I want to start by saying congratulations to all the newly minted librarians out there. You just got your MLS or MLIS or MSI (or ALA-accredited equivalent) and are off to start your path changing the world of Information for the better.
But first you have to get the job. I’m not going to lie to you, this coming summer will be a very long and incredibly short one. But you can do it! There are a few rules though:
- You just spent 2-3 years creating a network of interesting colleagues. Don’t abandon them. If you attended an in-person program, chances are a bunch of you are living out the remainder of your lease. Hang out. If you were in an online program, well, Hang Out on G+ (or Skype or chat on Facebook). Go for a drink. Most importantly, when you hang out, talk about anything other than the job hunt. You were once an interesting person with hobbies, take this chance to be that again.
- Do something most days that requires you to put on not-pajamas and go somewhere else. It will make you feel human. Volunteering is good. Part-time jobs are good. At the very least go blog at a coffee shop.
- Write at least one application every day or two. Better yet, write them with a friend (or five). About March of my last year, a group of us started meeting at the Crazy Wisdom Tea House on Saturdays*. It was a built-in way to have someone to proofread our cover letters and someone to talk to while we filled out repetitive job forms.
- This is the toughest one: You have to be happy when your friends get hired, or at least act like it. It will be difficult. When my friend Steve got hired first, I had to pull out every single acting trick I knew to congratulate him. When someone gets something you want so badly, it’s hard to remember that their job isn’t about you. Chances are, you never got past the cover letter for that job (if you even applied). Your job is coming, and you can cry later. I did! Ask my former roommate about the day I collapsed on the sofa like a dying silent movie heroine . . .
By the numbers:
over 75 applications
5 phone interviews
4 in-person interviews (for one of them I had to rent a car and drive to Chicago at my own expense)
1 interview at ALA-Annual
2 job offers (I still feel bad about turning the 1st down, but it was a bad fit and I wouldn’t have lasted)
It’s harrowing, but keep at it. Now head over to inalj.com and get started.
*Confidential to the UMSI grads, Crazy Wisdom has amazing hummus and will give you as much hot water as you want. Tip generously ;).