by Amelia Zavala Vander Heide, Head Editor, INALJ NYC
Job Hunting 300 Miles Away
In my last semester of library school I seemed to hear over and over again that I should be applying for jobs. The application process can be so arduous and time-consuming that it is best to start early, but I had a problem. I was more than likely moving within a year of graduation. My husband was applying to colleges and I was not sure we would be able to stay on the central coast of California. Here are some tips on preforming a long distance job search.
1. Timing, timing, timing. As I am sure you are aware the hiring process for librarians can be a long process. Being keenly aware of this fact, I knew that I wanted to start applying some time before I actually moved, but the how soon is too soon? It was hard graduating and sitting on my degree for a few months while my husband and I waited for decision letters from colleges throughout California. When I finally knew we were for sure moving to the Bay Area and we were moving at the beginning of August, I finally knew I could start sending out applications in April.
2. Know the area. I had lived in Northern California during my undergraduate years, but I had never lived in the Bay Area. Everything is important from geography to population to the economy. Understanding the geography helped me narrow my job hunt. I was moving to an area of great opportunity, but did I really want to commute more than hour each way? Knowing and really understanding the population and the economy has helped me immensely in public librarianship, even though I do not live in the city where I work.
3. Explaining a relocation. When I was applying I put my current address, and I explained in cover letters that I was relocating. On applications where no cover letter was required, or they had no place to add one, I felt that I was going to miss out on that opportunity. Still, I gambled and applied to positions with just my current address. Adding a few sentences is all it takes; read an example here.
4. The Interview. When you finally land that potential life-changing interview, try not to stress too much. At the time I was applying, I was working as a retail manager. This made it very easy or me to take two days off in the middle of the week. Unfortunately, when I interviewed for the job I have now, I was actually going to visit family in Michigan. I ended up doing a phone interview. If you are going to do a phone interview, here at INALJ we have you covered. Find some great articles here, here, and here.
Looking for a job from far away can be stressful and precarious. Still, being able to land that job, sometimes with no networking contacts, can make you feel really accomplished. For some more insight for relocating applicants, here is a great article from Hiring Librarians. Always remember to keep your head-up, and best of luck on the hunt.