I got laid off and am willing to work anywhere. Why aren’t firms considering me?

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Julie Lehrman

I was laid off and am looking for another job. I don't care what city I live in, I just want to work! Why won't firms look at someone who is being flexible?


Think of finding your ideal job a little like finding a mate. If you are willing to go just anywhere, you de-value yourself in the eyes of a potential employer. It behooves you to be conspicuously picky about the cities you will consider living in. Like a potential dating partner who is considering dating you seriously, no employer wants to feel like you settled for them, or for their city. They want to truly be the right match for you.

You were laid off, so perhaps you are feeling panicked and desperate. Ask yourself: would you date someone who just got broken up with, and is terrified of being alone? I wouldn't. I certainly would not look at that person and say, "Wow, what a prize. I want the guy who chose me because I happen to be here and am the first one to come along." Similarly, a law firm will not view someone who is eager to get a job - any job - as a very promising long-term prospect.

Take a deep breath. Stop panicking. Now think seriously about what kind of person you are, and where you might like to live in terms of a city. Will a large city make you happy, with its cultural offerings and constant influx of people? Or are you drawn to the low cost of living and wide open spaces of a smaller city? Are you an outdoorsy type who loves hiking and skiing? Whatever kind of person you are, be honest with yourself, and let the employer know what is attracting you to their city. All of the reasons you end up targeting particular locations will make potential employers feel like you are choosing them -for the right reasons - and that makes you more appealing. Similarly, where do you have family? Friends? Where have you visited that you loved and could see yourself living? Why did you love those places? All of these things will make a potential employer recognize that you understand and desire their city, and will make you far more attractive than someone who will live anywhere.

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