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Going the Distance

 

STEP 1 - YOU & YOUR FAMILY

SET SOME PRIORITIES

The last thing you want is to move from the frying pan to the fire. Before you move, take some time to identify what kind of employment and personal life you want. Make sure you include others like your family who could be moving with you (or living apart from you) in the decision. What are the options you prepared to consider and for how long? There are different work and living arrangements that people have found worked for them. For example, you might choose live apart from your family for a time until you are sure things are going to work out. Or you may decide to have households in two communities and commute every few weeks. The key is to identify what you prefer, what you can live with, and what you will absolutely not consider.

PLAN ON A TARGETED JOB SEARCH

Figure out ahead of time what type of work are you looking for and what skills and assets you have for this type of work. In a distance job search, it is critical to have specific targets in mind because you often have only one chance to make an impression that will stand out from the local talent. Not sure what kind of work to get into?  Check out NIEFS Career Research pages.                

MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED

You may not be able to put together a complete list of what you need to make this move to find work until you've done more research abroad. But, start with what you know - what you know you'll need, that is.

Figure out what qualifications you will need to present to employers. You may need to consider upgrading or refreshing some of your qualifications or meeting inter-provincial standards. You may not have all the bits an employer is looking for - connect with a NIEFS Case Manager for more information about training and financial supports.

 WHAT ABOUT MONEY?

How much do you need to help you conduct a long distance job search. And what costs will be involved in moving and living in another community. There are lots of free budget calculators available online to help you plan.  

STEP 2 - RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION

Getting the lay of the land can make your job search and move much easier. The more you learn about what's happening in your destination regarding employment, the more prepared you'll be to jump on opportunities occurring out there. The Internet is truly wonderful for this type of research. But again, there is no substitute for a real live contact (who either has a job lead or is living where you want to be).

Do you have friends, relatives, or co-workers who now live where you are thinking of moving to? Let them know your plans and make sure they have copies of your resume. If you don't know anyone, then the Internet is a good place to start your research. Three things to check out when doing your long distance job search and/or determining where to move to:

1. Employer base

  • Try to find out who's who and who's hiring in your field and how to contact them. Most companies have websites that you can check out for this kind of information. The main idea is to get the name of the person who does the hiring and might be interested in hearing what you have to offer them - just like doing a regular job search.

2. Industry trends

  • This has to do with what's happening in a community's economy. Some industries and the communities that rely on them are really subject to what's called a "Boom & Bust" Economy. The oil sector in Alberta is a good example of this. It has economic highs and lows as big as Mount Everest and the Grand Canyon. When you are in a "Boom" economy, everyone forgets that the "Bust" is coming. And when it comes, for some regions, it ends up not just affecting that industry but all the other businesses and services that support it.

  • It is important to follow the trends in your field in other places to avoid getting caught in a bust. This is an extreme kind of business cycle, but every industry has it's own set of cycles and trends. It pays to pay attention to them. 

  • Check out NIEFS Labour Market links for more information.    

3. The Community itself             

  • You will need a place to stay or live, a way to get there and get around, and perhaps, something to do, besides work. You can save a lot of time and unhappiness by locating a place to live and becoming familiar with transportation and things available in the community ahead of time. In some places where the economy is hot, finding a place to live is more challenging than finding work. Again, start with who you know who has been there and done that.   

 

STEP 3 - GET YOUR TOOLS READY

Refresh your resume, dust off your certificates, and call up your references - or is that call up your resume, refresh your certificates, and dust off your references. Whatever, you are going to need them all polished and ready to go - possibly even before or while you are doing your research in step 2. While the electronic age is great for doing a distance job search, it has also increased employers' expectations that you can have your resume to them in the speed of light.

To polish up your resume and job search skills - check out NIEFS Job Search section.

 

STEP 4 - MAKING CONTACTS

This can be one of the most challenging steps people encounter when looking for work and yet, it is the number one most effective way of finding work either at home or away. What adds to the challenge is that doing a long distance job search makes it harder to establish a personal connection with an employer. Your arsenal includes the Net, phone, fax, email.

Here's a good process to follow when making contacts:

Tell everyone you know you are looking for work (what kind and where) and ask them if they know anyone who might have a lead for you. Ask them if you can use their name or if they can arrange an introduction.

Next, ask anyone else you talk to on that list or anyone you talk to period, who else might be good for you to contact about work and so on, and so on, and so on…Repeat until you find work.

If you run out of leads above, it's time to make some cold calls.
Refer to your list of employers you used earlier in researching the employer base and identify those you want to work for.
Contact the powers that be of those companies with an email/letter of introduction. You can include your resume then or you can tell them you will call them to find out what is the best way to get a resume to them. 

Phone the contact after to make sure they received your email and resume. Be prepared to be interviewed over the phone, but don't expect it. Ask about future opportunities and  what kinds of qualifications they would be looking for?     
Ask if they would like to spend more time reviewing your qualifications either by phone or in person? Arrange a convenient time to call back or if in person, let them know when you will be in town and try to set up an appointment.
Repeat until you find work.

 

STEP 5 - MAKE YOUR MOVE

You've figured out your plan, gathered your resources and got packed. Now it's decision time. Your anxiety level is less because of all this prior preparation and you know more about what you are getting into. Maybe you've even got some promising prospects for work.

If you've made the decision to move, take one last look at it from these angles:

1. Does it fit with your employment and personal goals?

2. Does it stand a good chance of paying off (covering your costs and meeting your financial needs)

3. Does it work for the others who are important your life?

4. What does your gut say about it - sleep on it?

A few last tips if you decide to go:

Save your receipts for travel, moving, costs of conductinga job search, and even living. You never know - they may come in handy at income tax time (for more details, talk to an accountant or check out Revenue Canada's website).

Leave a number where you can be reached daily because you never know when a job opportunity will come along, and inevitably it will come up when you're gone. To access your email account on any computer hooked up to the Internet, try this site: http://www.mail2web.com/

Bon Voyage and don't forget to write!