Why do companies prefer "locals"?

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Why do companies prefer "locals"?

Postby Annie L. » Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:34 am

I realize it costs something to relocate people, but I can move cheap. I'm single, and after two years of postdoc, still don't own all that much. I'd like to go to Boston, but companies there don't seem responsive to my CV. I'd like to scream at them "I'm cheap to move!" but I can't do that if they don't even look at what's in the envelope. I changed my address to a local one via a friend's mailbox, but when I get a call, I have to be honest, and I know that they are turned off by my location 700 miles away.

What can I do?

Annie L.

Why do companies prefer "locals"?

Postby RD Kimball » Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:17 pm

I am from Boston and tried to get jobs in that area. One huge disadvantage is that post-docs and other competators are too numerous to contemplate . In that city and geographical area there are a ton of Universities producing hundreds of equally if not better candidates than you. Best to focus your job search with hiring supervisors in your specialty if you want to get any interest. Dont apply to companies, write or phone specific senior specialists in your field. Hard to respond more specifically to your post with little detail of your situation. Also sounds like your going to have to learn to lie about your real locale.
RD Kimball
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:48 pm

Why do companies prefer "locals"?

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:32 pm


It may be a bit harsh to tell someone whom we don't know personally that there are local schools producing "hundreds of equally if not better candidates." That would be fairly depressing if it were true. I'm sure, however, that there are dozens of equally qualified people searching for jobs, there always are -- so your point is well taken.

John's strategy of networking with specialists in Annie's field is a good one. They don't have to even be that "senior." They can be just a couple of years ahead of you, Annie, and you can ask them how they broke through the academia-to-industry transfer, and how they got THEIR job.

I don't think you'll need to lie about anything to get your job. You may have to "toss the dice" and move to Boston ahead of an actual job offer, however. Keep in mind that if you are relocating, there are plenty of biotech companies in other Northeastern locales as well.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
User avatar
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
Posts: 7959
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Why do companies prefer

Postby A. Sam » Tue Oct 26, 2004 3:32 pm

I'll second Dave's notion that you may want to take the plunge and move there first. If you really want to be there then why not? If need be you could always do another post-doc there to pay the bills while you look for jobs. Getting to know some locals and building a network will make a big difference. You could probably make a rational decision in choosing a post-doc lab that would maximize your chance at landing a biotech job too.
A. Sam
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Why do companies prefer

Postby Andrew » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:11 pm

I get this all the time. HR tells me we don't offer relo for B.S. Chemists because I'm in RTP and I can pick amongst Duke, UNC, and NC State. However I want a particular skill set and some experience, so I look nationally and find someone from Tennessee or somewhere and then have to argue with these recruiters who hate having scientists tell them how to do their job.

I imagine that the entire issue is over the perceived request for relocation assistance. If you will not make that request, as it is cheap for you to move, it is no one's business that you don't live there. You could just put the Boston address on your resume and never say a thing about it. If you get the job, you'll move yourself and that will be the end of it. Its actually not lying, which I would never recommend anyway. And its a lot cheaper than actually moving prior to an offer. You need to be prepared to pick up the tab for the interview (air travel, hotel) as well.
Posts: 979
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Why do companies prefer

Postby Linda » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:18 am

The expression "carrying coals to Newcastle" leaps to mind here. Why would anyone move *to* Boston and have to compete with graduates of Harvard and MIT? I moved to the D.C. area from Boston because no one would hire me with "just" a bachelor's degree when they could get someone with a master's or even a Ph.D. for even the lowliest entry-level position. I like Boston, too, but I also like being able to eat, and the cost of living in the Boston area (which is spreading to encompass much of nearby RI and NH) is just ridiculous.
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Why do companies prefer

Postby John Estes » Wed Oct 27, 2004 1:25 pm

Boston is a hub, a great place to live as well as a center of life sciences learning and work opportunities. I have contacts, friends and acquaintances, who earn substantially into the six figures working in the Boston biotech industry. Granted, people have to break through the "hazing" years of working in entry level jobs, but once you have some experience, you'll gravitate to a hub like Boston because that is where the companies are who are looking for that marketable experience. I guess what I am saying is that I believe the biotech industry has two sets of practices for employment. They have the "entry level rules and regulations" in which Postdocs and newly graduated students get the short end of the stick for a time until they develop some kind of specialty area (assay development, quality/validation, manufacturing, drug discovery methodology, etc). At that point, they go into a second-tier situation in which they are now treated as "Experienced staff" and relocation monies, hiring bonuses, extra stock options, and a liveable wage all start piling up.

My preference would be to get these things from the beginning, but I am absolutely certain that these opportunities are out there, and that I will simply have to "break through" in order to find them. My guess is that as soon as I have a niche I have discovered and developed, my career will go into that mode I'm talking about. At this point, I'm still floundering a bit.

John Estes

Why do companies prefer

Postby John_Mastro » Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:47 pm

Ok to clarify.. dont start your job search in a lie... dont give a false address and then fess un about living 700 miles away! No wonder you got some bad responses.

Also the hundreds of other applicants was an obvious exageration. So hard to know without any knowledge of your specific discipline; the science job market at any level is highly, fragmented and niched....

I would not advise you to move to Boston. I would advise you to target hiring supervisors in your area. Do a lot of research and I would suggest that some visits to area and some deep detective work would be best. 700 miles is not that far and it is critical to the rest of your life.


Why do companies prefer

Postby Kelly Ann » Wed Oct 27, 2004 10:07 pm

Although I'm on the other side of the country and in a slightly different situation, I have a couple thoughts regarding how to apply for somewhere so far away.

I am also about 700 miles away from my target (the Bay Area) but have found several things that have attracted more interest in my resume ...

1) I am always upfront in the cover letter about my intention to relocate back to the Bay Area (and that I don't expect relocation assistance). I also figure I'm young and cheap to move so why complicate matters ... though I would be interested to know what relocation perks entail.

2) I put both my school (local) as well as permanent address at the top of the resume as this seems to cement my relationship between the two states. Note if you lie about your residence, that would entail lying about your current job as well ... neither which is a good idea.

3) Honestly, I think that randomnly sending resumes to anyone (whether you are local or not) will less likely get you the job anyhow. Networking has been my major advantage and I have found that following up with any connections in the area (whether or not you think they have a direct relation to your future employment) helps.

My philosophy is slightly different because I do have connections (and previous biotech work experience) in the Bay Area but so far it has landed me some interviews. However, be advised that "phone screens" will become more important.

I hope to have a job lined up by the time I'm turning everything into the library but I guess if all else fails I will relocate prior to a job offer ... even if it means squating for a month with different relatives and putting my stuff in storage. My only caution about relocating to a metropolitan area is that if you find an apartment on one side ... you may find you have to move again (especially if you don't like commuting).

However, I guess a major drawback to my situation is that I'm still tying myself to my parent's residence (as a late 20 something) but that would be a different story :-0.
Kelly Ann
Posts: 72
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Why do companies prefer

Postby John J » Wed Oct 27, 2004 10:23 pm

Hi Annie

You're looking at your dilemma from the wrong viewpoint. Put yourself in the hirers shoes. You have x amount of phone calls, e-mails, CVs, envelopes and applications on file. You are faced with culling them and you use broad criteria to do so, including distance, lack of experience etc. You need to remove these barriers for them and distance is a hard one to remove. I agree with some of the previous comments that starting local is best and once you are part of the network you will find it easier to move into better and better roles irrespective of their location.

cheers, John J
John J


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests