How to Address Relocation Issues in a Cover Letter

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Recruiters for many large organizations specifically look for applicants willing to relocate throughout their career. Using your cover letter to convey your interest in relocation is an effective way to identify yourself as a candidate most suited for jobs that require you to move. Likewise, if you're unable to relocate or have limitations on the areas where you're willing to relocate, it can further streamline the recruitment process through enabling the recruiter or hiring manager to determine the positions for which you should be considered based on your location preferences.

Describe the reasons why you're not open to relocation if the job posting lists a number of different locations. While you may have limitations based on personal or family obligations, you don't need to include those in your cover letter. Simply state: "I'm unable to relocate at this time. Therefore, I'm interested only in local positions." A succinct statement resolves any questions about whether you're willing to move for a job. Recruiters will appreciate your directness when they screen applicants based on their ability to relocate.

Describe your work experience in other U.S. cities or global destinations if you are open to relocation anywhere. State your availability to transfer or relocate for advancement purposes, as well as whether you're interested in short-term or long-term assignments. Adding comments about your work in other geographic locations -- particularly foreign countries if you're applying to a multinational company -- could convince recruiters or hiring managers how easily you can adapt to new surroundings.

List the foreign languages you're fluent in and your willingness to relocate to areas where your language skills would be most useful to the organization. For instance, say "In addition to English, I speak Castilian and Latin American dialects of Spanish, as well as French and Italian. Given my language skills, I'm very interested in positions in the Caribbean, Latin America or Europe." Research characteristics employers seek in candidates most suitable for expatriate assignments and integrate those in a paragraph about your competencies and professional traits. In an article titled, "Finding the Ideal Expatriate," the online journal Expatica summarizes research about suitable traits in expatriate workers, such as extraversion, cultural sensitivity and adaptability.

State the geographic locations in which you are most interested in the second-to-last paragraph in your cover letter. For example, write: "I am open to relocation anywhere in the northwest United States. My past work experience in that geographic locale is extensive, and I've maintained business relationships with many of my colleagues in that area. Reconnecting with members of my professional network in that region would be a tremendous benefit to your company's sales department." In this statement, you indicate your preferred area and what the company stands to gain from relocating you to that region.

Explain why you've applied to several positions outside your current location. Many employers use applicant tracking systems to streamline the recruitment and selection process. When recruiters cull their systems for candidates in certain locations, your application could show up for numerous positions in different locations. Don't make the recruiter wonder if you've made a mistake in applying to various positions outside your current area. Use your cover letter to list other positions in which you have an interest and that you're open to relocation to receive consideration for those positions.

Restate the job posting qualifications related to relocation. Some positions require candidates who are mobile and willing to relocate to advance their careers. Include a statement in your cover letter that shows you read the job posting thoroughly and that you're open to relocation to build your career.

Use your cover letter to disclose whether you're independent or if you have dependents who would travel with you, provided you're familiar with the type of expatriate assignments the company has available and the terms of those assignments. Some employers might base their selections for overseas assignments on whether the company would have to move an entire family. While marital or dependent status wouldn't normally be a part of the selection process, the expatriate assignments for which you might be considered may depend on whether the company needs only to transfer and seek a visa for you or if the company needs to move your entire family and seek a visa for your spouse as well.

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