The competition for banking jobs is fierce where I live. So I'm willing to look for a position in another part of the country, even though that would mean uprooting my family. Do you have any tips for a long-distance job hunt? Dear Restless:

Tip No. 1: Make sure your family buys into the plan.

"You have to make your family part of this process," says Ron Szejner, who recently moved from Chicago to Holland, Mich., to work for First Michigan Bancorp. Otherwise, he warns, you'll just be trading one problem for another.

The next consideration: How wide a net should you cast?

There are two schools of thought on this. Some advise targeting a primary and secondary city only. "You can't effectively conduct a national search," says Peter Veruki, a former banker who is now director of career planning at Vanderbilt University.

|Don't Limit Yourself'

But one manager who recently moved from New York to Nashville disagrees. Don't limit yourself," he says. "If I had, I would never have considered Nashville, and no city could meet my needs better."

This executive also decided to break another cardinal rule of many career counselors: He ignored all opportunities in his home city. While those job leads were enticing, he says, "I needed to stay focused on my goal to leave the area."

Once you have targeted a location, here's what to do next:

* Tell all your contacts about your plans. Remember, most jobs are found by word of mouth.

* Find out if any blanks in your target areas have offices in the area where you now live. If so, try to meet as many local employees as you can to get clued in on job opportunities.

* Take out a short-term subscription to local newspapers to get familiar with the target areas.

* Call local chambers of commerce for information. "I could have filled a room with all the information I got," one job seeker reports.

* Plan to spend a week or two interviewing in each of the targeted cities. Set up shop with friends, if possible, says Mr. Veruki of Vanderbilt. A couple of weeks before arriving make appointments with companies, college alumni, recruiters, and members of professional and fraternal associations.

* Try for four to five appointments a day, says Michael Wynne, a counselor with the outplacement firm of Jannotta, Bray, Henderson in Chicago. The goal, he says, is to have a solidly booked week.

* Don't be surprised if you have to make 30 phone calls just to set up six appointments. In fact, preliminary interviews are likely to be done by phone. Richard Allen, who recently moved to Albany, N.Y., to work for KeyCorp, had several phone interviews.

So brush up on your telephone skills. Stake out a place where you won't be disturbed while calling, wear your regular business attire, and right before the interview have a phone conversation with a good friend to get you primed.

* Finally, make sure it plays in Peoria, advises Steve Dimowitz, a counselor with the Ayers Group, an outplacement firm in New York

"What may sound good to you might sound like a pushy New Yorker to someone in another town," he says.

So get on the phone with friends in the new area and have them help you with phrases, pace, terminology, and descriptions.

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