“Job search prep” has been on my To Do list since mid-summer. I’m an aspiring academic librarian graduating in May and I know that the job hunt can be a very long and involved process. I’ve been updating my resume and keeping track of job ads that interest me in an attempt to prepare ahead of time. But now as fall whips by, “prep” is looking more and more like actual searching. I have Rafiki’s words from The Lion King echoing in my head as motivation: “It is time!”
There are so many resources available for job-seekers and, as with most things on the web, the volume can be pretty overwhelming. My aim here is to round up some of the tools and resources I’m utilizing so far, and to open the floor for more tips and sharing.
1. An RSS Reader. I did not fully appreciated the power of an RSS reader until I began to look at job adds. Essentially, RSS (rich site summary) readers allow you to aggregate “feeds” of content from various websites. So, instead of obsessively checking every site that posts jobs, you can check your RSS reader for new content in one place. I’m currently using Digg, which a friend recommended to me, and I think it’s clean and easy to use. There are, of course, lots of other options out there.
This page has information on library job sites. Try your regional ALA chapter and library school sites as well. Unfortunately, not every job site offers their content as an RSS feed, but it’s a great place to start.
2. Email Listservs. Many topical or regional library associations post jobs in their areas. Are you a member of a professional library association? Does your library school have a job listserv? Subscribing to listservs is a great way to find out about jobs that may not come through your RSS reader.
3. INALJ. If you aren’t familiar with the incredible resources over at I Need a Library Job, I’d highly recommend that you check it out now! Browse the lists of jobs compiled by volunteers in each region, read articles with advice on the entire job-hunting process, and find inspiration from success stories.
4. A Spreadsheet. Every time I’ve applied for something in the past—schools, jobs, internships—I’ve kept a spreadsheet with information for each application: deadlines, names, addresses, required materials, and my progress. It’s a simple but effective way of keeping track of applications.
5. Cloud Storage. As you begin to draft resumes and cover letters, make sure that you back up your application materials in some form of cloud storage. As Brianna points out here, you’ll have backup in the event of an emergency and you’ll have quick access to those materials from anywhere, just in case you find out about about a job opening at the last minute and need to get an application in ASAP. I use a combination of Dropbox and Google Drive.
6. Motivation. I think that staying positive and motivated is an important part of orchestrating an organized job search. Surround yourself with supportive people and motivating ideas. I’m rather partial to Kid President and this kid who just learned how to ride a bike.
Preparing to Job-Search: Some Considerations – Rebecca Halpern
Job Tips for Future/Recent LIS Grads – Heidi Schutt
Tips for Your Job or Internship Application – Rose L. Chou
What Not to Do When Applying to Library Jobs – In the Library with the Lead Pipe
Open Cover Letters
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of job search tools and resources. What do you use to stay organized? Any favorite sites? Apps? Email listservs? Let us know!