All of her tips are good things to remember.
We’ve recently been through the process of interviewing and hiring several new librarians at my library (yay!!). These were my first times on the other side of the table, so to speak, and interviewing was definitely an eye-opening process. As I was poring through resumes and cover letters and Skyping with candidates, I thought about what advice I would give to people applying for librarian jobs. A lot of this might be stuff you’ve heard elsewhere, but evidently not everyone has heard it.
So what to do when a job posting asks for the kitchen sink, and you’ve only got a random assortment of kitchen gadgets on your CV? For starters, accept the fact that you’re not going to have everything they want. I know that many people giving job advice will say you’re wasting the search committee’s time if you apply and lack the required qualifications. That may be the case for an MLS degree—you either have it or you don’t—but for other qualifications it is often a bit squishier. As a Canadian colleague recently aptly put it on Twitter: “I never understood postings requiring specific skills. I have never known how to do something before it was my job.” Exactly.
For me, the question of whether or not to go ahead and try even if I don’t have every single qualification they list has everything to do with how many other job applications I’m working on, when they’re all due, and whether the other positions I’m looking at are better fits. If two jobs have the same (looming) closing date and I have everything that one of them asks for (or more things that they ask for), then I’m going to devote my attention to that one since my time is limited.
Another bit toward the end is helpful advice:
The key advice here is just get yourself in the door. Don’t misrepresent what you can do, but if you mostly meet the job requirements, throw your name in the hat. Tout what you can do, and how you want to grow and develop. A smart employer will also be considering your intangibles, and someone may well open the door. That’s step one.
Excellent article, and somewhat reassuring for those currently hunting for jobs, especially this part:
I think the first thing is to remember that if you’re looking for a job, to a large extent it’s not your fault that you don’t have one. There just aren’t enough jobs for the number of people looking for them now; the shortfall is enormous. So, don’t take it personally if you can’t find a job.
Of course, that doesn’t make you any more employed, so it’s a small consolation at best. ;)
11. Roam a library.
You never know which book, author, or topic will speak to you from the shelves. You might just find what you didn’t even know you were looking for.
New librarians are entering the job market fresh from receiving their master’s degree (MLIS). The months and years spent in the classroom are behind them and they are anxious for the next chapter of their lives to begin. Some have already found job opportunities. Others are still in the job hunt and wondering when a job offer will appear. For them, this is a time of doubt. Was getting an MLIS the right thing to do? Weren’t a ton of librarians suppose to be retiring? Is this the right time to be a librarian?
(For librarians, this is old news… maybe all graduate programs will be scrutinized more closely now that it’s recognized as a problem in other fields too.)
The sub-prime mortgage meltdown that has swelled the unemployment ranks is dwarfed by the ongoing effects of the digital transformation of world markets. This transition started well before the financial crisis and will likely continue long after. In the U.S., the issue of the pervasive lack of technology adoption within low income, rural, minority, and other underserved communities is almost solely couched in terms of the divide between technological “haves” and “have nots.” While social equity and economic justice remain critical dimensions of the issue, there is not nearly enough attention paid to the impact of the digital divide on the overall economy.
Metcalfe’s Law states that each additional node added to a network provides greater value to the network as a whole, but the obverse is also true. Leaving broad swaths of the population out of the digital economy not only harms the technological “haves nots,” but also constrains the technological “haves” from benefitting from the potential network effects of including these communities. This means all of us are now feeling the pain of the digital divide—American CEOs of the one percent included.
Why you can’t get a librarian job - part 2 (but the ALA told me…)
Remember all the claims of the massive number or retirees? The chart on the bottom is the same data from before, but shown cumulatively. The top is the ALA estimate of the number of retiring librarians. For the 20 year span of 1995-2015 the ALA estimated there would be 43,000 librarians retiring. I think we’ll be okay since in a time span of 10 years from 1999-2009 library schools produced 64,160 new MLIS student (yes a small percent are not ALA accredited). Soon I expect a message from ALA telling us that it’s okay, we don’t need any more.
The current economic situation is bumming me out to a degree I haven’t experienced since the Spice Girls broke up (shush, I was 10). Frankly, I’m just sick of hearing about it. I’m not the type to stick my head in the sand, yet I’m so tried of the news reports, tired of hearing about yet another library facing budget cuts or even closures, tired of watching my friends at the NYC public libraries pour their hearts and souls into fighting budget cuts, only to have to repeat the fight six months later.
After finishing library school, I was one of many who left my happy grad school bubble and was slapped in the face with the reality of, “oh crap, what now?”. I knew things were bad, but really I wasn’t worried. I watched as regional libraries slowly regained funding and ended years long hiring freezes. I had gained nearly two years of library experience and had gotten myself not just one, but two jobs actually getting paid to work in libraries. I had forged strong relationships with some of the top librarians in the city, was working on getting published, attended three major conferences, got appointed to a committee, and had a strong online presence. I even had a major library recruiter look at my resume with surprise and say “this is fantastic. Don’t change anything, it looks great”. I watched as she then tore apart everyone else’s resume in the room. I was convinced that I would find a full-time professional job shortly.
Six months later, and that hasn’t happened. The logical side of my brain knows the facts. Fact: it’s only been six months. Fact: I have not just one but two jobs in my field which makes me better off than many others. Fact: I have a paying job period, which makes me better off than others. Fact: I have a huge professional network that I’m very good at growing. Fact: I am now a published author and my resume looks great. Fact: My future in this field that I love is bright and shiny. However, the other side of my brain gets into the way. I get scared of never finding a FT position. I think about how I could make more money bartending. I wonder if it’s possible that by the time the jobs come back, my skills will be too outdated and make me a less attractive candidate then newly minted grads. I am envious as I watch my peers succeed, instead of being proud. I don’t share jobs leads with my friends also seeking jobs, because I’m being competitive. These last points make me feel like a bad person.
I know these problems are not specific to our field. I hear countless stories of people from a variety of fields having trouble: scientists, engineers, accountants, teachers, nurses, even dentists. Their ages and experience range from new grads to mid-career people with 10, 20, 30 years of experience. Major cities are struggling as well as small rural towns, from coast to coast. The problems are world-wide. This does not make me feel better. I was told in school that the fight of my generation would be convincing everyone else that libraries were still relevant. I was not told that the real fight of my generation would be making sense of a global economy being turned on its head.
Meet the members of what might be called Generation Limbo: highly educated 20-somethings, whose careers are stuck in neutral, coping with dead-end jobs and listless prospects.
And so they wait: for the economy to turn, for good jobs to materialize, for their lucky break. Some do so bitterly, frustrated that their well-mapped careers have gone astray. Others do so anxiously, wondering how they are going to pay their rent, their school loans, their living expenses — sometimes resorting to once-unthinkable government handouts.
“We did everything we were supposed to,” said Stephanie Morales, 23, who graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with hopes of working in the arts. Instead she ended up waiting tables at a Chart House restaurant in Weehawken, N.J., earning $2.17 an hour plus tips, to pay off her student loans. “What was the point of working so hard for 22 years if there was nothing out there?” said Ms. Morales, who is now a paralegal and plans on attending law school.
» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)