Should I Say I’m Open to Relocation on My Resume?

May 19, 2020 | Resumes

A title graphic featuring a map with a red pushpin stuck in it and an alternate version of the article's title: "Handling Relocation on a Resume"

So you want a job in a different city… what city should you list on your resume? Here are some considerations if you want to say that you’re open to relocation on a resume.

By: Alexis Sicklick | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Are you looking for a job in a new city? Did you just move there, are you planning to move in the coming weeks, or are you just exploring your options? If you fall into any of these categories, this blog is for you!

We are here to debunk the theory that you need to say “Open to Relocation” on your resume if you are in fact open to relocation.

When recruiters view resumes, they need to quickly filter out candidates. That’s why one of the top three factors they search for in ATS systems is the candidate’s current location (also known as the candidate’s ability to physically come in on a daily basis).

The location is typically presented in a City, ST format in a resume’s header, and as it is at the top of the resume in immediate view, it has the power to greatly impact whether you move on to the next stage.

So, your location on your resume needs to be specific and accurate. And as it is scanned in ATS software just like other job-related keywords, you need it to match the city and state in the job posting if possible; just writing your old city and “Open to Relocation” on a resume likely won’t cut it. 

The choice seems obvious — include the city of the job as your location in the header. And that is in fact what you will do, in most cases. However, read on to see why there may be some discrepancies depending on your relocation situation.

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List the City of the Job as Your Location When:

You are 100% committed to living there.

If you have secured a home in a new city and will be moving within a week, this location is your true home base.

Recruiters want a limited amount of information with your location, but they need serious intent. They do not want to waste time on candidates who won’t actually be able to take the job after going through the entire interview process. So listing the city of the job as your location means you can and will accept an offer.

An image of a people loading items into a moving truck.

Already have a moving date set? You can safely list the location of the job on your resume.

If you feel that your resume will confuse a recruiter because all the jobs are in a different city, use your cover letter to explain your relocation situation further. Cover letters can describe any circumstances that aren’t obvious from your resume, including the fact that you have a date for moving to this new city.

Bonus points if the new city is your hometown — recruiters see that as a guarantee of a move as it holds more clout than a potentially random place.

You don’t want to be passed over because you weren’t clear about where you live. Make certain they know that you will actually live there when the time comes or will definitely move when offered the job — the choice may be between you and another candidate with the exact same qualifications who already lives in that city.  

And be sure your resume is as dynamic and impressive as possible; intrigue the recruiter with your credentials. When relocation might give you the short end of the stick in this scenario, take charge of what you can control: giving the best representation of your career with tangible accomplishments and powerful language.

DO NOT List the City of the Job As Your Location When:

You are not 100% committed to living in that city.

In your mind, it might seem harmless to list the city of the job as your location even if it’s not yet the case. You tell yourself “a little white lie never hurt anybody,” plus all it will do here is get you through the ATS, right?

WRONG. It could hurt you! And it will hurt your employer down the road if they find out you misled them! So you have to be mindful.

For the same reasons as above, you want to be clear about your intent to move to the city. What if you were asked to come for an interview in New York in just a few days but are still living in Hawaii? There is no easy way for you to get there without spending hundreds of dollars that most likely will not be covered by the company.

Or what if you can physically come in for the interview from a different city, you make it through and get the job offer, and then you decide not to actually move or cannot follow through? By treating the employer with such disrespect, you give yourself a poor reputation, potentially even blacklisting yourself (everyone is connected somehow — don’t take an unnecessary risk).

So don’t be dishonest. Instead, just list your current city and describe your circumstances on your cover letter and you will be fine; it is just as important as the resume.

Plus, here’s a pro-tip: You can still beat the ATS while remaining honest about your current location. Next to your current location in the header, list (*Applying to [City, ST]) with the city and state of the job posting, like this:

An example of a header on a resume with (Applying to Denver, CO) listed next to the applicant's current location, demonstrating one of the correct alternatives to listing

This ensures that the ATS will pick up the location of the job and shows that you’re intending to live there without implying that you already do!

Some Other Location Thoughts

What about on LinkedIn?

Like ATS’s for resumes, LinkedIn also has search filters, so recruiters can and do perform searches for local candidates. You’ll want to include the city of the job as your location — but as we already said, only when you’re 100% certain you’re moving there.

However, if you haven’t moved yet or are not set on living in that city, AND you can be open about your job search, place the potential city in your summary or headline. This way, you will still be included in search results for candidates in that city.

What about remote jobs?

While recruiters do not care much about the location in this scenario, you need to make certain you emphasize that you are looking for a remote position so you do not get miscategorized. You should also describe why remote work suits you or why you excel in this type of environment in your cover letter and LinkedIn. They need to understand why they should consider you for this type of role and not an in-person job, even if you have the credentials they want.

 

Location, location, location — just like in real estate, it matters on your resume. It may seem like a simple, tiny detail, but it can be the essential tiebreaker. Plus, it requires basically no work! So treat it with as much importance as every other key aspect of your resume, and you will be on track to land the right job.

Wondering if you listed the right location on your resume? Curious how the rest of your resume stacks up against the competition? Create a free account in 10 seconds to receive a free Career Score from our business writing experts!