The Career Coach: Moving for a New Job?

April 18, 2012 |

U.S. map


I was reading an article or blog post of yours a while back, and was wondering what would be the best approach for looking for employment on the East Coast? I am currently training to be a paralegal, have worked in the non-profit sector, and I am a Veteran of the United States Navy. I am currently living in the Kansas City area, and as my resume indicates, I’ve moved around over the years.

There is a lot of advice out there on whether to reveal on your resume where you currently live, if you are looking for work somewhere else. Some say to leave off every indicator including cities of where your employers have been, and to get a local or post office address. Some say that in this economy if you are from somewhere else, that your resume will be overlooked. I have a hard time believing that, considering that places like New York and DC have people moving there from all over the country if not the world. Please advise, and that includes any other suggestions you might have for a remote job search. My resumes are attached.

Thank you for your time.


Kansas City, MO

Dear Dana,

Welcome to the world of the geographically challenged job search. First the good news: there is a demand for the paralegal skill set in your geography of choice. Now the bad news: filtering based on location adds an extra layer of difficulty, but there are things you can do to enhance your chances. I dedicate an entire chapter to this subject in my book, but here is the short version. First, rather than the broad target of “East Coast” I suggest you pick one or two, maybe three specific cities. You mention NYC and DC, so maybe start with those. Second, here are three approaches: one, live there; two, act like you live there; three, temporarily live there.

The first is the best, but probably also the hardest to do. Do you have friends or family in those cities that would take you in as a house guest for a couple of months? If so, make the move, change the contact info on your resume, and present yourself to local employers as a local candidate. If you lack the F & F to do that, or making that move is not practical, then act like you live there. Your best bet is to modify your resume to show an address and phone number linked to the target city. Perhaps F & F can help you there. Regardless, remove any references to KC from your resume (address, area code, zip code).

Caution: even if this works, it creates a problem: because the employer thinks you are a local candidate, they might want to interview you tomorrow—can you pull that off? The third approach is a combo of the first two. Plan a one or two week visit to the target city, put it on your calendar, and advertise to all potential employers in a cover letter that although your resume shows you living in KC, you WILL BE IN THEIR BACKYARD during the first half of June and are available to come in for an interview at no expense to them.

Good luck and good hunting!

Tom Wolfe
Author, Columnist, Career Coach, Veteran

If you have questions, general or specific, about getting started in a civilian career, email them to Tom at, and we’ll feature his answers in this blog.

Tom Wolfe is an author, columnist, career coach, veteran, and an expert in the field of military-to-civilian career transition. During his career he assisted thousands of service members in their searches for employment, placing more than 3000 in their new jobs. Prior to civilian life, he graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer. He teaches transition courses, gives seminars on career and job change, writes about the career transition process, and continues to counsel current and former military personnel. His book, Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transitionwas published by Potomac Books in 2011.

OUT OF UNIFORM: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition

Tom Wolfe, Career Coach

About Ho Lin

Ho Lin is an editor at His interests include naval history, the New York football Giants, and loud rock music.