I have a question regarding etiquette for applying for jobs.
Background: I graduated recently with a PhD in mathematics and took a job at a small college. I have worked there pleasantly for the past year, but I do not enjoy the area that I have moved to for the job. For this reason, I would like to apply to a select number of open jobs in areas closer to my family and some research collaborators.
Questions: Should I tell my current employer that I am applying to other jobs? Should I have at least one letter of recommendation come from someone in the faculty at my current job?
Reason for conflict: I have heard some people argue that I should tell my employer and a letter of recommendation from someone in my current department is appropriate because they are aware of my work/teaching record. I have heard other people argue that I should not tell my employer until I have accepted a position at another school. After all, a good job is nothing to take lightly in this economy and if they know I am actively looking elsewhere they will likely not renew my contract at the end of the year. Then if my selective job search is fruitless, I will be without a job.
I am looking for some advice in this arena. What is the etiquette for applying for another job?