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Relocating: The Long-Distance Job Search

Conducting a long-distance job search will differ based on your experience, your desired location, your connections to the area, and your career goals. As you think about different areas, consider targeting a few cities or regions rather than many, which will help you to focus your time and yield better results.

There are surprising similarities among opportunities across major cities, both in the private and public sector. Some initial research will help you to identify these opportunities. For example if you are interested in local government work, an internet search of "city government" and "Chicago" will bring you to an official city website. From here, you can link to local government agencies, many containing detailed job opportunity information. The website PSJD also includes public interest and government positions, as well as information about alternate funding sources. The website Idealist is similar. You also may wish to look at USAJOBS for openings in federal agencies in the area.

As you research opportunities in other cities, reach out to alumni of both YLS and your undergraduate school to inquire about the local legal market and any advice they may be able to share. Yale Law School alone has over 12,000 alumni working in virtually every corner of the globe. When deciding where to work, be sure to tap into these alumni for information, through YLS Career Connections, Yale University Career Network, and Martindale Hubbell. Also consider other connections you may have to this area.

When reaching out to YLS alumni and other relevant connections, be sure to explain the reasons you are now interested in relocating to the geographic area in which these individuals have experience. You can consult the Networking portion of the Toolkit for Alumni Job Seekers for additional networking ideas and resources, informational interview advice, and an example of “cold” outreach email.

It is a good idea to arrange for a trip to the area you are targeting and arrange in-person meetings and/or informational interviews while you are there. You also may wish to schedule some meetings with prospective employers during a visit to the area you are targeting. In order to do this, you may wish to reach out to these employers’ recruiting departments, or to any contacts you have at these employers. In addition to the information on the Networking page, please contact CDO if you would like to discuss strategies for doing so with an attorney-counselor, or to go over any introduction or application materials. You may also want to look at CDO’s Resume and Cover Letter Advice pages.

Keep in mind that employers will want to gauge your interest for working in that city long-term. The easiest way to show this dedication is through established geographical ties. Below are a few suggested ways you can better demonstrate that connection:

  1. If possible, list a local address on your resume.
  2. Sit for the bar exam in the location you wish to relocate. If you are admitted to the bar in that state, or once you are registered to take it, add this information to your resume.
  3. Clearly indicate in your cover letter your connection and/or interest in the area.
  4. As mentioned above, visit the area and contact YLS alumni, or alumni of your undergraduate school, to set up informational interviews.
  5. Join the State and Local Bar Associations and list these professional associations on your resume.