Long Distance Librarian

by Marlena Barber, Head Editor, INALJ Tennessee
Long Distance Librarian
editorWhile I was searching for work, I read many posts online from fellow information professionals who were seeking advice on how to secure a position out of state.  Many posts I read were from those who were disheartened at perceived and real lack of opportunities both in-state and out.  As a long distance librarian now myself, I would like to share with you what I did before and during my application process. 

When job hunting during my time in school and for the time period afterwards, I sought positions based on the work I would be doing, on the culture of the companies, and in locations where I would feel happy raising my family.  I knew already based on prior travels through the region where I will soon begin my library career that I would be happiest in the area where I became the successful candidate.  Despite knowing that I liked the area already, I took a lot of time prior to applying for that position to see more about what life was like in the city and surrounding communities.  I learned more during my interview, which reinforced my desire to live in the area.
My advice for those who are applying for work out of state is to be partial to the area of the position.  Ensure that comes across during your interviews as well.  Educational experience, skills, personality, and passion for the industry are important, and they are what your potential employer is looking for in your application materials and in the interview.  If your knowledge base, experience, and passion match what the employer is seeking, you do have a chance for them to bring you in to interview you and hire you.  You don’t have to be a local candidate to be considered for every position, so don’t lose heart.  My advice is to be sure that you are conveying your plans, intentions, or wishes to relocate in a sentence in your cover letter to address that issue from the beginning.  And, of course, tailor your cover letter to demonstrate how you uniquely match the position’s requirements and responsibilities.
This is my own advice based on my own experience in being offered a position in a new state.  I am so thankful and excited for my new opportunity.  I know it can happen for you guys, too.

  5 comments for “Long Distance Librarian

  1. Sarah
    June 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve read elsewhere the suggestion of mentioning in the cover letter a willingness to relocate, but I’ve not yet figured out a way to organically convey that. Do you have any suggestions for *how* to do it? Thanks!

    • June 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Basically you have to sell them on the fact that you aren’t just looking to relocate anywhere but you are familiar with and comfortable with Their location. I wrote a little on this topic for Lexis Nexis Best Practices 2012 No Boundaries: When Location Isn’t Everything in Your Job Hunt. It can be a challenge- if you have ever lived, visited, studied at or have any connections to their city then be sure to have a few strong sentences sharing that!

    • Puerto Rico to Wyoming editors
      June 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      This is the sentence I wrote within my cover letter (it is in my first paragraph) for my new position to address the relocation:
      “I am presently seeking to relocate to [redacted] and was very happy to discover through the [redacted] website that you have an open position of Collection Services and Metadata Librarian.” I shared about a previous trip to the region during my interview as well.

      I wish you the best!

      Marlena Barber
      INALJ-TN Head Editor

  2. Lindsey
    June 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Thank you very much. My husband and I are considering moving out of state and it can be overwhelming.

    • Puerto Rico to Wyoming editors
      June 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Lindsey,

      Thanks for reading my article! I recommend taking a week after you relocate (if you do) to get settled. My first week in my new home was filled with errands associated with moving and driving around with the gps. Three weeks in, and I’ve got a bit more left to get taken care of (and I use the gps less and less each day!). :) Weigh the pros and cons. For me, the move was overwhelmingly full of pros!

      Good luck!

      Marlena Barber
      INALJ-TN Head Editor

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