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I recently applied for a tenure-track position with a regional state university. I know of the college but have no contacts there. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a proportionally large number of presentations at our field's research conference, including some presentations that align with my research. I presented at the same time as this one particular paper I am interested in by professors at this state college.

I would like to reach out to the author(s) to tell them that I would like to learn more. Should I also tell them I applied to their university?

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TL;DR: it can't hurt!

It's likely that if you approach them they will at the very least know your name (they have seen your application and references). I would think that showing genuine interest in their work and hinting at a potential collaboration would help your chances of getting invited for an interview. However, directly asking about the status of your application would probably not get you anywhere.

Good luck!

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