Sunday, January 8, 2012

411 Awesome St, Big City America

I feel that after nearly 8 months of interning, job hunting, interviewing, and generally freaking out about what to do with my life, I've become well-versed enough in this process to offer a bit of unsolicited advice. So here goes.

Location, location, location.
When applying for jobs, think about your address. This might seem like the most basic and simple item to add to a resume – duh, goes right with your email and your phone number – but the address is actually a tricksy little devil. Because if you want a job in a particular city, it helps if your resume shows that you live in that city.

This is true for several reasons.

Firstly, potential employers want accessibility. They want the freedom to think, 'Hey, I like this candidate. I really want to interview her next week.' And then they want to to actually interview her next week. They don't want to think, 'Hey, I like this candidate, I really want to interview her...oh wait she lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I'm in Chicago. Phone interviews will only go so far. Next.'

Even worse: a potential employer in, say, Grand Rapids, MI, likes a particular candidate who he knows attends a nearby college, only to discover that the candidate's resume lists her as living in, let's say, Montana, but only because she's currently studying abroad in, oh I dunno, Scotland.

Yeah. If employers aren't too crazy about phone interviews, then I'm sure Skype interviews will just really dazzle them.  All that newfangled technology and stuff.

This brings me to my second point.

Phone interviews will only go so far.
Yes, phone (and occasionally Skype) interviews are often a crucial step along the yay-I-finally-have-something-that-will-get-me-off-the-couch road.  However, rarely will someone hire you based solely on a phone interview. If that happened for you, then congratulations – you must have really blown them away! (Good job, Sis and Laynsy!)

Fact of the matter is, though, most employers prefer in-person interviews in addition to those phone interviews. And some employers are pretty picky about this. Even if you have the qualifications and the zeal and drive and a completely stable Scottish Internet connection, some employers will simply refuse to hire you unless you can meet in person.

Which means, it would help if your resume shows that you live in reasonable proximity to the job you want.

This brings me back to my first point, which bears re-emphasizing:

Why should an employer in DC hire someone from Montana when they have reams of other outstanding resumes whose owners all live closer?

Or, as my boss put it, "In this economy, everyone's looking for jobs. I might as well give this one to someone here who needs it. Then I can actually meet the person and make an appropriate determination."

Fair? Maybe not. That's life? Yes, get used to it.

Ah, I see that questioning expression on your face. You've discovered a flaw in my advice  "Aftan," you say, "I want this job in Chicago, but there's the slight problem that I don't actually live in Chicago. I live in Tulsa, OK."

My first response: Why do you live in Tulsa. Why.

My second response: Allow me to introduce you to...THE LOOPHOLE. (Imagine this word with little swirlies and sparkles and glitter around it, and maybe flashing in different rotating colors and stuff.)

Here's the loophole.  Find a friend who lives in that city. (This would be an opportune time to use your network.) With the friend's permission, use his or her address as yours. BAM. Problem solved. I've farmed my DC address (411 Awesome St, in case you were wondering) out to at least half a dozen people so far.

[You must be nice to your address farmer. What if a potential job sends us some mail for you? We like flowers and dark chocolate. Wink wink.]

Now, the potential problem here is what to do once your new (and very fake) address DOES grant you an interview. In that case, you must make a decision. Will you continue the ruse, bite the bullet and fly (or drive a loooong time) to the interview? Live on a couch or a floor with a friend or crash in a hostel for a few days while you wrap up the process? Or will you decline, decide that you just can't make it to the interview?

It's completely your decision. But it's a high-risk-high-reward strategy, and I think it's worth it.

Some might say it's also like your life becomes a giant game of chicken, or Russian roulette. But hey, who said those weren't fun?

Editor's note: Address farmers also like yummy beer. :)


  1. I enjoy living your adventure through the blog :) love and hugs!

  2. Wonderful advice! And thanks for the congrats and the address; dark chocolate or yummy beer will surely be in your future. :)


Hey guys! I'd love to have your feedback, so if you liked it, loved it, hated it, I want to know. Actually, if you hated it then don't bother. If you have to publish your comment as "Anonymous", please just type your name at the end of your message. Cheers!