Too soon to apply for a job? Or should I just go for it?
December 15, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Applying for university administrative jobs in another city that I will be moving to in 4 months. Is it worth it to begin applying for positions I'm qualified for when I'm 4 months out from moving there? Could it hurt my chances of landing a job at the new university in any way?

I am moving to a new city in 4 months to be closer to family. I currently work at a large university in research administration. I've been at this university for 4 years and have been promoted twice in that time.

I would really like to work at the large university in the city I am moving to. I'm open to any university administration positions, not just research administration, and I understand that I'll have to to take a pay cut since I'll be starting from the ground up.

Long question short.. in January I will be 4 months out from my move. Can I begin applying for open positions via the university's online application system (all job applications must go through their website) if I won't be starting the position until May 1st? Would this look bad and hurt my chances of getting a job?

Other relevant information: I understand that it is unlikely I will land any job before moving to the new city. I have savings that I plan to live off of while job searching in the new city. It would, however, be helpful if I could begin applying for positions before I move and maybe something will work out - at the very least I might start lining up interviews or get my name out there.

Bonus question: if I do begin applying for jobs at that university, what is the right way to state my time frame for moving (I assume the cover letter is the place to do this)?

Thank you!
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posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If your large university is anything like the one I worked at, it's going to take them four months, minimum, to hire you anyway. So January would be a good time to start looking.

In your cover letter, I would say, "I plan to relocate to New City by May, 2012, in order to be closer to family. I will be in town on x dates and available for an in-person interview, or I am available to interview by phone at your convenience" or something like that. That tactic has worked for me in the past.
posted by min at 8:39 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

My large state university is also extremely slow in the hiring process.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:42 AM on December 15, 2011

Absolutely, start applying now. Universities are notoriously slow when it comes to hiring.

It sounds like you'll be moving in at the end of a semester - that might work well to your advantage. If your desired position has any sort of student contact, they might wait until the semester ends before starting a new person in the position - as opposed to starting a new administrator 3/4 of the way through the spring semester.

Good luck!
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:45 AM on December 15, 2011

Yeah, I just moved and landed a new job at Large Private University, and my timeline went like this:

End of September:
- Applied online
- Heard back very quickly (couple days?)
- Phone interview at the end of that week with the hiring manager

Then I had my in-person interviews on Halloween, and got my offer the week before Thanksgiving. I started this past Monday.

So even if they're enthusiastic about hiring you, it will still take a long time (3-1/2 months from the point I started looking). I also put in applications online at Other Large Universities and never heard anything back. And this is in an area with relatively low unemployment, compared to the national average.

Since they knew I was coming from out-of-town, they scheduled all my in-person interviews on the same day, and I was able to do everything else over the phone.

Also, my new employer has contacts with a relocation company (they didn't pay for my move, but they set me up with a broker to look at apartments), and I was able to find a new place quickly that way. Something worth looking into if you're not already familiar with the area you'll be moving to, or if you're planning on having to pay a broker's fee anyway.
posted by angels in the architecture at 8:56 AM on December 15, 2011

Our jobs also almost always take that long, even if they try to rush them!
posted by maxg94 at 10:25 AM on December 15, 2011

I, too, work in university administration and wholeheartedly agree that now if a great time to start applying. The universities you apply to may very well think that they can get through the process quicker, but if they're anything like my workplace, they won't. But I might suggest being a little vague about when you'd be able to start as I think it could scare them off, even as they might think they'll need you sooner / can get through the process quicker.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2011

I work at a large university, and we recently hired someone who was relocating to our city, so it can be done.

If you or any of your colleagues know people at the other university, I'd try to leverage those contacts. Even though you have to apply through the website, if you can get your resume to someone within the organization, it can be helpful. We received hundreds of applications for our recent vacancy, so anything you can do to stand out is helpful.
posted by mogget at 11:28 AM on December 15, 2011

Nthing min's suggestion to list the dates you will be available to interview in person. I would also suggest when you will be available to start work.
I work for a large state university. I applied for several positions around the same time and the one I got actually moved quite quickly through the hiring process. However, I received emails 1-8 months later letting me know "sorry you weren't selected" for the other positions. So, I think you are fine. Good luck.
posted by Kitty Cornered at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2011

I used to do HR stuff at a university and it takes forever to get through the hiring process. I would say 4 months is perfect. Just tell them when you will be moving in the cover letter, but also be prepared for them to ask you to come for an in-person interview. In my university/department we had to go by-the-book and treat all candidates exactly equal so we couldn't, say, offer one candidate a phone interview while making the others come in.
posted by fromageball at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2011

Nthing that universities move very slowly in the hiring process. Anecdata: my university is happy to hire people from out of state, and I've seen other universities do the same, especially at the administrative level.
posted by dovesandstones at 1:00 PM on December 15, 2011

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