Moving away to a smaller town

I do not have a steady design job at this time, I am financially struggling and I may move back to my family’s hometown which is significantly smaller than the city where I’m living, and the design opportunities are scarce. Living in a big city where there are industrial designer jobs around, I’ve always struggled to get noticed by any of these employers, because most of them require I apply online only. Not only that, but I find that the designers are very difficult to get a hold of. I’m considering moving back with my family because I’m financially suffering and I’m running out of hope. Does living far away from employers impair the chances of getting hired?

Is it impossible to get hired in a big city while you live further away? No of course not, but not easy and it takes a lot of determination and discipline.
I was living on my parents summer house in Sweden, while I got hired to a consultancy in San Francisco.

For me returning home from a stressful city was just the thing I needed.
It was important to center myself, reevaluate my position as a designer and to get a fresh perspective away from all the stress that makes you focus on the wrong things.
It might feel a bit like a defeat now but eventually you might find that after a little time on the sidelines, you’ll be stronger and more focused.

I am pretty sure that without the time-out I took, my career would have never really started.

I’d suggest to post your portfolio here and get some feedback if you feel that your work isn’t communicating to your full potential.

Definitely post your portfolio. What is your experience? What kind of projects? Clients? What do you care about? There’s a great Paul westerberg line: " the ones who love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest, visit their graves on holidays at best. The ones who love us least are the ones we’ll die to please. If it’s any consolation, I don’t pretend to understand." Figure out why you are a designer.

I don’t think small town is good for designing

I just did the going-back-to-a-small-town move after a year and a half in a job where the geography and culture we’re burning me out. It was a good move. After a few months of sabbatical, I got a job with a company in the closest “big city”. For me, I was only a 30 minute drive from the bigger city, so it really had no impact on my job hunt.

I’d guess that you’ll be ok if you can make it to interviews.

If you’re looking for remote or freelance work, I’d think it would be tough because most of that stuff seems to come out of networking.

This could be good or bad. It would also depend on what you consider small? Moving to say Amana Iowa and working for Whirlpool would be good possibly because you wouldn’t have much competition vying for your job and choice of area. Also the cost of living would be extremely low to say NYC or San Fran. If there isn’t some sort of opportunities within a few hrs of you, as well as civilization, I say it would be a bad move.