Job hunting is a tricky beast to master. The process is emotionally draining at times, there are so many things to be excited/anxious about. For some of us who have just finished our last semester of school, this is the prime time to start looking. Most people advise that you start your last semester, especially if you are interested in academic libraries, because the hiring process can take months. If you’re trying to juggle school, a job, an internship, and job hunting, this can all be really taxing. That’s why it’s important to have a support group, or someone who will be your personal cheerleader.
My first semester of library school, a new librarian told me that he wouldn’t have made it through his last semester without his good group of friends. Now that I am in that exact situation, I couldn’t agree more! A couple months ago, I tweeted about starting a “library school support group” and many people responded with joining the New Members Round Table group. While I agree with this advice and think there are several great services that the NMRT offers (like this mentoring program), I was thinking about having a group that was more personal. People who you actually feel comfortable saying how you really feel and know who you are on a personal level. You can’t always publicly voice everything you’re thinking because it might reflect badly on you. Constantly whining on Facebook or Twitter about your life is a real turn off for a lot of people. But when you’re job hunting and you’re constantly being rejected, it’s hard not to get emotional or down sometimes. We’re all human, and no one is perfect. I have my bad days and that’s when I rely on my friends.
Your cheerleaders should be a mix of people who have known you for a long time and people who can advise you professionally. I am fortunate to have a professional mentor, someone who isn’t afraid to tell me what I’m doing wrong with my cover letters or that a job just isn’t a good fit for me. My partner also does a wonderful job encouraging me when I feel depressed, or doesn’t mind looking at my stuff in case I missed something important. I’m also grateful for my friends and fellow hackers who share cute things with me or make me laugh, because sometimes you just need stress relief. It’s about having a balance between people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, people who can understand what you’re going though, and people who don’t quite understand, but want to get you out of the house anyway.
In this day and age, it’s becoming much easier to connect with like minded folks, or keep in touch with friends from out of state. Just being able to tell someone about your day can be just the relief that you need. Personal cheerleaders lift you up when you feel down, and cheer you on when you win! You don’t have to be at the end of your academic career to have a support group, it’s always good to have people you care about around. And don’t forget to pay it forward when someone else needs an ear!