Don't Overshare, But Filter Yourself Into Consideration
Here's my question: Should I include that I'm "engaged" in the cover letter? Should I say I'll pay for my own move?
I differ from the previous answers which say one should never disclose one's motivations for switching jobs or looking in different regions for work. Employers are not entitled to your reasons for relocating, but there's something to be said for creating a human connection when interviewing. Some companies may see a given reason as a negative, but others may see it as a positive if it ties you to the region or job more closely. It's one of those "your mileage may vary" sorts of things.
However, there's a time and a place for everything, and the cover letter is not the place to share your life story—especially if it's a hard-luck story of some kind. However, one can make an argument for saying that you're planning to relocate to the city where you're applying, and that the presence or lack of a relocation package (something many employers don't want to negotiate anyway, especially for less senior employees) is not a primary consideration for you.
One should be judicious about this, as oversharing can come across poorly, and you may be leaving money on the table if the employer generally offers some form of relocation assistance. On the other hand, if the only reason you believe you're being filtered out is because you're not local, then changing your strategy is certainly in order.
You may also want to consider some other strategies where your impending move might be less of an issue:
- Reaching out to recruiters for the target area. Good recruiters can package you to potential employers, and can identify prequalified job opportunities that are a better fit.
- Looking at temp work or contract employment. Even if you don't make a career of it, contingent work can be a great fit for people in transition.
- Searching for jobs that explicitly offer a relocation package. Such employers are expecting that you currently live elsewhere.
- Moving anyway, and continuing your job search when you're local. Obviously this option depends on your financial situation and your living arrangements in the new city, but it certainly removes your current locale as a filtering consideration by potential employers.
People relocate for work and for personal reasons all the time. It can be done. You just have to find an effective job-search strategy that works for you.