I want to move to a different country (also different continent) because my girlfriend will go to university there. Because the distance is quite large, I am wondering how I can explain my interest in a position at that location in the application.

Should I include this or any other reason in the application letter?

How should I handle any questions about the reason in an potential interview?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this would be my first job after university (except the work I did as a student in my field). Also I intend to go to Canada from Europe.

  • 1
    People reading a job application may want to know why you're leaving your present position. They want some reassurance that you aren't leaving because you messed up. But the issue isn't explaining why you want to go to a different country, it's explaining why you want to go to a different job.
    – user14026
    Mar 24, 2014 at 20:46
  • It's all pretty anecdotal but I have found people to react positively to such explanations (perhaps because it's easier to “classify” you as it were or shows you are serious about moving and staying there for some time or simply because it gives your letter a coherent story). Don't dwell on it at length or let people think it's the only reason you want to work for them and be careful with the terminology but I think it can help. How much people will ask and what you should say will depend on the country in which you are applying.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 25, 2014 at 5:32
  • @Annoyed: Please move that to be an answer!
    – Martin F
    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:44
  • How did you get on? Any tips looking back on this?
    – Rikki
    Mar 12, 2017 at 13:19
  • Only a cynical one: It doesn't matter as nobody wants to pay for relocation.
    – hirse
    Mar 12, 2017 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


From a purely employment perspective, I would recommend downplaying the "girlfriend" aspect of the move. While moving for family reasons is a perfectly suitable reasons for relocating, the term 'girlfriend' implies a sense of immaturity in the relationship, that 'fiance' or 'wife' wouldn't. First of all, I'd recommend using the term 'partner' when speaking about your girlfriend as purely terminologically it hints more towards stability than 'girlfriend'.

Furthermore, look at this from an employers perspective, regardless of your commitment to your relationship, when you say:

I am looking to move to Newtown to be with my girlfriend who is studying at Newtown University.

A few questions spring to mind:

  • How stable is this relationship?
  • If it goes sour will the applicant have a good enough support network to manage a break-up and working in a new environment?
  • Will the applicant stay in Newtown if something goes wrong?

While not all of these may be consciously thought or spoken about, these are the kinds of instability that might tip an employer in one direction or another.

What I'd recommend, is learning about the city/country you are moving to, and building a few other reasons for moving that you can speak about. Are there renowned professional communities in the area? No-one would question a technical person moving to Silicon Valley or an arts person moving to New York, even if they had the same motives as you. This also helps demonstrate a wider support network that would help in transitioning to a new city.

Also, if the country has a large community of speaks in your non-native tongue, you could also use this. For example, moving from the United States to Europe to practise or learn a new language.

This way if asked, you can honestly answer, like:

I am looking to move to Newtown to be with my partner who is studying at Newtown University. However, I've always been interested in programmer community in Newtown, and am hoping to improve my Esperanto.

By giving other reasons that attract you to the town you can help might allay any concerns of stability and risk the prospective employer might have about taking on an employee who would be moving a great distance.

  • Please don't take my question as an insult to your relationship, I was just purely talking from an employers perspective. Good luck with the move!
    – user9158
    Mar 24, 2014 at 22:49
  • 1
    Add "Study is a short term condition" to the questions list. What happens in 1, 2 or 3 years....
    – mattnz
    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:08
  • 1
    @hirse Makes sense. Also, please don't take my answer as any but how an employer may think. I hope you move goes really well and wish you both good luck :)
    – user9158
    Mar 26, 2014 at 10:44

The phrase you're looking for is "for family reasons". You can explain that you are looking to move to that location for family reasons and are interested in that company because (blah blah blah). We live in a pretty mobile world; two-body problems like this are not uncommon.

You don't have to say anything up front, though: the fact that you're applying for the job indicates your willingness to move to that location, and at that point in the process it doesn't matter whether that's "I'm willing to move there" or "I want to move there". I've seen plenty of applications from out-of-town candidates where nothing was said, and that didn't raise any red flags. To anybody other than the folks who handle visa sponsorships, 500 miles away is not really any different than 5000 miles away -- a move is a move.

  • "Family Reasons" is a very good way to put it - it sounds a lot better than 'for my girlfriend'. Regardless of how serious you are about this girl, it pays to sound more professional about the move.
    – Zibbobz
    Mar 25, 2014 at 16:12
  • Another thing is to stress that due to the "family reasons" you are already looking at a move to wherever the job is based, not moving for the job. This doesn't mean you can't still negotiate relocation as part of the deal, but shows you already have a commitment to the move. Mar 25, 2014 at 16:45

You don't have to include this information in a cover letter or in any part of your application if you don't feel comfortable doing so - but expect the question to come up in an interview at some point, and be ready to answer honestly and professionally.

As Monica said, "Family Reasons" is a good way to phrase it, and you do not need to explain your reasoning at all - if the employer never asks you, then you never have to tell them anything.

But if they do ask you, be honest, and be professional.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .