered a position and give them a general idea of when you could become available for work after accepting an offer.

I think most technical hires start with a telephone or Skype interview, so your initial contac won't pose a problem. Once you've talked to them you can decide if you are willing to travel to an in person on your own dime.

  • Yes now that I think about it I think being honest is the best way. – Albinoswordfish Jul 16 '13 at 17:42
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I'd try a few other things first, before trying to get creative with my address. Your job history is certainly going to show that you worked in a different location, so hiding the fact that you are trying to move isn't going to be successful.

Things I'd try:

  • Clarify that you want to relocate in your cover letter and as a bullet at the top of the resume
  • Make sure that any online profiles show your eagerness to relocate.
  • Clarify with recruiters (repeatedly) when working with them.

You may also want to highlight anything you are wiling to do to relocate. While companies will pay a relocation cost when they are looking for skills they can't find locally, most won't bother to spring for the extra money if they can recruit from the local pool. So if you are willing to pay your own relocation, make that clear as well.

  • Yeah maybe I need to clarify more that I'm relocating and that I'm willing to pay for all my relocating costs. – Albinoswordfish Jul 16 '13 at 17:40
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I think that your question isn't about the software industry as a whole, but rather about the area of the country that you want to move to and the particular type of job that you want to get within the software industry. If your particular job within the software industry is one that has a lot of applicants, then it is more difficult for the company to justify the expense of a candidate who is not local. If your particular job has more specialized skills and thus fewer qualified applicants, or if you want to move to an area with many open positions, then it's harder for companies to fill the roles and thus they are more open to relocation. For example, roles working in support or the helpdesk are easier to fill than positions for kernel hacking. The latter is more likely to relocate the right candidate for their role, the former has their pick of local candidates.

Personally, as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, relocation often isn't an issue. Every company that I have worked at thus far has relocated people if they were the right person to do the job. When I consider candidates for positions on my team, I don't pay a lot of attention to their current location. I do take note if it appears that a particular candidate might need sponsorship to work in the US, but mostly as a flag that my HR team is going to have to do some extra legwork if we decide to hire that candidate. Judging by the resumes that cross my desk, my employer's recruitment team sends me the candidates that they think are the best fit for open positions, not just the candidates who are already local.

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Depending on the position, a lot of companies won't consider non-local candidates at all. On the other hand, if you have advanced / renowned / specialized skills they may be happy to fly you in and put you up in a nice hotel just for the interview.

You could look for job offerings that specifically mention a willingness to relocate candidates.

Go on-site at least once before accepting any offers. There are some things you just can't tell from skype.

Or if you're sure you know where you want to be, if at all possible, I would move first and look in person. If you can't afford to do that, try to schedule more than one on-site interview in the same city during the same week so you can check out multiple opportunities on a single trip.

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