I know it's possible because I've just done it.
Earlier this year I decided I wanted to move back to the UK. After nearly six years in New Zealand, it's time to go home for a while. So, I started saving my pennies with a view to doing things the traditional, hard way - give up job, fly there and start looking.
Applying for jobs is hard work and I was ready for a few weeks of frustration, touring employment agencies in my best suit, smiling and waxing lyrical about how brilliant (but modest) I am.
But then I started looking on the Internet, at the dozens of UK recruitment sites out there. The one I used most was the Guardian Online. Its Career Manager function is a godsend - set it up to search for key words, then just check it every day or two. Other site developers could learn a thing or two from it: while most have search functions, they never seem to work very well. I knew there were lots of jobs out there but many sites would come up with "no result" with no option of refining the search.
As a job hunter (and, no doubt, as an advertiser) I want an effective search facility that finds jobs that suit me - I've no time for wading through hundreds of jobs that I don't want. Make it easy and make it work and people will use it.
The number of jobs listed is also important - sites which only had a few adverts just weren't worth the bother of checking regularly, even if that meant potentially missing a dream career move.
I applied for 10 jobs over a three-month period (note to Ed - I did it all from home, honest). No doubt some were put off by my being in New Zealand and some were looking for different skills, but I got more response than I expected. After talking to recruitment consultants here, I stressed that I really was serious instead of just "fishing" to see what happened, and that I could be there fast - four weeks notice and I'd be behind my new desk. I also said I could arrange teleconference facilities if they preferred to check what I look like.
As it turned out, my new employers seemed positively enthusiastic about the idea. I emailed my CV and some copies of my work, talked to them on the phone a couple of times and - hey presto - got my new job.
Proof that the Internet really is changing the way we can manage our lives. Since then I've searched for flats to let, booked a bus ticket to visit my parents in Cornwall and, of course, communicated daily with my family and friends about my move home. As for my friends here - I'll miss them, but I'll be able to "talk" to them easily from my home PC.
If you're interested in looking elsewhere for work I'd recommend:
- Putting your CV together in an easily emailed form - nothing too fancy, just the facts.
- Sign on to a few good recruitment sites and check them regularly.
- Stress why you want to move, how fast you can do it and why they should take the risk.
- Know exactly why you want to do it - and be sure you're not going to chicken out at the last minute.
- Suss out teleconference facilities in case they want a look at you.
From there on, it's over to you. Get out there and sell yourself.
Gillian Law is a Computerworld reporter until April 7. Phone her on: 09 302 8775.