The following advice is apt,
The reality is that after 4-5 years of undergraduate, and 4-6 years of Ph.D. you've painted a pretty good picture of yourself. A few years of post-doc might help you gain some new skills, but that isn't going to make or break your career. Neither is that "just one more paper" going to make all the difference. Instead, people need to put the same effort into looking for a job as they do in doing research. The results might be a lot better.
There are still others who do not apply for these jobs thinking their resume is incomplete, whether they are worth applying and if they have to do one more postdoc. The best is to apply,
I would think that the chances of getting a faculty position actually decreases after the third year of postdoc in engineering (sixth year in sciences). It could be also due my conservativeness to think that one should have a permanent (there is no other job which is more permanent and non-transferable than a government academic position) job rather than a temporary post doctoral position.Because we all know that hiring is stochastic--that elusive "fit" you mentioned and variability in other candidates--it's probably a better strategy to start applying before we think we might be the ideal candidate. And with our minds' powers to reduce cognitive dissonance, we might just start convincing ourselves that we completely deserve what we're going after. I just stumbled on this thread, which I find pretty reassuring and hilarious.http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=73013.0