Q: I have been a Reference Librarian for a community college for the last ten years. Recently I moved to be with family and friends. I see myself staying here and having a family. New to the job search/interview process, I am wondering how long it should take to get a job. My experience and references are good. Any advice would be much appreciated!
TA: The answer to your question can be a bit complicated. It really depends on the type of position you’re seeking, the type of institution you’re considering, and the job market in your new location. In general, an academic job search can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months from start to finish. In my experience, reference positions generally yield the largest pool of candidates, so competition for individual positions can be fierce. With your experience and good references, you are likely to be among the group considered, but you will want to explain in your cover letter how you’ve recently relocated to the area and you are truly interested in the position for which you’ve applied. The one downside to experience is that you may be considered “out of the price range” or “overqualified” unless you state explicitly in your cover letter that you have relocated to the area and are interested in this specific position.
I’ve mentioned this in previous columns, but you may want to try a few informational interviews with librarians in the area to get to know the market, future colleagues, and future opportunities on the horizon. By introducing yourself before you apply, you’ll be able to make connections that will serve you well down the line.