If there’s one thing I know for certain it’s this: you can never know anything for certain. With that in mind, some of us are facing an frighteningly exciting time in our lives — we’re going to graduate and look for a job we will LOVE! Most of us have had jobs before, but now that we’re finishing our degrees, we’ve found our passion and we’re ready to head out into this (not so perfect yet) world of employment! So, save this post. Use it when you’re ready. Be ready for anything! And please share what you learn. With that, I offer you a 3-course meal of Job Tips [the search, application, interview] and some leftovers. This uses resources from a previous post on my blog.
The Job Search
Location. Location. Location. The more flexible you are with the state or city or country you live in, the better. This cannot be said enough. See #5 (and #6) of this post by Abby Johnson (@abbylibrarian).
Know what your salary requirements are. If you can’t afford to live off of what the job will pay, it isn’t the job for you. But also remember that what you’re paid will be based on your education and experience. Try Library Journal’s Placements & Salaries Survey 2010 to get an idea of your salary expectations.
Look for jobs any and everywhere you WANT to work. If the library you’ve got your eye on isn’t hiring right now, bookmark their HR page and look at it once a month until they ARE hiring. In the meantime, broaden your horizons and look other places (listservs, ALA JobList, State Association job boards, regional job boards, etc.)
Stay organized and on top of deadlines. You could do this through the use of a spreadsheet like this one.
It is tough to know how many applications to send out. The more time you spend on them, the better they’re done and therefore the fewer you need to send out. However, if you can compose a well-crafted cover letter that can have minor adjustments for future job applications, you are saving yourself time. But make sure you make all the necessary adjustments. Don’t apply to a job at the Green Library and give them a letter addressed to the Yellow Library. ZOINKS!
CV vs Resume
Both are acceptable; pay attention to what the job description requires.
CV is usually for academic professions and can be as long and detailed as is necessary.
Resume is for business professions and is usually 1-2 pages.
Develop and deliver your message early in the cover letter. This is your chance to shine!
Look back at the job description and highlight the required and preferred qualifications listed. Focus on your strongest qualifications.
Explain how your interests or your career path or personal goals fit with the organization’s goals.
If your experience isn’t library-related, explain why it is still relevant and how it improved your suitability for the job. (This can also include education and volunteer experiences.)
This should be well-written, proofread and be 1-1.5 pages.
Choose your references wisely. If the description is looking for someone with supervisory experience, your reference should be someone who knows about your skills in this area.
Prepare your references by sending them an updated version of your CV or Resume, a copy of the job description and your cover letter.
An interview doesn’t mean you’ve gotten the job, or you’ve got to accept an offer if (when) it comes. It just means you have an interview! See Jen Waller’s (@jenniferwaller) post.
Know something about the city and org you’re interviewing with. Check out the web site, their blog, Twitter, etc.
Be able to answer: “Why do you want this job?”
Familiarize yourself with these library-specific-typical interview questions from Marie Potter and the University of Washington iSchool
Sample Tips and Library Interview Questions
Sample Interview Questions – Specific and Generic
Show engagement, enthusiasm and leadership in librarianship.
Remember that search committees are not necessarily skilled recruiters. You may have to ask them questions if you the questions you were asked do not cover everything you have to say.
Don’t leave the interview without asking at least one question. That can be as simple as, “Will there be an opportunity for another time to talk with you if I have more questions?”
Rejection isn’t the end of the world. In fact, rejection means you applied and they considered you! That’s more than nothing. You WILL get a job. You WILL!
You can reject a job offer. Don’t feel pressured to work somewhere you aren’t personally and professionally comfortable. You WILL get a job. You WILL!
That’s all I have for you. Now go brush your teeth, practice your smile and get a job! Who else has tips to share?