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More and more, students are either coming from out of town to be a part of our immersive program, or are excited about the opportunity to relocate for a job after graduation. My job is to help all our students with their individual career goals, and I love being able to leverage my own and Lighthouse Labs’ extensive hiring network outside of Vancouver. If you are considering looking for work as a developer outside of your hometown, here are my tips for success:

1) Do your research and get connected remotely.

Learn about the city you want to relocate to, and do as much as possible to get in the loop before you relocate. Who are some of the large and growing companies that are constantly hiring? For example, in Vancouver these would be companies like Hootsuite and Mobify. Who are the organizations (accelerators, angel groups, co-working space, VC’s) in the startup scene? In Vancouver: Launch Academy, HIGHLINE, et cetera. What Meetups and other community events regularly happen (HackerNest, Ladies Learning Code)? Check out job boards for open positions, join LinkedIn groups, and sign up for newsletters from community leaders as they often post jobs for their members. Don’t be afraid to talk to recruiters too, as they are very connected and have a vested interested in helping you find a job!

2) Apply online, show your commitment, and know your timelines!

Employers are often skeptical about hiring from afar, as it is not uncommon for candidates to get cold feet, or worse; relocate and quickly quit because they realize they didn’t actually want to . Long timelines for relocating can also be a challenge when there is an immediate need to fill the position. When applying, make sure you re-iterate your desire to relocate and be upfront of how quick you can get there! If possible offer to start ASAP and arrange temporary accommodation (Airbnb, university dorms, and hostels are good options) and ask for a few days off after a few weeks to do your big move. This will give you some time to settle into your job and look for a place, which is much easier when you are actually there.

3) Prepare to physically go check out your new town!

When Lighthouse Labs students want to relocate to another city, I ask them to pick 4-5 business days to actually go to that city. For example, if they want to work as a developer in Victoria, I’ll first connect them with key people I know in the city. I’ll also encourage students to schedule as many meetings beforehand as they can, and attend as many industry events, Meetups, and speakers as possible while they are in town. The goal for these initial meetings is simply to lead to another connection you can follow up with later. If you can get a meeting with that next connection while you are still in town, even better! People who know people, “connectors,” are great contacts to make.

Finding a job is tough and takes work and time even when you live in the city! Be patient and good luck in the job hunt!

Want Char's help in taking your career as a developer to the next level? Apply now to Lighthouse Labs!

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