“Are you willing to relocate – Y/N?” This question confronts many job seekers and answering it is not as easy as just checking a box. As a library professional, you may feel especially conflicted since there are a limited number of library jobs and your next career move might not be in your current location. Relocation is a difficult decision—many people can’t relocate because of family commitments, a partner’s job, kids’ schools, etc. Those who do choose to move for a job need to weigh a variety of factors before taking the plunge.
Rather than examine some of the more common considerations for relocating, which also include proximity to family, ability of the “trailing” partner to find meaningful work and availability of good schools, let’s look at what else you might want to think about.
What is the market saturation for library professionals?
If it’s too high or too low, you’ll likely have to relocate again for career growth. In a saturated job market where supply is greater than demand, such as in a college town that offers library science degrees, there will be a highly competitive pool of candidates. If you’re in a smaller town with limited opportunities for CI jobs or library jobs, you would have to move to find a wider choice. Depending on your tolerance for moving multiple times for your career, you may want to fully investigate the job market of your destination to ensure it can support your continued development. Or, you may need to build other types of library skills so you can step into a different position in the same geographic area.
What’s the current state of the economy?
While economic growth has been strong, there are increasing signs that a downturn may be in the near future. This will certainly have an effect on library job prospects, especially those that might rely on funding sources that could get cut. Will you be joining an institution that can weather some ups and downs in the economy?
What’s the long-term benefit to your career?
Determining whether a move will have a positive impact on your career could be a deciding factor. A distant opportunity doesn’t need to be a more senior title if the position adds measurably to your experience and marketability. For example, a short-term contract in another country or an opportunity in a special library setting could provide you with a valuable edge.
Are there other incentives available?
Many states and localities have begun to offer incentives to professionals who move in-state, including recent grads. Whether it’s low-cost housing, loans or tax breaks, there might be a bonus in store for choosing one of these locations. Many places are trying to revitalize their neighborhoods and encourage diversity by attracting young workers and their families.
Does the position really require you to be onsite?
Before you commit to relocating, it’s a good idea to find out whether the position can be done remotely, particularly if it’s more research-oriented. Legal research, digital asset management, citation analysis, cataloging and virtual teaching can be performed anywhere there’s access to high-speed internet.
If you’re considering your next career move, LibGig includes US and international listings for onsite and remote positions. Subscribe to our newsletter, Career Connection, for the most recent listings.