Library Student Day in the Life – Round Two, Day Five

I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog posts to participate in Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life.  For the week of October 28 – November 1, 2013, I will be posting each evening to share with prospective library students what a day in my life as a library student at Florida State University’s iSchool is like.  Regular posts will resume November 2, 2013.

The Job Search

A couple of weeks ago, Julia Feerrar wrote a great post over on Hack Library School about the Tools for an Organized Job Search.  If you haven’t read it, you should go check it out.  It is very informative and has tons of great tips in it.

I am getting to the point in my schooling where I am about six months away from graduating.  I actually started looking at job listings before I even began classes just to get an idea about what specializations may be needed for the jobs that interested me.  That way I was able to tailor my electives towards the subjects that were most important for my career.

I spend a good portion of every week looking at jobs.  I check the local jobs daily.  Now I am looking at job listings for different reasons, though.  I am looking for positions that I want to apply for, searching for tips on writing appealing cover letters, and refining my résumé.

My Job Search Techniques

Many of my strategies coincide with the ones Julia mentioned in her article.

  • I use an RSS feed to follow sites that post jobs.
  • I constantly go to INALJ.com (I Need a Library Job) to see if there are any new and interesting jobs available
  • I keep a spreadsheet of the jobs I have applied for, including information about when the position was posted, when it closed, when I applied for it, where the position was located, the position title, and whether I got an interview or not.
    • That spreadsheet also has worksheets that keep track of individual library job sites.  I go through and open up those sites about once a week.  I have found that sometimes the smaller libraries may not post to the state or regional level and may get missed in the mix.
  • I keep my resumes, cover letters, and job descriptions in the cloud so that if I am ever in a location without my computer, but have access to a different computer, I can still apply for jobs that I may find that are closing soon
    • This happened to me this summer when I traveled to Chicago!  I found a job that was closing before I would be getting back home, but I was able to apply because I could access all of my resume and cover letter information.
  • I keep a document that has all my previous work and education history.  I find this to be extremely helpful when I am filling out application after application.  When I find something on an application that I do not have in this document, I add it.  There is surely another application out there that will ask for the same thing.  It includes
    • address and contact information
    • Number of credit hours and GPA (education)
    • position title
    • organization
    • supervisor and supervisor’s title
    • starting and ending dates
    • job duties and responsibilities
    • starting and ending salaries
    • you get the idea
  • For the libraries in my surrounding area, I have a folder in my bookmarks.  I open up that folder in the bookmarks manager, then open every tab en masse.  Chrome gets angry (“Are you sure you want to open 17 tabs?”).  Yes, yes I am sure.  It is probably overkill to do this because most of the positions end up on INALJ or the state job sites, but somehow it makes me feel better.
  • If you can, you may need to expand your job search radius.  There seem to be a consistent number of recent graduates who stay in Tallahassee and not nearly as many positions opening up.  I have expanded my radius to include surrounding counties.  I wouldn’t really mind the drive most of the time.  It is important to factor in gas expenditures when considering if the salary would be sufficient in this situation.
  • I also look across the country for positions of interest.  Again, this is not always an option for everybody.  I cannot guarantee that my husband would be able to move with me right away if I found a great job somewhere else, but we have discussed this possibility and he is very supportive.  He knows that currently my opportunities are limited.
  • I have started trying to actively network with librarians on Twitter, if only to build up my Personal (or Professional) Learning Network (PLN).
  • For skills I feel I do not yet have, I do whatever I can to learn them.  I have used Codecademy to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  When I have time and inclination again, I will learn more coding from it.  I work on perfecting my French and improving my Spanish.  I want to learn other languages, particularly German and Italian to improve my chances of becoming an academic music librarian. I try to practice readers’ advisory skills like determining appeal terms, writing annotations, “speed reading” a book, determining Read Alikes.  One day all of these skills will come in handy.  Knowing the small amount of code I know or the French I know or [insert other skill here] may one day be the determining factor I get chosen over other candidates who do not have those skills.

Everybody has their own ways of doing things.  This is just how I do mine.

My Final Job Search Recommendations

The last bits of information (and two songs) that I will share:

  • Stay positive.  It is not always easy when you know you would be great in a position and you don’t even get an interview.  It is not easy when you DO get an interview, which you think goes really well, and then you don’t get the job.  This is the one that I have the most trouble following.  But I try to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
  • I have to believe that everything happens for a reason.  If a job didn’t work out, it means there is a better one out there for you.  If life seems to be giving you lemons, make lemonade.  If one door closes, another one opens.  Choose your own cliché.
  • Something better will come along. Although the theme in this song is about relationships, a lot of it is still true: “There’s no use complainin’ / It’s pointless to holler.”  And most of all “I hope that something better comes along.”
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