So I really need to have a more efficient plan regarding my job search. While I think I have a good idea of what needs to be done, I've clearly been lacking in the execution department.
Few things I've learned and I am doing:
1) Use professional email id (@edu) as against gmail id. I have actually gotten quicker responses when I emailed from my edu id.
2) Use informative, specific, eye-catching subject lines: "Interest in scientist position" is not good enough- better- "Referred by Dr. XYZ of QWERTY institute" or "Heard your talk at ABC meeting in Washington DC".
3) The initial email should also be specific, tailored to the company/organization and not generic. This everyone and their dog knows by now.
The next thing is FOLLOWING UP. This is where I am sorely lacking. I have had a good few initial conversations, going up to the stage of phone conversations, interviews, meetings, and even a tentative job offer in one case. But because of several reasons: 1) There being no set date of my return, and perhaps me having started some processes too prematurely, 2) Letting current deadlines and workload dictate the pace of my job search I have let things slack off.
So when I have downtime in my lab here, I work up these contacts and fire off good introductory letters. Then, inevitably, something pressing comes up in my current work. Everything else takes a backseat, and that hard earned initial contact fizzles off. That is what I have got to stop. I need to keep it going, like I said earlier, in an organized fashion- have a visible place where I enter dates of communication and schedule follow ups.
And finally, I do think I face the challenge of applying from overseas, which means I am probably not being taken as seriously, and people would perhaps prefer it if I were on the ground there already. That bit, unfortunately, I have no control over. I had envisaged a situation where I would've lined up interviews and gone home for a couple weeks before winding up here just to scope out opportunities, but things haven't fallen into place like that. Now, there is no time or money for such a visit. I will just eventually pack up and leave. So my goal is that I have some good interviews lined up for when I do return for good, and get to meet them all in person before I pick my job. I think that is quite doable. In that time, I'm hoping our dilemma of two cities is also resolved.
The good thing is, that the boss and I have agreed upon a formal date of ending this post-doc and it is set in stone. And while I am, as a result of that, mostly worrying about ALL that I have to accomplish here, it also means I have to work with equal zeal towards finding me a good job in India. I am keenly aware of the need to invest in a good career for myself in India, to keep me motivated and excited in the face of all the challenges that come with moving to India and doing science there. And for that, I will have to work hard.